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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Check out the link to Chip's TEDx Talk below

Given recent events, people can see why some police officers may feel like society has turned against them.  One could also understand how feeling like this, while doing a dangerous job, could cause some officers to vacillate between hostility and apathy.  From there, it is easy to see that when officers feel hostile and apathetic, they behave this way.  When police behave this way, it invites reciprocating feelings and behaviors of hostility and apathy from community members.  In this cycle, officers and community members each receive constant reinforcement and validation of their feelings of hostility and apathy from the “other side.”  
Within the above described cycle, some officers may have a mindset that describes their work like this:
  1. The system is out to get me, everyone is working against me
  2. My basic mission is to survive each day and get through my career
  3. By not caring and doing as little as possible, I limit my exposure to injury, persecution and prosecution

While this cycle is churning, mandated behavior changes will not address the underlying problem.  What is needed is a change in mindset.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A link to an article by Charles, Jack and Randy Means

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ferguson, Lessons Learned

There are many high-quality proposals under consideration in the aftermath of Ferguson.  These proposals offer the promise of improving on what local police do when performing their jobs.  At the same time, it is important to remember that it is possible to do all the “whats” of policing the right way but to be wrong at a much deeper level.  This involves one’s mindset, or how one is in relationship toward others while performing the tasks of policing.  

The following link presents an example of a Deputy who intuitively understands this difference:  Consider what Deputy Simmons does—writes tickets. Consider how Deputy Simmons is in relationship with others while he writes tickets.  He does not look down on people; “I am right here with you,” he says.  

The truth is that people really feel it when officers look down on them.  Dick Gregory explains this in the following segment Looking down on another person while exercising a position of authority produces “hurt” and a “whole lot of emotions… that has nothing to do with the other night.”  This hurt can be deeply felt, even while all the rules and protocols are being followed.  

The unfortunate reality is that there is no hope in the near future of somehow eliminating challenging use of force events.  While it is impossible to predict when one will strike a community and police department, such events are sadly inevitable.  Also, there are people who, because of a deep hurt, feel a sense of responsibility to leverage local outrage following the event.  The media also feels the need to leverage local outrage in order to hold police accountable, not only for the challenging use of force event, but also for the deep, longstanding hurt felt by the community.  These realities will inevitably converge to create a kind of negative synergy against the police.

Police can complain, or they can begin to take responsibility for how officers see and respond to every person, during every contact.  Police must do this as officers go about fulfilling all the improved protocols and policies that are on the table.  Otherwise the hurt will continue even as the protocols improve.

The single safeguard police have is the establishment of a track record of respectful, high-trust relationships with every person, during every contact, every time.  Policing in today’s America requires a mindset which takes responsibility not only for what police do, but also how police see themselves in interactions with others while doing what they do.  

For an organization that is in deep conflict with their community, the solution would be a comprehensive threefold process that has real-time, publicly available accountability to be 1) Mission ready, with concern for the wellbeing of every officer;  2) Community centric, monitoring the quality of every contact officers have; 3)  Strategically focused to verify that community and organizational goals and objectives are being met.  These three feedback mechanisms are backed by constant training, coaching, counseling, mentoring, and accountability for officers and workgroups who struggle in any area.

More examples of how viewing people as people affects every aspect of policing can be found here:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dealing with what goes wrong or helping things go right

Bureau of Justice Statistics research indicates that up to 10% of the people who have contact with the police feel they have been mistreated.  Furthermore, up to 83% of people who had force used on them by police; felt the force used was excessive.  Noteworthy however, is this - of the people who reported feeling mistreated by the police, only 13% filed a complaint and only 1% filed a lawsuit.  

While an individual's experience is not necessarily objectively correct - these statistics are potentially very insightful.  One can see pressure and resentment mounting on a day-to-day basis.  At the same time, the vast majority of the people apparently have so little trust in the system that they make no formal complaint.  However we know they talk, blog and write comments on public forums regarding police stories in the media.  This animosity continues to build until an event releases the pressure and explodes into open hostility.   
It is common to deal with the explosion and act as if “these people” are unreasonable and ignorant.  However, that belief does not make the associated costs go away.  One police chief recently commented that the overtime alone for the recent unrest was over $600,000, but that cost pales in comparison to the “international black eye” suffered by a city that depends upon tourism – defending a $20 million law suit and potential results of an FBI probe.

Some agencies are beginning to see the  folly of remaining on the well worn path of simply dealing with what goes wrong.  Does yours?

Joanna C. Schwartz. What Police Learn From Law Suits. Cardozo Law Review. 2012, Volume 33:3

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Justice and Compassion

These two concepts intersect at the noble roots of policing, and together provide solid foundation for Noble Courage.  Let us consider extreme lessons from history in hopes of better understanding these precious virtues.
Justice - Tyrants argue that justice is obtained by enforcing all their laws with cool, calculated precision.  Bullies and thugs derive twisted satisfaction from being enforcers of the despot’s tyranny.  Could desperate times ever create a breeding ground open to a “Hitler-esk” siren call, hypnotizing the masses in America?  If so, the “thin blue line” of courage, running through the heart of every American Guardian, would stand strong to protect our society from lapsing into tyranny.  Humanity must never wait until tyranny is knocking at the door, to begin to sustain Noble Courage.  At that point, no one will be able to care, if or when people begin to care; it will simply be too late.  The courageous ones will be the outlaws; the “cops” will be the thug enforcers.
Compassion – Despots go through great pains to drain the sap of human compassion - from their minions first and ultimately from all who fall under their tyranny.  The most noble of guardian’s have a deep conviction in the exact opposite direction.  Noble guardians have an almost innate sense which harkens back to ancient times, calling them to a life style commitment.  This commitment is the driving force for them to develop and maintain individual STRENGTH.  At the same time, these noble guardians temper their strength, attending to the greater good with a pledge to selfless SERVICE, personal SACRIFICE and shared SUFFERING.  These character qualities merge in the noble guardian to produce empathy for others, with a commitment to justice and a strong desire to relieve suffering – this is Noble Courage.
Hold the line noble guardian while others rest secure.  Just remember when you face down street level suspects - value and honor them as people.  If you do this, these suspects will teach you a valuable lesson with every interaction.  The real difference between a noble guardian and a strong thug is an unwavering commitment to justice and compassion, which fosters and sustains - individual STRENGTH, selfless SERVICE, personal SACRIFICE and shared SUFFERING.  Waiver in these commitments and Noble Courage fades – a strong thug emerges.    

Monday, March 19, 2012

Force Science Research Institute Reviews Unleashing Respect Project

Take a look at the recent article from Force Science Research