Category Archives: Dynamic of Authority

by Cmdr. John R.”Barney” Barnes (ret.)

“Becoming proficient in the proper exercise of the authority entrusted to you is a function of the merging of the knowledge and understanding of your authority with the will to regularily and properly exercise that authority.” —  John R.”Barney” Barnes

The fundamental role of authority is often misunderstood in our modern culture. This lack of clarity of this role can be the genesis of a lack of understanding/respect for constitutional and moral authority. The resultant corrosive effect upon our society appears in local as well as national headlines on a daily basis.

In my view a root cause of all this cultural malaise is the improper “exercise of authority” by those entrusted to act “under the authority” of their jurisdiction. Perhaps we should start with a couple old fashioned definitions from Webster’s. “Exercise”, in the verb form is “to discharge, wield or exert as in influence or authority; to set in action or employ actively.” Our other operative word “authority” is “legal or rightful power; a right to command or act; jurisdiction.”

As we noted earlier today’s headlines are replete with the chaotic and sometimes tragic episodes of our human kind that have a common back story involving authority. Most folks would agree that for the family, our basic unit of organization, to be successful and have integrity that discrete parental authority functions must be “properly exercised”. The many documented cases of child abuse as well as parental abandonement of basic responsibilities required for child rearing, e.g. to love, to instill values, to set boundaries and to invest quality time is demonstrative of the failure to “properly exercise parental authority”.

A major cause of the weakening of many of our other vital cultural institutions is this same failure of duly constituted authorities to “properly exercise their authority”, their legal and rightful power in their particular jurisdiction. Some of these would include government at all levels, business, finance and we must not forget church and religious organizations. These various foibles (say within the past year or two) clearly demonstrate an improper (careless or arrogant)exercise of authority or a reticent and passive assumption of their essential responsibilities within their respective jurisdictions.

Authority is best understood when we simply view it as delegated power as contained in the principle of “acting under authority”. Earlier in my professional life as a naval officer, aircraft commander and commanding officer it was essential that I have a clear understanding of my authority and its boundaries. Whether in combat, at sea or shore command I could never represent myself because when I acted or failed to act I clearly represented “higher authority”. Ultimately I represented the will of the American people as established by the Constitution, US Naval Regulations, various treaties, directives, and the policies and procedures of that particular command.

I was always aware that a failure “to act” within the boundaries of my authority could endanger lives, weaken my command or bring discredit upon myself and the US Navy. On the other hand I was confident that if I simply exercised my authority then I would have done my duty. This simple maximum could find application in the many realms of our culture today.

Authority is a sacred trust, and endowment if you will, to be exercised with alacrity and confidence in the preservation of things we cherish and hold dear. Some of these would include…a strong America, our individual liberty, peaceful neighborhoods, vibrant economy, thriving families, and a general feeling of goodness the timeless companion of greatness.

Submitted by Eye of the Eagle

Editor’s Note: This article was written by John R.”Barney” Barnes and is reproduced here with permission.

Do you realize that Hollywood glamorizes the Renegade Cop? This video explains the impact on the law enforcement profession.

Authorities are often viewed as being an oppressive force in our lives. But the true role of authority is protective in nature — to protect those that are under their care from harmful and evil influences…

The Authority Maxim: All human authority is delegated authority. I use the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution to illustrate this important principle of remaining under the protection of authority.

Many people think obedience means merely following instructions. In other words, someone in authority gives you an order or directive and you follow it. But what if your authority is “out from under authority?”

One of the criticisms we often face when teaching the principle of authority is that we are advocating blind obedience. Nothing could be further from the truth. We recognize that there are times when an authority has made a bad decision and it is proper to make an appeal….

In order to make an appeal in court, there must be constitutional or procedural grounds. Otherwise there is no basis for the appeal. You cannot make an appeal simply because you disagree with the decision. In fact, the character test for obedience is often found in your willingness to follow directions that you disagree with.

In a character-based organization, “grounds” fall into two categories: ethical violations or additional information. If your authority instructs you to violate a clearly defined ethical or legal standard, you have grounds to make an appeal. And to respectfully disobey if necessary.

More often… you have additional information that may influence your authority’s decision. In this case, you have grounds to bring this information to their attention. Examples could be pointing out a consequence of the decision that your supervisor may not have considered. Or, it could be informing them of a prior conflicting instruction that you had received from another supervisor. Or, maybe there is a well-established law or policy that prohibits that course of action.

In addition to having grounds for an appeal, you must also have “standing.” In other words, you must be in a lawful position to address the court. The same is true in making an appeal to an authority. Your standing is established through your reputation of good character. If you have been a faithful and loyal employee, then you have the right to make an appeal.

Sheriff Ray

Sheriff Ray Nash

Sheriff Ray Nash

What Law Enforcement and Community Leaders Are Saying About Police Dynamics

“A few years ago, we brought the Police Dynamics program to the Cincinnati Police Division and were most impressed with the quality of the training and richness of the program.”
Mike Daly
Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

"I have attended training conducted by the Police Dynamics Institute in the past and know Ray Nash both personally and professionally. They have my whole-hearted endorsement…"
Sheriff Larry Williams
Orangeburg, SC

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Las Cruces Fire Dept.

“One of the greatest seminars I have ever attended in the 33 years I’ve been a Deputy.”
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Marion County Sheriff’s Office, IN

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Grand County Sheriff’s Office

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DeWayne Beggs
Cleveland County, OK
former 2nd VP - National Sheriff's Association

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Jerry Martin
Delores County, CO
former Pres - County Sheriff's of Colorado

"Honestly, I’ve not been more impressed with a police training that I’ve attended in the last 20 years..."
Tom McClain
Chief of Police
Willard, MO

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John Whetsel
Oklahoma County, OK

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David Williams
Tarrant County, TX

"In the three years prior to our character initiative, we had 42 labor and employee grievances, and seven different lawsuits. In the three years since we put the character initiative in place, we have had two grievances and no lawsuits from employees. I think that, in and of itself, is significant."
Rodney Ray
City Manager
Owasso, OK

"This course was one of the best training sessions that I’ve been through. This concept will benefit me and the staff in my division."
Police Dynamics participant

[We have] more awareness of the preventative benefits of a character initiative as opposed to the typical reactive approach to situations. There is a sense of excitement by organization leaders as they begin to see a change in their culture. Bob Powell
Character Council
Fort Collins, CO

"[The Police Dynamics training] brings us closer together, more like a family … it reminds us of why we’re out there and what it’s about.”
Captain John Decker
Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, SC

"This class gave me the vocabulary that I have been looking for to praise and motivate my employees."
Police Dynamics participant

"We’ve built a much better relationship with each other. We’ve seen a decrease in complaints. We’ve become a family instead of a place to work."
Sheriff Howie Godwin
Highlands County, FL

“This shows us a new approach to recognize employees’ character traits - and to acknowledge them for those good traits versus, 'You did an excellent job…' It’s some fresh ideas in an area that we probably all need to change."
Major P.D. Taylor
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

"The Police Dynamics training that Ray Nash brought teaches the things that are at the core of being a good police officer – being trustworthy, being of good character…"
Sgt. Julie Shearer
Cincinnati Police Div.

“In the Police Dynamics training seminar, the officers are able to set a standard in their own lives of the kind of character they want to see in their community."
Chaplain Carl Nelson
Colorado Springs Police Department

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Hon. F.A. Schad
Former Judge
Burleson, TX

“I want you to know that my international and national career was very much influenced by your lessons and knowing you was of paramount importance for my job and career. Many Romanian police officers are grateful to you and to Character training."
Teofil Parasca
Assistant Superintendent
Arad County Police

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Chief Lynn Williams
Chickasha, OK

“We need to return to our basic character traits that made this country great. Ray Nash has the program to do it."
Police Dynamics participant

"This shows us a new approach to recognize those employees’ character traits and to recognize and acknowledge them for those good traits versus, “You did an excellent job…” It’s some fresh ideas in an area that we probably all need to change."
Major P.D. Taylor
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

"In the three years prior to our character initiative, we had 42 labor and employee grievances, and seven different lawsuits. In the three years since we put the character initiative in place, we have had two grievances and no lawsuits from employees. I think that, in and of itself, is significant."
Rodney Ray
City Manager
Owasso, OK

"Absolutely fantastic! It reminded me of why I wanted to be a peace officer."
Police Dynamics participant

"the finest value-added training anywhere."
Sheriff David Williams
Tarrant County, TX

"We continue to benefit from your teaching and hire with a strong emphasis on character."
Chief Tom McClain
Willard, MO

"Once again, I feel absolutely indebted to you for the program you have developed and your desire to change the world through the building of better law enforcement officers."
Glen P. Trainor
Grand County, CO

"Sheriff Ray Nash is an internationally recognized speaker that you and your staff will learn powerful principles from, while enjoying the lesson."
DeWayne Beggs
Cleveland County, OK

"Very comprehensive, a great resource manual for the future. The seminar was dynamic in every way. What a great resource for people throughout their day-to-day routines.”
Doug Carter
Indiana State Police