Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In light of our recent commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, who will always be endeared to me due to his famous quote about character:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

I have asked a colleague of mine from the fire service, Al Mozingo, to provide a guest post on leadership. Enjoy…

Sheriff Ray

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The principles of leadership can be taught to a student of leadership in many different formats.  One can study the characteristics of great leaders or study their behavior and actions.   To take a class, read a book, attend a seminar, or read an article about the subject matter are other methods of gaining knowledge and insight into leadership principles.

In this article, I will describe leadership principles in a different way by presenting a story to show pragmatically the lessons of the principles of leadership.  Putting the principles into practical use, by one’s own action, is where the “tire meets the road.”  This little story was in a book entitled, Virtues of Leadership, by William J. Bennett.

The Story

In January 1956, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., left his home to attend a meeting at a nearby church.  During the meeting someone came into the church with news for King; “Your home has been bombed.”  Rev. King, upset and anxious because his wife and baby were in the house at the time of the bombing, rushed home to find a large number of people in the house.  The bomb had actually exploded on his front porch raining glass into the living room.  After checking on his wife and daughter he turned his attention to the angry crowd.

People who gathered outside of the house wanted revenge against whoever had done this terrible act.  Some of them were actually carrying guns and shouting at the police.  The situation was about to turn to chaos and become violent.  He told the crowd in a calm voice that his wife and child were fine.

Silence had fallen over the crowd as he began to speak to them.  He indicated to the crowd that violence was not the answer.   He explained that violence would harm their cause, it would not solve their problems.  As of matter of fact, it would make it worse.  He indicated that the Bible teaches, “We must meet hate with love.”  He told them to put down their weapons and to go home.

The crowd’s demeanor started to change.  People became calm and some said “Amen” and others said “God Bless You.”  At a moment of chaos and anger, Rev. King seized the moment to show true leadership.  The crowd responded to this and started to drift apart and go home.  As events unfolded, photographs were taken and the next morning newspapers across the country ran the photos on the front page.  The Civil Rights Movement began to swell; this was a turning point in history!  Under pressure a great man put personal virtues into action in the form of true leadership.

Leadership Virtues

Rev. King’s virtues included courage, wisdom, and faith.  He had a certain vision and the talent to progress that vision forward with leadership.  His virtues also included compassion, perseverance, and faith.  We all should strive to have these virtues, character and traits as our own.  These virtues will allow us to operate with a calm clear mind when under pressure.  They will assist in guiding us in areas of moral and ethical situations.  One of the great principles of leadership is one’s own character.


William J. Bennett, The Book of Virtues, W Publishing Group, a Division of Thomas Nelson, In., Nashville, Tennessee, 2001

About the Author

Al Mozingo

Al Mozingo

Al Mozingo is a nationally recognized leadership instructor and a 30-year veteran of the Fire Service.  Mr. Mozingo teaches for the National Fire Academy, State Fire Training, and Local Fire Academy.  He has a wide range of programs available.  You can contact him to present a leadership program at your location today: www.firemanager.com  or  (619) 447-2828

About the Author

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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

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Sheriff Larry Williams
Orangeburg, SC

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Las Cruces Fire Dept.

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Marion County Sheriff’s Office, IN

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Grand County Sheriff’s Office

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

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

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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."
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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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Highlands County, FL

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Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

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Cincinnati Police Div.

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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."
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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

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Grand County, CO

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Cleveland County, OK

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Doug Carter
Indiana State Police