Oct. 11, 2018 | View as webpage
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With the following words President Trump began his address to police leaders Monday at the IACP annual conference.

"On behalf of all Americans, I want to express my eternal gratitude on what you do every day to protect our families, defend our streets and take down criminals. What you do is keep America safe and nobody does it better than you."

During his speech the President said politicians who spread "dangerous anti-police sentiment make life easier for criminals and more dangerous for law-abiding citizens and police." He also announced an additional $42.4M for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program as part of his administration's ongoing efforts to attack the opioid crisis and other drug threats. Check out PoliceOne's coverage of the latest in police education, training, new products and innovations on display at IACP here.

In this week's Leadership Briefing, Chief Joel Shults, Ed.D., Police1 Editorial Advisory Board member and columnist discusses how the fear of giving away power and authority can restrict police leaders' thinking, with successful community policing requiring a cooperative, rather than coercive, mindset. Chief Jonathan B. Flores offers four strategies to foster the professional development of your staff when promotion is not an option.

As the Police1 team plans editorial coverage initiatives for 2019, we want to hear from you. What is the most pressing issue your agency will be addressing next year? Email editor@policeone.com.

Nancy Perry
Editor-in-Chief, Police1

In this issue:

By Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

The military model of leadership still prevails in policing. Commands are made and policy is followed. Quick action can mean life or death and there is no time to call a committee meeting.

Or is there?

Coercion and independent decision-making

We call it a police force for a reason. The government monopoly on the use of force to get compliance with the law is an essential principle in a democracy. Law enforcement agents are given the tools, training and authority to engage in coercive behavior to ensure that citizens conduct themselves lawfully. Police training is centered on the psychological and physical means of gaining compliance and overcoming resistance. This is part of the police officer’s DNA and a primary characteristic of police leadership.

Decisive action imposed on subordinates is needed in the chaotic tactical environment that is the center of our training. But there are good reasons for engaging in collaborative decision-making when time allows.

What collaboration in policing looks like

In my research on community policing it became clear that police trainees were not taught skills necessary to effectively engage with citizens in problem solving. A core component of community policing is working with stakeholders to use the perspectives and knowledge they bring to the table to arrive at decisions that meet everyone’s goals. Because of the coercive culture of police work, these goals of community policing are not met as decisions are imposed rather than composed.

Leaders often continue in the coercive, rather than cooperative, mindset. The fear of giving away power and authority can restrict police leaders’ thinking. Control of situations is second nature, and taking time to hear other opinions can feel like a waste of time or worse – a tacit admission that the leader doesn’t know enough to make the call. Developing collaborative decision-making skills can be beneficial in several ways:

1. Exploring options

Engaging subordinates and peers in exploring options and action steps helps them to be invested in the outcome. When colleagues are involved in making policy and procedure they are more likely to adhere to the resulting decisions.

2. Listening skills

Modeling listening skills will enhance community policing efforts by developing in officers the attitudes and practices conducive to working with civilian stakeholders to solve problems. Learning to withhold judgement while others participate in discussion must be practiced.

3. Decision-making

Engaging in dialogue with subordinates that provides constructive feedback when exploring a problem helps develop critical thinking skills that can transfer to decision-making in chaotic field environments. Police training is usually linear with specific processes to address specific challenges, but the reality of rapidly developing violent events is that non-linear and creative decisions are often called for.

Still in charge

Sharing decision-making does not diminish the final authority of the decision-maker if a good solution fails to arise from consultation with others. Not every decision is made in a huddle, but when a unilateral call is made by a leader who is willing to collaborate when possible, their authority and respect in a critical situation will shine even brighter.

How to incorporate collaboration into daily operations:

Misses. Clothing disconnects. Close probe spreads. TASER 7 gives officers the confidence to de-escalate dangerous situations with dramatically improved performance in all three of these areas.

Save more lives

By Chief Jonathan B. Flores

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding leadership in law enforcement is that leaders must possess a title; however this is not the case.

Throughout my law enforcement career I have witnessed many individuals who possess the innate ability to lead regardless of their position within the organization. These individuals are the ones their shift mates reach out to for advice before contacting a supervisor. These individuals can often be found providing new innovative strategies and techniques via the chain of command to help better their organization. These individuals tend to have the belief that their organization comes before self. Their demeanor reflects these beliefs, which appeals to their peers and sets them apart as natural born leaders.

In a large agency these individuals typically rise through the ranks. But what is a smaller law enforcement entity to do with individuals such as these when opportunities for advancement are limited?

Here are some strategies to foster the growth of these leaders and contribute to their professional development even when you cannot offer them a title.

1. Listen

Rising leaders want their ideas to be heard, they want to feel vested in the organization that they serve. You would be surprised how taking a few minutes out of your day to listen to the ideas that these individuals have to offer will go a long way in boosting their morale.

2. Empower

While you may not be able to offer these individuals a formal title, you can provide them with opportunities to take on an active role within your agency that will not only help your agency progress, but it will also let these future leaders know that you value them and that you entrust them to take on additional responsibilities. Certify them as field training officers, allow them to assist with grant funding projects, task them with developing a crime stoppers program, or assign them to organize a community event such as National Night Out.

3. Mentor

Take these leaders under your guidance and provide them with mentorship that will assist them in furthering their law enforcement career. The ultimate compliment to a leader is to have contributed to the success of a mentee and watch them succeed in their careers.

4. Praise

Do not hesitate to let these individuals know that they are valued. It is easy to put out someone’s fire by ignoring this key factor; however it is nearly impossible to re-ignite someone’s fire to lead in their agency once it is gone.

Employee mentoring, motivation and professional development best practices for police leaders:

3 and out …

3. LE critical issues discussed at IACP conference: Law enforcement leaders from across the country and around the world gathered in Florida this week for the 125th International Association of Chiefs of Police conference. Catch up on the critical issues discussed at this year’s event.

2. Marijuana DUI challenges: The Policing Matters podcast hosts, Doug Wyllie and Jim Dudley, discuss the difficulties of detecting and enforcing impaired driving as a result of marijuana intoxication.

1. Before the next crisis hits, read this: Managing a crisis – like a controversial officer-involved shooting – is a vastly different ballgame in today’s viral digital world. Find out why in Crisis Ready by Melissa Agnes.

Share this Briefing

You are welcome to share the Police1 Leadership Briefing. Forward this email to your command staff, supervisors and patrol officers; print and post in the roll call room; add a link to your department’s website; or reprint in your organization or regional police association newsletter.

Got a leadership tip, management question, commercial use inquiry, or an article idea? Send me an email, nancy.perry@praetoriandigital.com.

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