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Public safety and police leadership qualities: Supervisory standards

Gordon Graham discusses three important police leadership qualities: knowledge, courage and attitude

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A leader must be knowledgeable. As a supervisor, you should be an expert on policies and procedures. Even an aspiring supervisor should stay abreast of the law and current events related to crime and policing. Knowledge gives leaders the confidence to make decisions without hesitation. To act quickly in chaotic situations. In turn, subordinates learn to trust their leaders.

In times of crisis, law enforcement professionals take charge. Without hesitation, cops run toward danger when others would retreat. This requires courage, but courage as a leader often involves much more. It takes courage to call a subordinate to task for a policy violation. It takes even more courage to report a higher-ranking officer for serious policy violations, such as sexual harassment or improper conduct. A leader is ethical. He or she does the right thing — even when it’s not easy or popular.

Finally, maintaining a positive attitude is a key attribute for all leaders. How you carry yourself as a leader has a direct result on the quality of subordinate performance. It’s easy to become negative or to adopt the negativity of others around us. Protect, serve and lead with a professional attitude.

A leader enforces the rules. For someone who acts as a mentor or a coach to subordinates: take the high ground to improve or develop your leadership skills. Never stop learning. Be courageous and do the right thing. Adopt a positive attitude. Your people and the public depend on you.

Get more tips from Gordon here.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.