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Police chief: Meditation key part of officer development

Police Chief Sylvia Moir said it helps officers make smarter decisions in the field and allows them to be more thoughtful of other perspectives in tense situations


Police Chief Sylvia Moir

Photo/City of Tempe

By Police1 Staff

TEMPE, Ariz. — Police departments are developing new ways to help officers decompress from the stresses of the job. One agency in Arizona is using meditation as a part of officer development.

Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir told ABC News that encouraging her officers to mediate has helped them respond, not react in tense situations.

“Without a doubt I think the [meditation] practice shows promise, getting us to be present, not take triggers, not take the bait that makes us react and if the practice can get us to see the perspective of another to enhance our compassion, then I think it does lend itself to broader application in policing,” she said.

Moir has instilled the meditation practice in officer training and told ABC that it’s important for officers to be as “tactically sound” as they are physically fit. She believes it helps officers slow their mind in the field and make smarter decisions.

“We’re really good at — I call them perishable skills, the shooting, driving, defensible tactics,” she said. “And what we’re doing with mindfulness practices is we’re saying, ‘Look, we’re going to give you a set of tools, you take it, you use it for the whole you, personal and professional, make it what works for you.’”

Meditation has helped Moir realize “microcues” she may send unintentionally when she’s at a scene.

“I meet with people who are suffering, who don’t feel like they have been served by the justice system ... with family members who have lost someone, [with] officers that have done wrong and I’m holding them accountable,” she said. “It’s in those moments where I have to really engage but also listen.”