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Teach, coach, mentor: Effective leadership is about influence and inspiration

Former DEA agent and trainer Dan Mehdi discusses the parallels between training for the military, DEA and police agencies to develop leadership and moral courage

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Law enforcement officers across agencies – from small towns to sprawling rural areas to municipal cities and state and federal services all have similar traits. They are smart, capable, problem solvers with a plan. Anyone who says they are flying by the seat of their pants probably does not anticipate being in the business for long. Of course, they have to be flexible and adaptable to different situations, but they are likely to have a good foundation to fall back on.

In this episode of Policing Matters, host Jim Dudley speaks with Dan Mehdi, who retired from the Drug Enforcement Administration after serving 21 years as a Special Agent (SA). His last assignment was as a SA instructor/curriculum developer at the Drug Enforcement Administration Academy in Quantico, Virginia where the focus of his instruction to basic agent trainees was on self-awareness, adaptation, resiliency, critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making abilities and models. Mehdi discusses the parallels between training for the military, DEA and police agencies regarding leadership and moral courage.

Prior to joining the DEA, Dan was a patrol agent with the U.S. Border Patrol in San Diego, California and an Infantry Officer in the United States Marine Corps, during which time he participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He was also the DEA’s nationwide Field Training Agent Coordinator where he instructed on the power of influence and everyday leadership to experienced agents responsible for mentoring, developing and evaluating newly minted Special Agents.

This episode of Policing Matters is sponsored by Utility. Utility provides a universe of intuitive solutions for effectively capturing, analyzing, managing, and sharing video evidence. Technologies include a variety of cameras, sensors, and devices, as well as situational awareness software solutions for law enforcement, first responders, transportation agencies, and utility providers. To learn more about Utility and its technology solutions, visit



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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