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Building bridges with words: Strategic communication in policing

Discover how Chief Christopher Cook utilizes storytelling to connect with both his officers and the community, creating a cohesive and transparent law enforcement environment

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Download this week’s episode on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, Spotify or via RSS feed, and watch the video version on Police1’s YouTube channel.

In every organization, leadership is crucial. Vision and strategic planning can propel an agency forward, but these cannot occur in isolation. Leaders often hesitate to share their strategies for achieving goals and outcomes. Yet, great leaders share their vision and include others in the planning process to reach these goals.

In this episode of Policing Matters, host Jim Dudley explores these themes with Chief Christopher Cook, who has dedicated his career to enhancing leadership through improved communication. His new book, “The Art of Strategic Communication: A Police Chief’s Guide To Mastering Soundbites, Storytelling, And Community Engagement,” has quickly become a must-read for law enforcement leaders.

About the sponsor

LETS Corp is the technology company behind LETS Respond, one of the most sought-after smart solutions by law enforcement to prevent and de-escalate crises. Endorsed by law enforcement agencies from LA to New York, LETS Respond helps bring enhanced awareness and safer resolutions in response to hostage/crisis situations. With LETS Respond, you’ll instantly save costs, and improve time to response and resolution, without ever needing to deal with the hassle of setting up a throw phone. Explore the benefits by visiting today.

About our guest

Christopher Cook is the Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety for the city of White Settlement, Texas, overseeing multiple departments, including police, fire, emergency management and animal services. With three decades of experience in law enforcement, Chief Cook is a recognized expert in media relations, community engagement, crime prevention, and critical incident management.

In our discussion, Chief Cook delves into his book, “The Art of Strategic Communication,” and shares practical advice for leaders on mastering storytelling, engaging the community, and maintaining transparency. His insights, drawn from extensive experience and recent testimony before the President’s Commission on Community Trust, offer valuable lessons for law enforcement leaders aiming to build trust and foster positive relationships within their communities.

Key takeaways

  1. Importance of transparency: Agencies that get in front of incidents quickly and provide accurate information build more trust within their communities.
  2. Humanizing law enforcement: Sharing positive stories of officers’ day-to-day interactions helps humanize the police force and strengthen community relationships.
  3. Strategic communication tools: Utilizing digital dashboards, mobile apps and in-person interactions can enhance internal communication and ensure that all team members are informed and engaged.
  4. Learning from mistakes: A culture where leaders admit and learn from their mistakes fosters trust and encourages continuous improvement within the organization.
  5. Community engagement: Engaging with the community through various platforms, including social media, podcasts and town hall meetings, helps build a positive narrative and address public concerns effectively.

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Policing Matters law enforcement podcast with host Jim Dudley features law enforcement and criminal justice experts discussing critical issues in policing