Category Archives: Dynamic of Strongholds

Criminals invade neighborhoods much like pythons have invaded the Florida Everglades.

While on “Python Patrol” in the ‘Glades, I took a few minutes to record this latest Police Dynamics training videos. In this segment from the Dynamic of Strongholds, I use the metaphor of roaches invading a house to illustrate how ineffective traditional law enforcement can be in fighting crime in troubled neighborhoods. Just like roaches rely on a disorderly and dirty environment in which to breed, criminals rely on Fear, Apathy, Tolerance for Crime, and Mistrust of the Police. These environmental elements are best attacked through a coactive trust-based relationships with the community.


Shobak Castle was the first fortress built by the Crusaders in the nation of Jordan. My friend, Gary Curry, and I visited this site and used it as an opportunity to talk about how to “CRASH” criminal strongholds.

In the  early 12th century, the Crusaders used Shobak as their base of operations to exercise influence over the surrounding area. In the same way, criminals will establish strongholds and use them as base for “invading” surrounding communities, effectively expanding their influence (not to suggest Crusaders were criminals, but you get the point). It’s akin to playing chess on a giant chessboard. As the criminals gain ground, they expand their influence. (more…)

Qumran caves on the Israel side of the Dead Sea provided an interesting backdrop for this video about reclaiming criminal strongholds.

Known as our CRASH program (Community Response Against StrongHolds), this 6-step Battle Plan was the strategy we used to successfully CRASH criminal stongholds in Dorchester County. Utilizing a potent combination of community policing and coactive policing principles, the program allowed us to build the trust-based relationships needed to restore order in the communities. (more…)

This is a 6-step Battle Plan we have successfully implemented to demolish criminal stongholds in our crime fighting efforts. It utilizes community policing and coactive policing principles as found in the character based law enforcement principles of Police Dynamics. I filmed this video while visiting the Qumran caves on the Israel side of the Dead Sea.

Shobak Castle, the first Crusader castle in the nation of Jordan, presented a great opportunity to talk about criminal strongholds. Our driver, Ashrf (pronounced Ashraff) from Jordan Beauty Tours took us off-road to a hill overlooking this site while we were on our way to Petra. The wind presented a bit of a challenge to the audio, so my faithful cameraman and travelling partner, Gary Curry, suggested we move off of the hill onto a ledge just below. It cut the wind noise some, but as you can hear, I still had to compete with it…

Just like the Crusaders of the early 12th century used Shobak as a base of operations to control the surrounding countryside, criminals will use a stronghold that they have created to invade surrounding neighborhoods and expand their territory (not to compare Crusaders with criminals, but you get the point). Just like playing chess on a giant chessboard, this is how criminals are gaining ground on us in America (and other countries) today.

The ineffectiveness of Reactive Policing can be illustrated by how we respond to crimes committed by criminals who venture out from the stronghold into other neighborhoods. We find ourselves rushing from call to call: go to a call, take a report – go to the next call, take a report – go to the next call, take a report… Interestingly, as we chase our tails in this endless cycle of reactivity, we start to measure our effectiveness not by what we did to solve the problem that generated the call, but by how long it took us to get there!

Criminal strongholds and the cycle of reactivity can only be broken by coactively attacking the Fear, Apathy, and Tolerance for crime that allows strongholds to exist. How do we do this? Through community relationships that are fueled by trust and powered by the character of police officers who are properly aligned under authority

There are three things that must be present in a community for a criminal stronghold to exist: fear, apathy, and tolerance for crime. The criminal knows that if he can intimidate the citizens, he has a toehold in the stronghold. If he drives through the community and sees overgrown lots, graffiti, abandoned homes, broken-down cars, and litter everywhere, it sends a message that the community does not care about itself. And if the community tolerates crime, it will have crime. This is a fundamental truth. Interestingly, it will have just as much crime as it is willing to tolerate.

Coactive policing is about building a trust-based partnership with the community, and then applying the power of that relationship to attack the fear, apathy, and tolerance for crime that allows a criminal stronghold to exist.

Shoot me an email at and I will send you a report called CRASHing the Gates of the Stronghold that outlines a practical plan for coactively reducing crime in problem neighborhoods (but give me a few days because I’m about to leave for a vacation…).

Fighting crime is much like a game of chess. Imagine that your jurisdiction is a giant chess board where a war of sorts is being waged. Just like in a real war, or a real game of chess, our opponents (the criminals) are trying to take ground.

When they become entrenched in a neighborhood and rule through fear and intimidation, they have established a criminal stronghold. From here, criminals will branch out into other neighborhoods, commit their evil deeds, and retreat back into the safety of the stronghold.

There are several strategies the we as police administrators might employ to deal with this community problem. One is the Reactive Model of policing. We can assign police officers to patrol the other neighborhoods, hoping that we might stumble across some criminal in the act of committing a crime, or discourage one from doing so by our “presence” in the neighborhood. As the saying goes, I suppose even a blind squirrel can find a nut every now and then. But this proves to be a very ineffective crime fighting strategy and a poor use of our limited law enforcement resources.

The community policing or coactive policing model dictates that law enforcement must penetrate the stronghold to destroy the fear, apathy, and tolerance for crime that the criminals are relying on. Building trust based relationships through the power of good character is the key to this process. This is the truly effective crime-fighting strategy that we explore here.

The Third Installment from Cancun:

Fear, Apathy and Tolerance for Crime: the three elements necessary for a criminal stronghold to exist. Our crime fighting efforts in community policing are dependent upon the ability of law enforcement to attack strongholds at their source. In this video, we examine some of the tactical aspects of Police Dynamics training — the role that trust-based relationships, fueled by good character and a commitment to professional ethics, play in fighting crime.

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

"I cannot tell you how excited I am to see this website. I was introduced to your video on the Dynamics of Authority through my father who is a police chaplain for the FBI and local law enforcement agencies here in Las Cruces. I have taught and applied the Dynamics model to my students when I was a teacher, and now to my department as a fire fighter."
Nathan Carr
Las Cruces Fire Dept.

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Walter Bolinger
Marion County Sheriff’s Office, IN

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Glen Trainor
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

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Tom McClain
Chief of Police
Willard, MO

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John Whetsel
Oklahoma County, OK

"If you believe that good character is an essential element in policing, you will want to send your key staff to Police Dynamics."
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

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Police Dynamics participant

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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

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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

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Chief Tom McClain
Willard, MO

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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