Category Archives: The Character Connection

During one of our recent Justice Clearinghouse webinars, I shared the story of when I was asked to guest-host a local radio talk show on WTMA radio. One of the webinar participants asked me to make a video of the story, so here it is.

One of the callers on the radio show was a father who was struggling with how to reward his kids. He promised his son and his daughter that he would give them each $50 if they made the honor roll. His son made it but his daughter missed it by just a few points. He knew she tried hard and he wanted to reward her for her efforts without lowering his standards. The Character Connection was what he needed. Instead of rewarding his kids for their achievement, he needed to recognize them for their good character.

If you recognize achievement to the exclusion of character,
you inadvertently encourage bad character.

While I was in Colorado to present the Inductive Interview Course for the Ft. Morgan Sheriff’s Office and surrounding agencies, I stopped off at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs to produce the video.

After last month’s webinar on the E5 Leadership: the Essentials of Ethical Excellence hosted by the Justice Clearinghouse, they took the Q&A session from the end of the webinar and converted it into an online article. To take a look, go here:

The participants asked these very insightful questions:

  1. How do we hire for character and how could we modify existing hiring practices to accomplish this?

  2. How can you regain trust when you have made a bad decision despite years of making good ones?

  3. How do we justify leniency for a previously “model officer” in light of all public attention on our work?

  4. How do we begin this conversation with the leadership team to clearly set the standards?

Click here to read my responses.

The current anti-police narrative that we are experiencing got me thinking about the qualities that mark a professional law enforcement officer. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, but I thought I would share with you five that were on my mind while I was at Watts Bar Lake in Tennessee.

The qualities in my list are:

  • Hatred of Evil
  • Love of Justice
  • Respect for the Law
  • Commitment to Character
  • Genuine Humility

According to our Character Maxim, “recognizing achievement to the exclusion of character can actually encourage bad character.” Instead, we promote the idea of making the Character Connection by connecting the achievement with one or more Character Qualities (Virtues of the MAGNUS Officer) that made the achievement possible. This is a powerful paradigm and I think you will enjoy this example of character-based praise from a law enforcement colleague and supporter of Police Dynamics from Australia.

Focusing on achievement to the exclusion of character inadvertently encourages bad character

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Seasoned law enforcement leaders recognize that there is an intricate link between officer morale and performance. Consequently, the morale of any law enforcement agency impacts the crime rate.

Those of us in police leadership must be actively engaged in showing our police officers, deputy sheriffs, and correctional officers that they are appreciated, encouraged, and motivated to fight crime and maintain the law, order, health, safety, and morals of their communities, whether on the streets or inside the detention facility. Making the Character Connection by praising them for the character quality that produced outstanding achievement is an excellent way of improving morale and fighting crime. Remember,

“Failure to Motivate Is Failure to Lead.”

I paused during a recent hiking trip at Lake Tahoe to record this video on the definition of the word Sincerity.

Character First defines Sincerity as eagerly doing what is right with transparent motives. Lake Tahoe has some of the purest water on the face of the earth, up to 99.994% pure and totally transparent. Although the etymology of the word sincerity is disputed, one legend it that it comes from two Latin words – sine and cere – which mean “without wax.”

As the story goes, the Greeks made the best pottery in the land. In an attempt to mimic their success, certain Roman potters copied the Greeks but had inferior materials and/or craftsmanship. Consequently, their pots would come out of the kiln with cracks. Some unscrupulous potters would coat their pots with wax, filling in the cracks, then paint the exterior so you could not see the defects. Then some unsuspecting customer would purchase the pot. But when they “popped it in the microwave” to heat some food, the wax would melt and the cracks would become obvious.

Certain Roman potters, however, became quite skilled at their craft, making pots free of cracks. So they would post a sign in the marketplace that said, “For Sale – Sine Cere Pots,” pots without wax. So the word sincerity became associated with a mark of quality.

In the same way, if there are defects in our character, they tend to manifest themselves when we are under pressure. A sincere person has a transparency of motives. There is no hidden agenda. In the words of Flip Wilson, “What you see is what you get!” That’s the essence of sincerity.

So, the next time you sign a letter or email with the word “Sincerely,” pause to reflect on what it means. 

Without Wax,

Sheriff Ray Nash
Police Dynamics Institute

I know, I know… It’s been over 9 months since I last posted a Police Dynamics video. Forgive me for being preoccupied with my new business at Focal Point Investigations. However, a recent Police Dynamics seminar for the SC Litter Control Association in Myrtle Beach has revitalized my commitment to training in the character-based principles of Police Dynamics. I want to get back in the swing of things by posting some new videos and letting my subscribers and viewers know that I am available for live Police Dynamics training if your agency is interested. 

In the meantime, enjoy this training video on Boldness and the victory at Fort Moultrie…

Outgunned 10 to 1, the brave Patriots at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island, SC made a bold stand in 1776 against seemingly insurmountable odds. As police officers and government leaders, we can learn a valuable lesson about the importance of having the moral courage to stand for what is true, right, just, and constitutional…

Many thanks to my videographer and partner from Afghanistan, Gary Curry, for his assistance in producing this law enforcement training video.

I was recently discussing with a viewer of the Police Dynamics website about incorporating character-based principles into tactical debriefings. Here is a series of short videos that demonstrate how to make the “character connection” in tactical debriefings, roll call training, and in-service training sessions. The first is a re-enactment of a canine-tracking exercise, followed by a roll call session featuring Lt. “Poncho” Villa, and then a couple of character recognitions with Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office personnel.

(Sadly, Michael Deese, the deputy on the front row/right side, was killed, along with his canine partner, in a tragic car crash some time after this video was filmed …)

There are essentially three keys to building a Culture of Character within any organization:

Develop a new Character Vocabulary
Make the Character Connection
Prepare for the Character Test 

If you enjoyed this lesson, please share it with others by clicking one of
the Share the Knowledge buttons below…

I was home on leave for 2 weeks and then traveled to Riviera Maya near Cancun, Mexico last week to film some more Police Dynamics training videos. So now you know why I haven’t posted any new police or leadership training videos for the last few weeks. Here is the first one from Cancun on Discernment.

The character quality of discernment is defined by the Character Training Institute as:

Understanding the deeper reasons why things happen

It’s like wearing a SCUBA diving mask so you can see below the surface more clearly. This is an essential quality for a leader, a supervisor, an investigator, a patrol officer, or even a parent to possess.

So much of what we do in the leadership and law enforcement arenas deals with behavior. (more…)

Like many things in life, even our character can get out of balance. For instance, the character qualities of Attentiveness (showing the worth of a person, idea, or task by giving it my undivided concentration) and Alertness (being aware of my surroundings so I can have the right response) must remain in balance. If I am so focused on you that I fail to notice a fire starting in the corner of the room, my character is out of balance. In the same way, if I am so hyper-vigilant that I cannot focus on you and what you are saying, my character is out of balance. The same thing applies to Truthfulness (earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts) and Discretion (avoiding words, actions, and attitudes that could have undesirable consequences). I can be so truthful that I unnecessarily hurt the feelings of a friend or reveal information that could place someone else in jeopardy.

Recently, I gave a character recognition to one of my colleagues with the International Police Coordination Board (IPCB) for his Availability (making my own agenda secondary to those I serve) and Dependability (fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice). He later told me that these character qualities often get him in trouble because he spends so much time helping others that he neglects his own work. Then, he has to take his work home and neglects time with his wife and family. His character is out of balance. His Availability and Dependability are HUGE character qualities that define who he is as a true man of integrity. But they must be balanced with Discretion and Attentiveness.

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.

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

"I was so impressed by the (Police Dynamics) program that I purchased your video tape series. All Grand County Sheriff’s Employees subsequently viewed the tapes, and I have also mandated that all new Sheriff’s Employees watch it as well."
Glen Trainor
Grand County Sheriff’s Office

"It is with much enthusiasm that I encourage senior law enforcement executives to make attending the Police Dynamics seminar a key training priority for your agency."
DeWayne Beggs
Cleveland County, OK
former 2nd VP - National Sheriff's Association

"I am convinced of the benefits of the Police Dynamics program."
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

"I am a firm believer that Police Dynamics and Character First! equip the men and women that work for the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Office to do their job and do it better."
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

"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

"Character is the solution to the real problem in our community of crime. Character supplies the answer."
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

"I would like to work more toward management by principles instead of rules – with an emphasis on character and guiding principles."
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