- Post a new discussion related to the topics covered in this module. Your post needs to provide specific lessons learned with examples from this module helping you enhance your leadership capacity at work.
- After posting your discussion, review posts provided by other students in the class and reply to at least one of them.
“It takes five positive interactions to make up for one bad” is a powerful statistic and demonstrates the importance of community leadership. I am guilty of some of the bad habits mentioned in this module and thought this served as a good reminder for continued improvement in these areas.
This module pointed out some very good points. We need to be more active in our communities. We also need to spend more time on our own personal well-being. I could imagine someone coming into our PD and attempting to get us to meditate and spend time on ourselves. Most would say were too busy or just don't want to. This is a must for personal health and well-being in general. We must take time for ourselves as much as our families.
After listening to Lt. Ellis's lecture, I realize I may need to expand my circle. I always hang out with coworkers when off duty. My childhood friends are not local, nor are my military friends. I will need to look for a way to diversify my social circle.
Same here Richard. There were a few bad habits listed here that I need to work on.
The importance of self-care and community involvement was driven home to me in this module. It can help us to become better leaders in our workplace and beyond. Self-care is not only essential for reducing burnout, but it also provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our work, recharge, and gain new perspectives. Similarly, investing time in meaningful community involvement can help us to develop and hone interpersonal skills, build trust and confidence in our communities, and provide a space for connection and understanding. There are times when work can consume me, and I have to step back and look at the bigger picture through the lens of my loved ones.
It seems that we typically will do a great job solving others problems and restoring the calm to a situation while at work but there is a portion of us in law enforcement that would be seen as a train wreck in their own social life.
In working for over 25 years in law enforcement I have heard this training before in different methods and what is required to get better at this, we need to focus on deep change and not just make the change for the sake of change. I can say that I am not the best at this and I have spent too many times away from my personal life for the sake of the job.
While I may continue to work on this for myself, we need to help our replacements not make the same errors we have done.
I like the comparison of the deep change that is needed to make us better at taking care of ourselves. it is very true and a necessity.
"In order to be your best public servant you can be, you have to invest in your emotional health. Which includes your citizenship away from work." - Brian Ellis
I have spent 20+ years over working and under socializing outside of my LE circle. This module opened my eyes to some things I need to practice doing better, as I wind down my career.
Mitch, I am also in the twilight of my career and know I need to spend time on myself and not my job. But I see the problem with, as we become leaders and advance in our agencies, it seems like our personal time whets smaller as we are tasked to do more with less time.
Lt. Ellis mentions that physiologist state that "it takes five positive interactions to make up for one negative interaction." Sit in any muster room throughout the country; the stories are endless on the officers' negative actions within the agency. They are forever etched in the minds and passed to each new generation. These same stories are undoubtedly shared within the community of officer misconduct or the poor treatment of citizens. The officers who have the negative stories shared about them in the community are behind the power curve when dealing with anyone who has heard the tales. It is up to them to make it right.
You are correct Daniel. Physiologist, meteorologist, proctologist, or police officer. It doesn't matter. One negative interaction will outweigh the multiple positive ones. People like to dwell on the negative. We must do our part to increase the positive interactions within those muster rooms or in the community.
I speak with a lot of new officers, current officers, and officers that have been involved in critical incidents and they share some similarities about the perception of law enforcement and some perspectives have changed due to time or situations. I unfortunately can say I have seen my share of early deaths for people that served in law enforcement. I have seen divorces, alcoholism, stress, suicides, and just men and women being completely transformed from the person they were when they raised their hand and swore to serve and protect. They all do the job but sometimes they just are the person they used to be. I am encouraged to see more agencies making counseling available and not having a stigma associated with it and officers learning new ways to manage their stress in a positive way.
Having grown up in a public servant family, I too am familiar with the tendency of those who are servants to keep serving and working while neglecting their personal responsibilities. Often, my mother would volunteer for OT, be voluntold to work a double, or work a second job as she was a single mother. She was also very independent. What I noticed most about this dynamic (and I’m not criticizing her choices) is how much of my family time she sacrificed. It’s easy to get sucked into the justification game. There will always be a bill that needs to be paid or an unexpected expense. Because of my life experience as a child, I have volunteered for very little overtime assignments in my fifteen-year career. Especially since having children. For me, the time with my family and being present in the lives of my children is more important than the financial benefits of OT. We just make decisions and live within our means.
This career takes a toll on our mental wellbeing and cynicism is an easy slope to fall trap to. The average public safety employee will experience more than 600 critical events in their careers while the public average is less than three. This type of stress compounds with exposure and leads to health conditions such as high blood pressure, hypertension, stress eating, and PTSD to name a few. As leaders in this field, we must stress this to our teams and help them to recognize the signs. We must encourage them to take the time off they need to be immersed in wonders and excitement of the positivity in the world around them. If we lose sight and true understanding of the reasons why we serve in the capacity that we do, then we become the problems within our organizations and we erode the trust the community has placed in us.
Jarrett, unfortunately, this is a common issue with us. I too hope to be part of the solution in the future and encourage others to get the help they need with complete support from their agencies, officers, and families. Can't say much more than what you have stated. True story and just humbling.
I believe Community Policing is a must in our profession. We must be involved in our community and have a great relationship with those that we serve in order to do our jobs. By involving and investing in our community its shows the community that we all live, work and strive for the same goals and dreams for our community. Community policing also send a message to the opposition that we all (police officers and the community at large) stand together in making our community a greater place for all. As a detective, I know for a fact my job would be a whole lot harder if I did not have the love and support from my community that I serve. It feels great when I'm off duty and out in the community and the community still greet and hold a life altering conversation with me it's priceless. just a smile, hand shake, and head nod speaks wonders in our profession and it all starts with community policing.
For those who have been in law enforcement for a while understand that most LE’s not only work a regular shift, but also extra duty assignments. When I first started out in law enforcement, I worked a lot and didn’t balance my time wisely. This caused issues at home and I missed many family and community functions because of it. You must find balance with work and personal time. You must unplug every now and then. Once I got myself and my relationship at home in order, it began to bleed over to me having a strong relationship with my community/neighbors and the communities to which I served.
this is great advice and I must admit something that I do struggle on daily. It is so hard for me most times to depart from the daily activities of this profession and focus on my personal life. This is definitely something, I need to and will work on for it need to get myself in balance. I all so quickly and without hesitation do for others before taking care of myself and my family.
As Lt. Ellis spoke about cynicism, I thought he was talking about everyone else. Lawrence Dearing also hit a keynote that struck me very hard. I became very cynical when I went into narcotics. We dealt only with the worst of everything, which mentally drug me down. It’s taken years to get me out of that mindset. Getting involved more with the community helped me after going back to patrol. I could see the good in people and help them where it mattered. We must teach citizens the hazards of what we face daily. Just giving your time to others builds a strong bond with the community.
Lt. Ellis’ lecture on having interaction with the community and citizens we serve. I agree that we should show the public we serve that we have a true care for them. They need to know that we in public safety need and want their support. Without the publics support and caring, we cannot effectively do the job of protecting our citizens.
Community policing is more important than ever. We work for the community and the community are essentially our bosses. It is imperative that we interact with them positively and consistently through community events and by exiting our patrol units so that we have a recognizable face. Most people will support the police and every agency needs to be cognizant that they are just one mistake away of from altering their relationship with their community. The relationships that are built now, need to be strong enough that the community will continue to support their agency through a mistake made by a member of the agency. If the relationship is genuine, the agency should survive the mistake.
Elliot, you're absolutely correct. Building PR capital with our community is important. The agency doesn't necessarily need to have made a mistake. A serious use of force or deadly force is always a concern to the public. Having built credit with the community will give us time to investigate and release accurate information without major upheaval.
I agree that we must invest our time in having positive interactions within the communities we serve. Lt. Elliss said, "the more we invest, the more we can take out in times of need." This is critical in the giving the current environment we operate in. We currently have a great relationship with the communities we serve. We are moving to help officers balance their personal lives as a profession. With the commitments to and development of officer wellness programs, officers are becoming more aware of the need for balance.
I agree, Kevin,
The quote from Lt. Ellis said, "the more we invest, the more we can take out in times of need." seems to be more critical now than ever. Public trust in law enforcement is diminishing as the years' pass. Keeping the topics mentioned in this module can begin the rebuilding phase.
Joseph Spadoni, Jr.
Community Leadership is something I often exhibited when I worked on uniform patrol as then I had more interaction with the community from day to day than I do now. I would often find myself stepping out of my unit in the low-income housing or high-crime areas and interacting with the community from children to adults. So much so that people in the community became familiar with me and would often offer me lunch or dinner while I was on shift. Of course, you know I couldn’t pass up a good home-cooked meal. I’ve always expressed empathy for people. I have always treated everyone like a human being and treated them the way I would want to be treated if I were in their shoes. I can’t tell you how many times doing that has helped me or paid off for me whether it’s from information, cooperation on a case, or just simply them having my back.
I think one of the most important benefits of law enforcement officers engaging in community involvement is the humanizing of officers that it helps to create in the minds of citizens.
Cedric, I agree. Helping the citizens realize that we are people too can create a better relationship with the community.
That's true, but it will also help the officers see the human side of the people they serve.
I agree this helps build relationships. Officers and citizens gain mutual respect for one another as they become engaged. This also allows the flow of information and develops partnerships to fight crime.
I agree. Humanizing our officers is needed in today’s pollical climate. With the demonizing rhetoric portrayed in the media, on social media platforms, and in cinema this proves every day to be an up-hill battle. The silent majority support us, but when we get out and interact, out of uniform, with the communities we serve it provides an opportunity to connect and build trust with others. One on one human interactions will always develop truer understanding, but it is our responsibility to engage in this capacity.
I have always said that if you want to be the best officer you need to have balance between work and professional life. Sometimes as a policeman we get don’t stop being a policeman and always look at the worst in people. This lesson has made me reevaluate my personal life so that I can be a better policeman.
Being an integral part of the community is a key factor in bridging the gap with the community and also giving us a relief from our everyday duties, where we encounter what most people do not. It gives an outlet for an officer to reconnect with emotions, engage in awareness and not suspicion, helps with isolation.
The concept of being committed to personal development and growth was what resounded most for me on this module. Being committed to constant improvement no matter what your age and life experience allows us to be open minded to anything that life throws at us both in our personal lives and in our career.
I agree. Sometimes times we need to hit the reset button and try to have some separation between work and personal lives.
I did not readily see how community involvement leads to personal development. This module points out that we better ourselves by being contributing citizens who happen to be police officers as opposed to officers who happen to be citizens. It puts the emphasis on the entire community instead of on the individual or the organization.
Engaging the community is a very important part of being a law enforcement officer. Without community involvement, it is very hard for law enforcement to be successful. Having the right relationship and leadership in the community bodes well for the officer and the community it polices.
Agreed. I especially liked the concept of making deposits into public trust with positive contacts to create allies in the community.
I have always believed in maintaining a presence in the community throughout my law enforcement career. Over the year, I have had friends in law enforcement who only socialized with other cops. This limits their perspective on current affairs; they only see issues from one side of the equation. I think it's ironic that many officers have "we the people" tattoos but distance themselves from the people.
Walter, I have also seen this over the years. I believe many police officers manifest a feeling that they cannot trust citizens, so they stay to themselves. The other issue they complain about is the average person loves to hear crazy stories, so they ask police officers about it. Instead of teaching and openly communicating with the public, isolating themselves is easier.
A key takeaway from this module is scheduling personal time with people not related to law enforcement. I often spend the majority of my time with my fellow coworkers as I have forged a bond with them due to working a lot of hours together. I also agree that divorce rates are high due to officers having to work significant hours and doing off-duty details to supplement their income.
Lt. Ellis spoke about the ways to develop relationships with the community. He asked if our neighbors were aware that we work in the law enforcement field and if so, speak of the matters relating to law enforcement when asked. It is very common that when I talk with my neighbors, questions pertaining to law enforcement are asked. I take the time to discuss their issues or concerns. This module made me realize the good impact this can have on the community.
One fact that stunned me was the increased divorce rate amongst law enforcement professionals. Officers must seek a balance between their professional and personal lives. Also, maintaining personal relationships outside the agency is essential. I see a lot of young deputies in our agency that sends the majority of their free time together.
Lt. Ellis spoke about combatting cynicism by humanizing the profession as well as using your expertise to help others. One of the things I enjoy the most is when I can speak to citizens both on and off duty and answer questions about "why" we do the things we do and give them a new perspective on things. They usually walk away with a better understanding of the profession.
Lt. Ellis covered a great deal of information in this module. It is imperative to have a great relationship with the community we serve in modern times. We are fortunate to have such a great and supportive community behind us. During this module, what jumped out to me was taking time for ourselves and being healthy. This side of the job is overlooked and needs to remain a topic of conversation. Are we genuinely addressing the mental health toll this career causes or the high alcoholism and suicide rates of officers? We have to form a proper early warning system to address these issues.
I agree Mitch, we should be mindful of our own self. For if our health is in decline and we miss the signs, we become a burden not only to our self, but those around us.
In this module, I can identify with just about everything Lt. Ellis talked about. Most of my law enforcement career was spent in narcotics as well, dealing with the dregs of society. I became jaded and cynical very early in my career, and even now, struggle at times to see the good in people. I am not terribly active in my community, aside from representing the department at functions requiring the presence of a command staff member. I spend most of my time at home with family, or in social settings with other police officers. I have very few friends that are not cops or military veterans. It is a cultural norm. I have found that with age and maturity, a decision to make rank and take on more responsibility, and development in leadership and interpersonal skills, I am becoming more understanding, more tolerant, and more accepting of some of these concepts discussed in this module. I am spending more time focused on functions and actions outside of work as well as travel and hobbies. I would like to beat the statistic and live past 66!
Lt. Ellis gives a refresher on cynicism, helps identify pitfalls that lead to society isolation by officers. In this lesson I take away the importance of having a healthy social life with community involvement. Another grate lesson that builds off the previous.
I think community involvement is essential for the community and officers to see each other as humans. Stronger relations with others off duty can lead to better relations on duty.
I agree Todd, it really give an officer for a chance to connect and become part of a community. Many officers have received help from citizens because of their connection with the community.
Community Leadership: This is an essential concept if we want the communities we live in to be safe for our families as well as our own mental health. It’s important to be part of the community outside of our law enforcement duties to humanize our profession. By doing this, we develop relationships and rapport when leads are needed to solve a case or when a negative law enforcement stereotype is pushed forward by a malcontent in the community. This is a force multiplier for law and order in that ordinary citizens speak up for law enforcement or to identify criminals, that’s had to come by without rapport.
As far as mental health is concerned, Dr. Gilmartin’s book was spot on and provides some good insight on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining hobbies and healthy relationships outside of the law enforcement circle has provided me with a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. I always enjoy listening and talking to family and friends who don’t have a law enforcement point of view. This reminds me of my humanity and where I will be in retirement.
Community policing is important. One of the most essential element in community policing is the partnerships within the community that support law enforcement efforts to reduce crime and the fear of crime. Having the support of the community is important during critical incidents as well as crime prevention efforts and intelligence gathering.
I agree, Devon, and the more we work to humanize ourselves and break down the barriers between us and the citizens the better off we will be. Partnerships with the communities we serve are essential to the mission of modern-day law enforcement. I am fortunate to police in an area where police support is prevalent.
That has been my agency's goal in using social media to humanize our officers. Because of it, we have a great amount of support within our community.
I like the comment during the Final Reflections portion of this module: "Invest in your emotional health." Those of us in this profession see the worst of the worst. Take care of yourselves so that we can continue to be the best we can be and to not fall into the pitfalls we can so easily fall into. Branch out, talk with people outside of law enforcement, take care of yourself. If we are not healthy emotionally and mentally, how can we effectively take care of others?
I see people I work with who are bitter and unhappy. They seem to then wonder why they have issues in relationships with others. Why they cannot find "their one" Unfortunately it transfers to their work life too. They seem to make decisions in a black/white fashion instead of getting to know people and understanding what is truly going on.
We have all worked with and supervised some burned-out officers that hit most, if not every pitfall outlined in this module. I enjoyed this module, and it makes me want to do a better job of creating balance in certain aspects of my life. Unfortunately, I’m a long way from being where I would like to be in my quest for personal balance. One of the books that has helped me is Dr. Kevin Gilmartin’s book “Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement”. I believe that a summary of Dr. Kevin Gilmartin’s book “Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement” should be taught in the academy or during the first year of new officer’s employment.
I like your idea of teaching the book "Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement" to new officers. But I would go a step further. That after 5 years on the job, they have to read it, or go through it again. It is easy to forget the principles after seeing all of the crap that we see.
One of the tough things about combatting cynicism is that on a police department, cynicism is popular. One of the ways an officer shows their veteran status is that they know that everything is B.S. I think that would sound odd to an outsider but I suspect that any of us in this board will see this to be often true. It's an odd phenomenon in our profession that our officers often face social pressure and experience social reward to be burned out. So the first thing a leader has to do if he wants less cynicism in his unit is to get his people to buy into the knowledge that cynicism is harmful. Kevin Gilmartin's work is helpful to this end. Through his work, and others like him, we can teach our officers about the long-term effects of cynicism and hypervigilance. Beyond this, we should also make it a point to celebrate veteran officers who have been able to maintain a positive outlook and orientation toward service throughout their careers. We should make more of an effort to elevate those kinds of officers as the "cool kids" so that we better sell the idea that the way to be successful in our agencies is to remain balanced and service-oriented.
Cynicism was a major focus on this week’s lecture. I have reflected on this the last couple of days to evaluate where my level of cynicism lies as well as my suspicion. I know there has been ebb and flow with my levels. Some of the cynicism I have is due to training and some to experience. Fortunately, I have a strong network outside of the police department through the church, friends, and family. My core ethos is based in things other than being a police officer and I work hard to maintain empathy and understanding for the community I serve. I am not always successful in maintaining empathy, but I do my best. I hope through continued efforts of relationship building and intentional community service, my empathy and understanding can stay high, and I can be an asset, instead of a liability to my community.
The aspect of community involvement and community policing are both extremely important. Being involved in the community outside of work allows people to see you in a different light and come to know you as a person. Getting out and having conversations with community members while patrolling allows you to meet the people in the community you work in. this lets both you and the community member see each other as human beings. This ultimately builds community trust in the organization and assists with solving and preventing crimes.
It's interesting that a return to community oriented policing principles in the last 10 or 15 years has highlighted the importance of, as you say Dan, "getting out and having conversations with community members while patrolling." Yet few of our departments have found ways to encourage this, except for occasionally posting a video of officers playing basketball. Instead, our staffing methods and activity tracking systems have maintained the old "professional policing" model of car-based and impersonal enforcement. If we want to encourage more contact between our officers and community members, we have to start accounting for this in the way we assign and manage shifts. I did an assessment for a department once that had an activity column for "business checks" which was specifically designed to give an officer credit for going and speaking to business owners, convenience store clerks, and so on under the assumption that these conversations both advanced the community oriented policing philosophy of the department and gave opportunities for officers to collect valuable intelligence about neighborhood issues. I loved this idea and would like to see it expanded to other types on community contacts as well. For departments that track activity and use activity as a marker of officers' work, our activity columns send the message about what is important to us. If an officer can get three points for making a traffic stop but don't even have a way to track a citizen contact that doesn't involve direct enforcement, than we have sent a particular message about the relative value of those activities. So we have to make sure that we have a way to reward officers for doing these things.
Community involvement especially off duty is extremely important. During our times on duty, rarely do we get a chance to interact with our citizens when they are having a good day. It also allows the citizens to see the human behind to badge and provide a chance for understanding each other and building trust.
I have been in law enforcement for seventeen years. I remember hearing about the "us vs them" mentality during the academy and instructors teaching about the need to avoid this. After experiencing patrol for several years and working shift work, I see how easy it can be to fall into that pitfall. It is essential to maintain relationships outside of law enforcement and remain engaged in the community. As officers, we are exposed to the worst society has to offer. To maintain a healthy balance it is crucial to avoid isolation and remain active in the community outside of work.
I agree. I remember in the academy the instructors encouraging us to develop and maintain friendships outside of law enforcement. During the first several years of my career, I failed at doing this and all of the people I associated with were officers I worked around. I was skeptical of the few friends my then wife and I had outside of work. After a divorce and several years on the job I started to develop numerous friends outside of work and reconnect with nonlaw enforcement friends, I had not seen in some time. Now the majority of the people I am around outside of work are non-law enforcement. When off duty I am able to relax more and I have learned to not be so judgmental of people. This has helped my abilities in the workplace as well.
I have been fortunate to have maintained outside relationships throughout my career. My outside relationships have been very helpful both personally and professionally. I have been able to help those I know understand the role law enforcement plays and help them sort through the weeds of what is broadcast by the media and other sources. However, I have several friends who have isolated themselves within the police department and their level of cynicism seems to be off the charts at times. Cynicism easily leads to anger and resentment which can negatively impact an officer’s career and their personal life. I am thankful we have officers who have not bought into the us versus them mentality as they can have a much healthier life. I am afraid those who get stuck in cynicism, seem to be less happy and less healthy as individuals.
The notion of the “us versus them” is something that seems to have taken hold of this profession and has been passed down from one generation of officers to the next. It is an unfortunate concept and no that most officers may not agree with from an individual belief, but as a collective group, it is what is portrayed to the community and citizens. It is easy to become cynical and feel isolated from the community. I have seen officers carry this cynicism well into their retirement years. The balance and awareness that was discussed in this module gave hope to me for this profession that I love. As individuals, we have the power to change how people see us just as in the story told by Lt. Ellis.
Aristotle's, "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit," was a humbling reminder that our development is a continual process that lasts a lifetime. The excellence he described are the characteristics prescribed by Sun Tzu of wisdom, trust, benevolence, courage and firmness. We must be aware and mindful of these characteristics with our words and actions at both work and at home. Through the awareness and actively practicing them opens up opportunities for healthy relationships as a co-worker, a citizen and family member.
I also found the quote by Aristotle very powerful driving the point home as leaders we are to set the example and model the way. This is a life skill that needs to be passed down, the underlying culture of “us versus them” needs to come to an end. We are the citizens of our community, there is only a collective us if we are to change how citizens view law enforcement professionals and how we view the citizens were are sworn to protect.
I totally agree that we must be aware and mindful of these San Tzu’s characteristics with our words and actions at both work and at home. We must also be mindful in our social media presence. I chose to be very conservative in my social media presence. I don’t throw my life of my family members’ live out there on social media. I do know and am aware of a number of officers who do not reflect San Tzu’s characteristics or any other characteristics becoming of public safety professionals on their social media pages. I believe this type of conduct damages the view that people about public safety professionals.
Aristotle was certainly correct when he said, "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit." This statement reflects the underlying idea that greatness and success can only be achieved through sustained effort and action, not simply by will or sporadic bursts of activity. There is no shortcut to mastery. It must be earned through intentional, consistent practice.
Community Leadership is a philosophy that is pushed heavily at our agency. Being a resort town it is very important to our administration (at the city level) that we engage and interact with the public. There are many events within the city that we are encouraged to participate in. The level of input and output that we get is in direct reflection of the participation of the officers at these events. Leading officers to by a part of the community, at least in a small way, is something that our leaders should focus on. As Lt. Ellis mentions having community involvement can help to humanize the profession to the people that need to know who we are and what we are like.
The effectiveness of law enforcement is often determined by how well law enforcement officers interact with the communities they serve. Good community policing is imperative for developing trust between police and citizens. Without the community's trust, law enforcement officers' jobs can be difficult. Police work can also become much less effective. Even when trying to prevent crime, the people will not feel safe because there is no trust. Community policing has allowed me to get to know some fantastic citizens who have given imperative information that has helped solve crimes within the neighborhood.
I agree that law enforcement effectiveness is directly impacted by positive community relations. Failure to build trusting relationships between law enforcement and the community, adds to the difficulty of solving and preventing crimes.
I agree. Our agency has an outstanding rapport with the community. It takes a team effort to get the job done, which often means partnering with the community. It is also all about building those relationships with the younger generations before pulling them into the streets and beginning a downward spiral.
I agree with your statement. The community determines whether an agency survives or not. We cannot effectively police our communities without their support.
As Lieutenant Ellis stated, that state of suspicion vs. awareness is the fine line we have to toe for our safety and the safety of others. An officer needs to learn how to switch from the suspicion mode or unplug. Long periods in a heightened state of suspicion can bring serious mental issues. Officers need to train newer officers on separating themselves from work and focusing on themselves and their families.
This module discusses the importance of officers developing community leadership. Officers need to make sure they do not get caught up in social isolation; they need to have a normal lifestyle outside of work and socialize with others outside of law enforcement. Officers have to find balance between work life and personal life. I realized that this is something I really need to work on; I have to find the balance between work and home.
I agree, Kimberley! Being a law enforcement officer requires us not to be so isolated. Having a normal lifestyle outside of work and socializing with others outside of law enforcement brings a certain comfort. Everything shouldn't consist of law enforcement outside of the actual job. When you have nothing but law enforcement friends, I believe that's all you talk about, and it makes you not trust others. Great post!
– Jared, I agree and have seen the cynicism develop in me over the years. Everything discussed in this lesson took me to a point in my career when I had no hope for society and I isolated myself from it.
I agree Kimberly, we all need to be able to balance work and personal life.
As leaders in our communities, we should focus on having positive interactions with the public. We need the support of our communities to be successful in this job. The importance of community trust cannot be taken for granted. It has to be developed through healthy community involvement. This also humanizes the profession. We may be officers, but we are also people who are part of our communities. As law enforcement officers we must find balance in our professional and personal lives. We must take our own mental health very seriously and take care of ourselves on and off duty.
This is module covers an area of my life I have struggled with over the years, work/life balance. I found myself not going to functions with friends because I was tired of the never ending stories about the time they got pulled over, or having to give advice about a problem they were having with a neighbor. I never felt like I was off duty! Luckily, I have been able to find other things to do to socialize with non-work friends but I still need to be more involved within my community. This module has really driven the point home of how important that is and how it can have a positive impact on all aspects of my life.
This was a very good module that talked about some very important issues within the law enforcement community. As being a third generation law enforcement officer, I have witnessed first hand how the stresses from the job can effect the home. I have tried in my career to not bring the work home but it is hard at times. This module really did a good job with explaining the pitfalls that some law enforcement officers find themselves in. On the topic of Community Policing, it is probably the most important aspect of our job in todays world. My grandfather's policing style does not work in today's environment. Police agencies will always be judged by our interactions with the public. So, strong community policing programs are key to building relationships and trust with the citizens we serve.
These module was more eye opening within the work/life balance aspect. I have never been one to prioritize or find my identity within law enforcement over family, but that doesn't mean that others don't see it that way. I do not have any relationships outside of law enforcement (married to another police officer as well), but at the same time I have no desire to put the effort into anything other than my family. In discussing community relationships, again, I don't have the energy or desire and those honestly feel more burdensome and just part of the job than any type of rewarding. The points about cynicism however were very spot on and eye opening.
In our ever-changing society, the law enforcement profession is inherently stressful and can have an adverse effect on relationships. From experience, officers must be deliberate about taking steps to address so it doesn’t impact their relationships. Over the past twenty-five years, I have found that maintaining friendships who are not involved in law enforcement and work in different professions have been very beneficial. This is advantageous because officers can profit from learning conflict resolution strategies and life perspectives that are not associated with the police mindset.
Joey- You are so correct. I also find it beneficial to have friends who are not in law enforcement. It gives me a different prospective and they keep me grounded in a lot of ways. Law enforcement is extremely stressful and I have personally seen what a law enforcement career can do to relationships.
Joey - This is definitely something that I think the new officers could benefit from. Understanding that everyone who is not in Law Enforcement is not a criminal is a lacking thing for the generation of officers that are incoming. We must build these people to see everyone for the individual that they are and not what we have been built to believe about people.
Community Leadership is important for law enforcement agencies. Being involved in the community allows for people to see that there is a different side to our profession other than taking people to jail for various crimes. It is an opportunity for people to get to know us personally and connect in a way that they normally would not be able to. Through seeing this module, I can relate a lot of the stuff in my own career. I love having time with friends and family outside of this job. Sometimes I find myself putting them on the back burner to catch a side job on my off day, but I see the need to have that down time and spend more quality time with those that matter most.
When I started my career I always had the "me vs everyone" attitude as I lost most friends due to profession and moving away and created friendships with only officers which was a detriment to my personal life. I didn't want to meet someone who wasn't in the profession and I thought little of them. Once I met my Wife and started building a relationship with her family and getting involved with the community I realized I had the wrong attitude. It completely changed who I was and how I policed. I played many seasons of co-ed softball. This allowed the entire community to see my succeed personally but also see me make mistakes. Getting involved off-duty also allowed them to learn who I was personally. Of course I saw the impact of it when I was working but I saw a bigger impact when I went to work for a "rival" town's department. My first community thanked me, wanted to see me thrive but when I started meeting citizens in the new town, some already knew who I was and what impact I had on the community. This allowed e to foster great relationships with citizens in the new community faster.
Tyler, I agree with your post. Relationship wellness is essential to our health and well-being. I have witnessed officers who have an happy and stable life off-duty are less likely to experience distractions when on duty.
This module hit home with me about having connections outside of L.E. I have remained friends with certain trusted people outside of the job but not as many as I should have. Working shifts, I fell into the trap of isolation and lost hobby’s, friends, and connection with family. As I get older, I realize my mistake and am making attempts to find that balance discussed. I do not want to be ‘that guy” we all know that had nothing once the career ended.
Sir, this module absolutely hit home about having connections outside the job. I love your last sentence. Mostly cause I was "that guy" at one point in my career.
I think you bring up a great point. We do need to spend more quality time with our friends outside of this job. We lose that connection with them if we allow ourselves to be overtaken by this career. It makes things harder working shift work, but we must strive to make it work. I find myself scheduling vacation well in advance with my friends and family so that the time we share will be something we look forward to and don’t take for granite. We all have busy lives, but we must set aside that time to put our friends and family in the picture so that we don’t make that mistake and lose them in lieu of it.
I am in the same boat as you, Curtis, and it is easy to do. I see retired guys coming back all of the time because this is all they've known and they end up being a liability to themselves and others.
Curtis, the reason we as public safety tend to have friends only in the profession is sometimes dictated by our weird schedules so that we can be around others that relate to our experiences. I sometimes talk about issues from work with family and friends and feel that they sometimes don’t reasonably react the same way a law enforcement buddy will. I try to keep a balance of friends, but friends usually come from the areas where you spend the most time. For me, I constantly work.
Curtis, if you haven’t read Dr. Gilmartin’s book Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement, you really should. This topic should be taught in the academy and spoke on during yearly in-service training. This book is such a good read that I easily identified with his writings and suggestions to stay balanced. So much so that I ordered twenty copies and gave them out to colleagues. I was looking for balance and a mental health change when I came across this book. You will be impressed with his insight as to our daily tribulations.
After experiencing 22 years in the law enforcement profession, I can relate to all of the topics discussed in the module. Since I've started this career, I've always had to fight against cynicism. At times it was difficult to see the positive instead of the negative during my contact with others in the public. However, over the years, I did overcome some of these issues by working on separating my personal and professional life. I agree with the instructor in that it is important to develop relationships outside of work and participating in community service. It does give you a different perspective in life and create the balance we need.
Cynicism is hard to fight. I found that between 0-5 years was the toughest. 6-8 years I felt like I was overcoming it. Now I can realize when I'm acting that way or when an employee is acting a certain way and can stop the behavior.
Pitfalls such as social isolation are definitely real. Although I love the people I work with and for I realized early on that I needed other relationships outside of cops. Sort of ironic because we start to feel that we only have things in common with those who do the same job as us. I personally had to figure out that when I got off work I needed to simply take off the uniform and become the father, husband, or neighbor that I needed to be for my own sanity. We often have block parties around my neighborhood, everyone knows what I do for a living, but they rarely ask me to tell them cop stories and what not. It makes me feel like they see me as just another funny guy that lives next door. We talk about kids, life, and sometimes social issues. Hell I have coached many of their kids in baseball over the years so the connection is there. I have always been open and honest with them all and I think it has led to mutual respect and trust.
I liked this lecture and thought it had a lot of good information. At first Ii was confused because the topic stated Community Leadership and then they spoke about personal wellness. As the lecture went on I found it interesting the impact our personal wellness can have on the community we serve. I also always knew that LE can take a toll on officers and can effect their professional and personal lives, but I haven't given it much thought on how this can effect their relationship with the community. I have seen cynicism from officers and usually it hasn't effected their contacts with community members; however, I can definitely see the opportunities for this to happen. As we all know that LE is always held under a microscope and to make sure we are giving the best community service, we need to make sure our officers are avoiding the mentioned pitfalls and developing that community engagement on and off the job.
I found this module to cement the way I've felt about the importance of community involvement for quite a few years now. When I first started in law enforcement I fell into the hole of always surrounding myself with fellow officers and the "us vs them" mentality. I found more peace and happiness when I broke that mold and started spending time with others outside of LE which gave me new perspective. I also coached little league sports which allowed me to reach kids who would have only seen officers in a negative light. These interactions opened up my mind and allowed me to see things from a different perspective.
I did the same thing at the beginning of my career. I remember the instructors in the academy always harping on the importance of having friends outside of law enforcement, but I never really gave it much thought. That was until I started patrol and saw some of the negative impacts these LE only relationships can have.
This module nailed it right on the head with social isolation and how the pitfalls become common place if we don’t continue to engage ourselves with our communities. I love the idea of community engagement events but I find it very difficult to engage staff, specifically corrections, to participate at these events. Corrections is the ugly step child of law enforcement and it is difficult for staff to see the “customer service” aspect of our jobs. I do value those healthy interactions with others outside of public safety but often get sucked into conversations about my work.
Ironically Jacqueline Corrections can possibly have greater impact on someone than that with people on the street. In corrections you are around people who have time. Sure some inmates are institutionalized but there are those who screwed up this one time and are at a pivotal place in their lives. They may be open to influence and positivity so they can get their lives back on track once released. As far as the officers in corrections you are correct sadly about them being looked down upon by people in enforcement. I started in corrections and eventually became sworn. Like anywhere else in life this job is about forging relationships both in and outside our comfort zones.
Having come from a corrections environment I remember feeling like the ugly step child. In that it was difficult to get behind the concept of community service as you are rarely if ever out there in the community. With that, it is extremely difficult to get people to buy in and participate in community events. That being said, it is also difficult to get my investigators to voluntarily participate in community activities. No one wants to spend their personal time with the people they work with in the community they deal with on a regular basis, they want to be at home with their families. It's rough.
This lecture further showed me the importance of having a healthy balance of work and private life. Being able to turn off the law enforcement mode and just enjoy life will help in many ways. There has to be an escape from the constant thought of law enforcement. You will get burned out and that's when things start to go down hill. Alcoholism, health problems, relationship problems, etc. Not being able to have a healthy out side of work life will eventually take a toll on you both personally and professionally.
This lecture showed me I have quite a bit of improvement to do in my life outside of police work. Finding releases and balance with healthy activities outside of work is key. This will not only help me in my professional life but personal and community life as well.
My wife did not want me to be a cop because of their negativity and high divorce rates. I tried another profession, but was drawn to LE. When I got into the profession full-time, I vowed I would not allow the career to change who I am at the core. A large part of fulfilling that vow has been maintaining strong relationships with people who are not cops. When I’m with friends who are cops, I don’t like to talk about the job. Having a life outside of work is vitally important! I used to teach at church for years and found such peace and enjoyment with that. Now, I enjoy quiet time, writing, watching movies, and getting outside. I really, really wish I could not be a cop anymore, so I try very earnestly to only think about work while on the job. Life is too short as is, so I choose to focus on family and friends as much as possible.
Well written, Brian. This is definitely an area I need to improve on as far as finding releases outside of work. While I do focus on family I have lost contact with many life long friends who are not cops.
Good on you Brian! sounds like you found the happy balance between life and work! I try to leave work at work but sometimes find it hard with technology at my fingertips. I find myself checking e-mails and voice mails when off duty even though I tell myself not to.
Great Thoughts Brian! I have lost connections with friends and family over the years and as I get older, I long to reconnected with those people. I make a lot more time for outside activities than I used too and hope to find that balance soon…
I strongly believe in community interaction. There are still good people who live in our high crime areas. The good does not always have to suffer for the bad. At times we as leaders have to be the bigger person and extend the olive branch. The trust have to be built, and it starts with taking the initiative to being the solution. Participating in community projects or the community itself, shows and proves that we are there during good times as well; not just during times of distress or trauma.
Eliminating unnecessary conflict in the community is important not only to solve the issue we are responding to but also to maintain order. To many times officers sometimes arrive on a scene and respond with the same emotion as the citizen. This elevation causes conflict and is not doing any good to anyone on scene. It is necessary to step back and see the big picture in order to make educated decisions to help resolve the situation. Having a good report with the community also will help. Being involved with the community through community outreach programs are essential to a good agency and community relationship.
Community outreach programs are a great success in establishing bonds between community members and the police, which can often times be crucial in defusing potentially problematic situations. These bonds build trust with members of the community that they can share with their neighbors. It helps humanize the job to not only the community members, but to the officers as well. I've participated in a few of these endeavors and can honestly say it was inspiring.
I agree totally David, there has been many times when we a major crime committed and no one wanted to come forward. At times I would have certain individuals; that would discreetly walk pass me and tell me they will call the office. Hours later, those same individuals would call and give vital information. All this occurs for the simple fact; that participate in our neighborhood watch program, community youth outreach, etc. By doing this a bond is form and trust is established.
Community leadership and outreach programs are key to success. These programs allow citizens to interact with law enforcement employees in a non-enforcement capacity. These programs are vital in building positive relations with citizens that leads to trust and credibility. I have experienced great feedback from participating in these programs and the experiences I have had greatly affects my interactions with the citizens.
It is very important to have a balance between personal and professional life. Have personal time is very important. I sometimes struggle with this, due to working extra details in order to support my family. When I do make it a point to be away from work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends that are not in law enforcement. It helps me reduce stress being able to enjoy other things besides what I do for a living.
I try to balance quality time off with working extra to help provide a better life for my family. I was able to identify with several areas of this last module and I will focus on more real time away from work.
Agreed. It really hit home that I focus too much of my attention at work or on work, it is almost constant for me. My life is not balanced and hasn't been for quite a few years. My husband is also in law enforcement so the benefit is that we both know what we are going through and we do it together.
I face the same issue. At work my mind is always on work and then at home, I have the phone going off with either calls/emails/text messages in reference to something work related that is requiring my focus. I realize I have to work harder to achieve the balance between home and work life.
Developing relationships with our communities is building trust at the same time. This is essential for our organization but for our community. By doing all of the community outreach programs lends us credibility and shows that we appreciate our community. The community in return will care about us and they will trust us to be a law enforcement agency that they can count on each day.
Another benefit to community programs is the reminder that far more people enjoy our profession and us than the narrative we experience on patrol. I thrived in my Beat when I got to know the community members and business owners. I enjoyed the neighborhood BBQs (didn't hurt that they catered!). I also worked diligently with our highest crime rate apartment complex to the point management would invite me to company birthday parties and eventually agreed to spearhead a new community engagement project within their complex.
The concept of living a balanced life is one that I have struggled with over the years. Trying to balance work and home and leisure activities is a struggle. As the sole provider for my household there is a certain amount I need to work in order to provide the lifestyle that we want for our family. However I often go overboard in providing and sacrifice the time with family for financial comfort.
The idea of having interest outside of police work is not a new one, however one of the hardest for some to grasp. That is, associating with people outside of police work, at least it was for me. Although I know that its a mental health issue, I've often felt frustration and impatient with the questions people would ask me. I have tried as of late to try and understand some peoples need for understanding and look at it as a teaching moment, but I sometimes find it exhausting. I do agree that participating in public events on and off duty does provide an opportunity of transparency which could bring greater understanding of law enforcement.
I know it is important to have friends outside of work. However this is an area where I found it difficult at times. With the unique life experiences that public servants have it is sometimes hard to connect with those do you not choose this line of work. I often find at my friends that are not mine enforcement have difficulty appreciating my sense of humor at times.
This certainly resonated with me regarding the idea of trying to live a balanced life. To work on having interest in people and activities away from police work.
I can honestly say that several times when I am home with my family, I am either taking a work call or I am checking my work email. I don't necessary think that I take work home with me, but being in a supervisor position, I do get several phone calls at times, and I also have to monitor my work email. I do not think I have a problem with personal balance. Moreover, I do think that officers must do better a developing a relationship with the community they serve in. Unfortunately, the community has a bad perception about law enforcement officers, so we must try our hardest to work with the community so they can have a better understanding of law enforcement, and what a law enforcement job requires.
Balance is the key point in this module. Balancing the professional life with the home life as well as balancing service to the community with vigilance to crime. It is always a sobering effect when the life expectancy statistics are shared. They seem to have increased since I was in the academy and heard them last however a 12 year decrease when compared to the national average is still not a good thing. I am on track to retire at the age of 51 or 55 at the latest with a four drop program. So the knowledge that unless I can improve my health I might not make it to more than ten years of retirement is very heavy. But that only pushes for me to stay on track for improving my health and becoming more fit.
Ellis, B. (2017). Community leadership. Module 8, Weeks 5 & 6. National Command and Staff College.
It is obvious, especially in the environment which we are operating within today, that community investment is a key tenet of transparency. In order to be effective, our community involvement is likewise important. To build trust within the community, officers should involve themselves with the community. By investing ourselves within the community, we can strive to learn more about where we police, who we are policing amongst and the needs of our neighbors. This allows other members of the community to engage with us and see us as human beings (Ellis, 2021). This goes a long way in establishing communication and meaningful dialogue with our customers. It is the beginning of a partnership that should serve both the community and the police well. Ellis (2021) wisely advocates for such actions while expounding on finding a balance for officers. We are notorious for leaving this earth at a young age. Investing ourselves in the community just might help us find that life balance and extend our time here.
Ellis, B. (2021). Leadership in practice: community leadership. Module # 7, Week # 5. National Command and Staff College.
Officers also need to be involved in community engagement. Being involved in the community allows the citizens we serve to see that we are not only officers but citizens in the community. It allows them to see that we have the same interest.
Derek- One of the points that really struck me in this module was the life expectancy for our profession. My father was a retired officer and he left us when he was 67. It sort of hit home. I am one of those who never finds the time for working towards that balance. That will certainly have to change!
Best and stay safe!
Agreed. It also offers another level of transparency so others can see first hand that we can relate because we too are one of you.
The concepts of combatting cynicism and humanizing the profession are important. It's easy to fall into a cynical out look as years go by on the job, and I know I have certainly been guilty of it. I think humanizing the profession is important, but as a caveat I would add we need to be careful how we approach that objective. I'm not a fan of the dancing around in uniform like an idiot on tik tok and the lip sync challenges that went viral a few years ago. I've seen too many examples of officers "humanizing the badge" on these social media platforms that seem completely disingenuous and self serving to me. I believe we humanize this profession by how we treat each and every person we interact with on the job, and what we do to help our communities when there is not a camera pointed at us or a a Facebook post being written about our "good deed."
I agree that a lot of the social media fads seem to be silly and more self-serving in nature. Especially when they seem focused on chasing likes and shares rather than community awareness. However using social media has been a great boon for our recruiting. Personal interactions are beneficial and essential for community service. But word of mouth only goes so far and social media has a much better reach.
Dr. Gilmartin talks a lot about cynicism in his lecture. Along those same lines, that Brian spoke about regarding police officers maintaining their vitality in their communities is similar to what Dr. Gilmartin talks about regarding maintaining our identities as individuals..what was important to us when we entered the job gets replaced by the job. We must constantly be aware of those pitfalls and maintain those positive interactions and interests to negate cynicism and lack of empathy towards the public.
Cynicism was one of the main concepts of this lesson. Dr. Gilmartin was quoted in the lesson. He said that most public safety professionals do not look at cynicism as a problem, but instead it is how the world really is. I really started to think about this and can definitely identify people in my organization that have this viewpoint. If I am being honest, there were points in my career where I also had this mindset. It is an easy mindset to fall into. As a profession, we tend to isolate ourselves to socialize with only other law enforcement professionals. The shift work makes it hard to keep up with our normal personal life obligations. These factors only help cynicism develop. This lesson re-motivated me to make sure that I am not allowing myself to fall into this mindset. I will continue to intentionally make time for non-law enforcement socialization with those outside this profession.
Our former and current Chief very much agreed with Ellis (2017) “Public Safety is the ultimate customer service industry”. We must be proactive in the engagement, not only responding to calls when they have a problem they need us to resolve. This proactivity allows for more positive based engagement, where they don’t have a problem needing resolution and thus the ability to just speak, interact, and hopefully establish a rapport with individuals. This has greatly broken-down barriers that naturally exist between police and community members and we have found their willingness to contact us, for police and non-police reasons, has increased. This in turn has allowed us to proactively address situations that are not yet police problems.
Community involvement is really important to me. Yes we all like to do our own thing when we are on our off days. But for me I have learned that there are many people in our community that need our help both when we are on duty and off. My wife and I do many things in our community to help others, from delivering groceries to taking meals to people that need them. Do i do it every day? No, but when I have the ability to help others I always try to help.
This is something I need to work on. I don't live where I work, and I have a tendency to want to separate my off time from my time at work. You're right though, participation in the community and helping out when off duty is just as important, if not more so.
I think that now more than ever we need to be doing everything we can to improve relationships within the communities we serve. I'm a big believer in positive police contacts and building up the bank of trust. Every little thing officers do, from stopping to say hi, helping change a tire, stopping at the lemonade stand, giving community presentations, donating our time, etc... all go a very long way toward building that relationship. There will undoubtedly come a time when we have a negative interaction with someone in our community and the more trust we've built the better off we will be.
I agree you have to get out there and be seen as a real person. People need to know that we are the same person in uniform as we are out of uniform.
I agree Eric. I do donate a lot of my free time in the community, as well as the department I work for. We currently are playing in a summer volleyball league with the community. We also have several community engagements which I will explain in my essay.
Well said. Now is the time to build positive community relations. Due to the societal opinions surrounding law enforcement, we need to ensure we are reaching out to our citizens in a positive manner. Often I have to remind those under my leadership that this profession is not just about writing tickets or making the next arrest. There are a lot of other things we can do to have an impact on those we serve.
This was a wonderful lecture that should be viewed by anyone working in law enforcement. In Bossier parish we have what I consider to be an above average relationship with the community. In today`s times seeing what is happening around the country is so disheartening. After watching this lecture, it makes me wonder how strong the agency / community relationships are in many of these areas.
Having a meaningful connection with the community only enhances the service we can provide, which helps keep our community safe. As indicated in the lecture, it also has a positive impact on LE and their wellness. As a leader, it is important to promote healthy relationships with our community.
This module is very important to all officers not just leaders. I used to be consumed with work and constantly thinking about it. It was effecting my sleep, eating habits and relationship with my wife. I have learned that when I am not at work to shut it off. I don't check email while on vacation and i trust the people that i lead that they will do the right thing and get the job done. None of us are that important at our agency that it can't function if we are not there or available
Steve, I agree with your statement that is important for everyone not just leaders. I have also struggled at times to just turn it off. Even though I still check my emails, I feel that I am not as stressed all the time as I use to be.
This module is a great reminder that we are part of the communities we serve. We should embrace opportunities to engage in community involvement and enjoy being part of our communities. We shouldn't feel like we are separate and withdraw from opportunities to build personal and professional relationships with those in the community. The information Lt. Ellis presented on Cynicism is spot on. Many times we tend to develop a us vs. them mentality with those in our community and withdraw into socializing only with other cops. That withdrawal can have negative effects on our performance at work and in our emotional health. This was a great reminder to work on adding balance to your life and improving you involvement with the community.
I believe that community relationships are made strong when the community gets to spend time with leaders. Law Enforcement leaders tend to experience very hectic schedules which causes it to be difficult to mingle with the community. It has always intrigued me how much more the people of the community respond to the Sheriff rather than a deputy. Our agency has a "prayer breakfast" once a month that our Sheriff attends personally.
The topics in this module are extremely important in our profession. Unfortunately, all too often many law enforcement officers fall into some of these pitfalls throughout their careers. Avoiding social isolation is a must for us. We need relationships outside of law enforcement – it is a must. How often do you get together with coworkers at a social gathering, and what is the first topic of conversation? Something work related. Having an outlet that is not work related is healthy and will allow for strong relationships with loved ones and the community you live in.
Do I understand that my profession doesn’t define me? I make a point to step in during new hire orientation training classes to speak with our new deputies. I give them the standard pep talk, and encourage every individual to think about the following tips. Don’t forget who you were before taking the badge and commission, as it doesn’t make you superman. Don’t move on from your current friends and family members, as you will need them more than they need you. Don’t go home treating your family members the way you want to treat your inmates. They don’t deserve it, and we are quick to take our frustrations out on the ones we care about most.
I really enjoyed this module's pointed effort to highlight the need for balance in the life of a public servant, especially those in law enforcement. It explains the need for interacting positively with others outside of our law enforcement career, to become involved in the community where deep rooted personal values can be aroused and a commitment to continued education. These three tiers of personal growth and development can certainly help with one's perspective and keep the peace officer grounded, avoid cynicism and maintain a well-adjusted attitude so we can deliver the best service possible while on the job.
I agree. I think sometimes we think of balance as just being between work and family. It is important to be mindful of the benefits of having balance in other areas such as leisure time, fitness, and community involvement.
I have watched many young officers, enjoying the job, leave their old life behind because their new buddies 'get them'. The policing world is unique, we do deal with the dredge of society on a daily basis, however, the tricks to see how many times will deal with the good people who have just had a bad experience. Car crashes or the victim of burglary those people are still members of our community. Everyone wants to be treated with dignity and respect. Our families don't deserve our bad day, don't take the bad guys home to dinner, we should use our families to brighten the end of our day not bring them down with negative feelings from the bad guys, I have watched several of those officers I mentioned earlier have children and then get involved with coaching their kids. There is a profound change in them when they interact with family and friends outside work.
Law enforcement creating, forming and maintaining a bond with the community will show that the law enforcement officer is also a human capable of error as is everyone else. I think the community, especially with social media, thinks that law enforcement should not make mistakes. We are not perfect. Community involvement will also create a bond with the youth that needs to build stronger. Often the police officer has to act as the only person some youth can talk to, We need to keep and build that trust. Community involvement is necessary for law enforcement as well as the community we serve.
From The People, we the police are meant to be perfect for the victim, we are not perfect. From Hollywood, we are meant to be dirty cops on the take, but neither is true. We, the leaders, need to inspire our officers to remember Sir Robert Peel's: the public are the police and the police are the public. For good measure, practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.
I think community outreach programs are essential to have this good relationship. Also having deputies be more open to speak to citizens in a different scenario is beneficial. Programs such as School resource officers can be a great resource for patrol officers. SRO have established a bond with younger community members and can open doors to continue building bridges.
It will continue to be unique to see through law enforcement leadership classes how one treats another. Through sections 18-20, the conversation revolves around our guilty until proven mindset, yet our standard operating processes treat individuals as innocent until proven guilty. Sadly, this mindset is cancer that becomes a controlling process that infects our entire lives unless mitigated.
Like with the bitter type, seen in earlier modules, this mindset and its ability to draw others into the negative abyss promote the cynicism that pulls us from the positive path. The more we draw in through social isolation, to circle the wagons with defensive, angry, and suspicious people at everything will only promote this mindset that everyone is guilty first.
One of the points made in this lecture that resonated with me was the ability of community involvement to decrease our cynicism. All too often those in the law enforcement profession get lost in the fact that we deal with people at their worst and the worst type of people our society has to offer. It is easy to forget that the vast majority of the people in our communities are good and honest. If we make a point of spending time participating in community events, it goes a long way in renewing our faith in humanity.
Yes, whether it’s church, kid’s school programs, or a community event, we need to break free from cynicism and avoid social isolation by being part of community involvement. It will not only benefit our community by seeing us outside of the uniform and as a “regular person”, but will allow us to be a part of something other than law enforcement. We need to establish something in our personal lives to take part in community involvement.
Having a balance in the life of a police officer will save many lives. So often officers have no release from "the job" which puts them in bad places. Having non law enforcement friend is sometimes hard for the officer. Because the officer may not have non work related topics to talk about with his friends. An officer in order to socialize with these friends have to be able to separate from the job.
One of the hardest things I had to do was distance myself from other officers during off times. I could tell I was going down the path that was described in the lecture. Marriage changed it for me... I found a new best friend that wasn`t in law enforcement. A good home/ family life is so important for our health and sanity.
You are right. I try to limit myself with hanging out off duty with only cops. When I am off duty I really don't want to talk about work, but that seems to ALWAYS be the topics of discussion. I am lucky my wife knows enough but doesn't pry about things going on at work which allows us to separate and enjoy a good home/ family life.
I too have found myself having to do this. There are many who just can not turn cop mode off and are just draining. Sometimes distancing yourself from these situations is what's best for you. This may make for a awkward working environment but will benefit you and your family in the long run.
By recognizing the pitfalls that lead to cynicism and isolation, we can work at increasing our emotional intelligence living a better life. Both personally and professionally. This will lead to greater empathy and stronger community relations as well.
I agree that it is important to be aware of the pitfalls that can affect us, both on the job and at home.
Having the ability to work in a narcotics unit for a period of time I was able to connect with numerous individuals on a some what different level. I believe by being in a plain clothes position this helped me with some of the connections that I have made. I made it clear to new narcotics investigators that the ability to communicate with the individuals involved with narcotics related crimes is probably the biggest accomplishment that they will receive in that position. By having empathy for the individuals that we arrested began some relationships that have been in place for quite sometime. Not only when I need assistance in solving other crimes, but just reaching out to me to let me know how they maybe doing in treatment, or making a couple extra passes past the house of a loved one.
When balancing work and my personal life I always place family first and will never sacrifice family for the job. Currently tasked with leading a U/C crew where the work hours are always unique with additional added stressors, I stress the importance of family to all in the crew and always tell the crew that family comes first . Knowing your people is important; their birthday, wife's birthdays, anniversary dates, kids birthdays. With the priority being on family no one in the crew will ever miss an important date for their family. There is always a push by the crew to work but when the crews priorities are correct with family being number one then home life is better for them and the crew operates more efficiently and safer while at work.
I think your effort to drive into your team that family does come first is commendable and one that is often said with absolutely no follow-through when the chips fall. I strive to do the same for my team and I do see a concerted effort on their parts when we need something done at work, or someone needs a detail or duty covered for another, someone usually steps up to the plate. As an administrator, I need to balance the needs of the individual with the needs of the office and, sometimes, its tough. I have even stepped up to cover shifts (giving up my own time off) for others I supervise so they can have the time off instead. The best part is it does get reciprocated. We can preach to others that they need to have a balanced home-work life, but that isn't always possible without leaders like you. Thank you for your effort.
You are doing the right thing Shawn. Many times staff members get caught up in the job and the lifestyle. Families are neglected, and a troubled home life begins. Your thoughtful actions will build a strong bond with your team, and your team members will be building a strong home life. When important family moments are forgotten, it creates stress in the individual which will most likely spill over into team.
I think its extremely important that officers find ways to balance their personal life with work. I do believe that many police officers especially early in their career identify with being a police officer as who they are. While the career does become part of us because it is a calling, it cannot be all that you are, it’s unhealthy. Its important as the module taught that police officers have a personal life outside of the department, its also important that the department combats the cynicism that can hurt their culture. I personally like the idea of making sure newer officers work different shifts throughout their career so can have different call experience. Shift work can really seclude officers from the public especially for officers that work night shift. Suspicion versus awareness is also important point made during the module. We prepare many times in training for the worst-case scenario. This training is important, but we should always give people the benefit of the doubt. I worked with another lieutenant once that had the philosophy, he would rather let a guilty person go then lock up an innocent person. This goes to the belief of innocent until proven guilty. If the person is guilty the facts will prove your case.
I enjoyed the personal example related to lack of empathy from Lt. Ellis. He discussed how his approach with Eric may have saved his life. By taking just a few short moments allowing Eric to say goodbye to his mother prior to arrest Lt. Ellis made an appropriate personal connection with Eric that created significant results. This example reminded to take time to be a good listener and have compassion. We need to ensure that we are treating people with respect and dignity while still conducting the expectations of our positions.
I totally agree with your statement. I have found that having empathy for the people we may come in contact with during our work hours can have a drastic impact on them.
I agree. I used to not show empathy and i would get a lack of cooperation. I don't know if its through old age or maturity but i have totally switched. by showing empathy towards people I always wonder how many cops lives i have saved or reduced them getting seriously injured. Just because someone does an act that is wrong doesn't necessarily make them a bad person or not to show empathy and or respect
This was an important message and frankly, I fail at it too often. Work/life balance is a hard one because we're so "plugged in" to our work. Texting, email, phone calls, etc. The key points I took from this module were having empathy and not forget that it can play in our favor as the lecturer indicated by his story of the fleeing suspect. Treat everyone how you'd like to be treated, that's an easy one but hard to live out sometimes. As I get older, I realize that "the bad guys" aren't necessarily all bad, they just make bad decisions and we often do think about the root causes. For example, the drug addict/dealer; many have turned to substance abuse to mask their underlying issues of past physical and sexual abuse. They are people.
The other area where I have struggled in the past is being too cynical. This does come out in family life and time away from the job. Viewing things through a negative eye on the job is hard to let go of when interacting in your private life.
I think many of us have fallen into this trap. We do not spend enough time as leaders with new officers explaining the importance of work/life balance. I can remember how much overtime I worked as a young officer not because I was forced to but because I wanted to. That can take a toll on a person over time.
We are the community. We along with our families live in our community. It is important to be transparent and open and community fully with our community. The foundation of policing is to protect and serve. If we do not serve every day then we have failed in our duty as police officers. We have to communicate with our citizens so that they understand that we are here for them. Taking the time to speak with a neighbor and answer questions that they have about work or little league or how to trim a shrub, lets them know that you are a real person. We should remember how big an impact we actually have with a conversation.
It is crucial to the law enforcement professional to create some type of balance within their life. We must understand the emotional and other pitfalls that is easy to fall victim to if we are not self-aware and seek self-improvement along with balance. We have to work to humanize our profession. We should seek out positive community involvement wherein we can contribute in a positive way outside of our profession. We should focus on being a good citizen, work at our emotional intelligence growth, family well-being, better relationships, and overall life balance.
I agree, it is easy in the professional to self isolate or only hang out with those who serve. This makes it easy to become jaded and see everyone as a "bad guy". The more community involvement I have allows me to see the good in everyone around me as well.
Some of the best advice I ever received was years ago in the police academy. There was an old school LT over the academy. He told us that it was imperative the we had friends and hobbies out side of law enforcement. That Lt had me report to his office about three years after I graduated the academy. He asked how things were going and how I liked police work. He asked me to name five friends (not family or relatives) that were outside of law enforcement/public safety. I could only list two. He asked me to try harder to have a balanced life and to work on having more relationships outside of law enforcement. He retired shortly after that.
Lt. Williams showed up at roll call about a year later and asked to speak w/ me afterwards. First thing he said was, "were you able to get those last three friends?" I did and I thanked him for caring and sharing with me. I found out later that he did that for EVERY officer that graduated from my academy class. All 42 of us!
Absolutely we need influencers outside the profession. Too often we cling to those whom we understand. I have tried to bifurcate my professional and personal life for many years. If we work and play with co-workers, do we wonder why we can't find balance. I purposely don't "talk shop" off duty. Family and friends know this about me and have honored that desire.
Leadership amongst the people you work with in your organization can sometimes be just as important as leadership with the community. Building a positive relationship with community members will most likely take a lot of time and it will be a process, but it can be done. Community members often work the same as employees where trust has to be built and as a leader you have to make it clear what your intentions are. If they can learn to know and understand that they mean well, a positive relationship will hopefully develop. A positive community relationship is more important now than it ever has been.
Agreed Kari. We have to continually work for positive community engagement. It really doesn't matter what it is, in my opinion, it just matters that we are doing something. Find ways to show kindness and selflessness. We're fighting a tough battle among political and media sources, it's way too easy to give up.
I felt this module was a great reminder to us that a lot of help comes from the neighborhoods we foster. The people that we interact with positively and regularly are the ones not afraid to provide information or stand up for the right reasons. Also, the more we communicate with the people the more both sides can understand each other’s point of views. I’m fortunate to live in a county that has tremendous support for law enforcement, and we have several different forums that allow open communication and interactions.
The module was also a good reminder that our family comes first and in addition to socializing with our cop friends, we need to branch out. I’ve read Kevin Gilmartin’s book Emotional Survival for LE and it is a very good, easy, and short read. Almost written in crayon…would definitely recommend it and I’m not a prolific book reader.
This module is great refreshers on making sure we have work-life balance. There were several key points presented that I will undoubtedly use with my newer officers who need to be reminded that this job does not define who we are!
Don't forget where you came from, right? The badge and gun do not define us. It's an important job but after we're gone, someone else is there to assume the void we leave. I say this every time someone retires, it is sad but true. Our legacy is important but so is our lives. Find the balance.
We all know cynicism is wide spread in every agency. Hearing about certain causes and how to combat it was enlightening. Making up for one bad interaction with five positive ones is a losing battle with cynical team members.
Over the past several years positive relationships between police and communities have become very complicated. Their is a need to bridge the gap between communities and police but, the social media has created a tarnished image for law enforcement officers. Relationships within the communities help police in policing effectively. The community has answers, but there is a lack of trust and fear of officers who are out here to protect and serve. However, having a positive relationship and image goes beyond duty. Officers should also have a positive relationship with people of the community off duty. It's a good idea to engage in community events and activities off duty.
Giving the community a chance to see us a people instead of an organization can go along way to building those bridges.
I have worked with cops who surprised me by their way they conducted themselves on and and off duty. One person (who is now retired) told me that they used to get mad at kids/families who would disturb him while taking break at restaurants. Not a great message to send. Another officer I knew would eat, sleep, and breathe police work. The officer's wardrobe consisted of Glock t-shirts and anything made by 511. When off duty he would watch cop movies and cop television shows all the time. I believe a balanced life guided by Sun Tzu's five characteristics would have helped both these officers become more well rounded and less jaded.
I agree with you on living a balanced life guided by Sun Tzu's five characteristics would likely have helped officers whom I have known throughout my career.
I really like this module. It emphasized the need to have the very important relationship with our communities on and off duty. I am fortunate to work in an agency that does. The relationship we have built with the business on our beat, the hotels and schools have been the saving grace during these tumultuous times. They have rallied behind our agency and have shown full support. Our agency adopted a school where officers have a lot of visibility, they go read to students in uniform, help out during holiday parties and participate in fun runs with the school. During COVID-19 the officers have still been able to connect with the classroom kids via zoom. This has extremely rewarding for the officers knowing they can still make a difference.
I also believe that in our personal lives, being engaged in the community is critical and rewarding
Working in a negative environment really takes a toll on our humanity. We disconnect from society because we think that social isolation is a defense mechanism, a way to control our little corner of the world. This attitude destroys our relationships both at home and in the community. It evolves into apathy and cynicism and makes our jobs more stressful. Cynicism is corrosive and eats away at all the good things in life. Finding balance starts with allowing other people to be a part of our lives and getting involved in our communities. When we have positive outlets and surround ourselves with positive people, we lead more fulfilling lives and build safer communities.
Great module for reminding us of the importance of community involvement. As the module explains, being involved in your community doesn't mean that it has to take a lot of our time, we don't have to sit on a board of directors or anything like that, we can just simply be in tune with our own neighbors. We can build strong relationships and humanize the profession by simply walking out our front door and being involved. This is something we can all do very easily....
I agree Kelly. It doesn't require a committee nor does it have to be documented on Facebook/Instagram every time either. I know we publish as much good as we can to counteract the very few negatives, but sometimes it tends to look like we are trying to hard to say "look at me" rather than doing it for the right reason. We had a squad sergeant that would take his squad to disadvantaged neighborhoods on their off days and help the older people in the community clean up or fix broken stairs/ramps. Never said a word that they were doing it or looked for the praise. It had a profound impact on both sides of the badge as word slowly got out on its own. That sergeant felt the people that needed to see it, saw it.
Be a good neighbor....When we leave work, leave work. Is their a need to carry 4 knives, 2 guns and Tq's while off duty. As leaders we need to stress this to our people. I completely agree with you Sgt. Lee, be a good neighbor.
As a senior leader, I am constantly looking for best practices when it comes to community oriented policing. When I first read the overview of this presentation I expected one thing but got something even better. How we interact with our communities starts with each of us. Understanding how important it is for us to be in and a part of the community on a personal level is critical. I think Lt. Ellis's emphasis on the ways we "disconnect" from the community and our personal relationships through cynicism, tunnel vision, suspicion, and lack of empathy is the first step to bringing balance to our personal and professional lives. Many of the previous responses mention how easy it was to socially distance ourselves from others when we first got into this business. If we are going to make the transition to guardianship (which stresses the wellbeing of both the officer and the community they serve) we have to find ways to reconnect with our personal relationships, peers and community members. It is imperative that this process start with the onboarding and FTO process. It is also incumbent upon seasoned officers to share their experiences (both good and bad) with new officers because whether they believe it or not, new officers look up to them.
This was a great module reminding us all of the importance of community involvement for both personal and professional enhancement. It is important for us to feel connected to the community and the same for the community to feel connected to us as human beings. It was an important statement that it takes 5 positive interactions to contact act a negative. We in law enforcement are human and mistakes will be made. We need to building up that positive bank of interactions to counteract those unfortunate times a negative interaction occurs. Having that bank of positive interaction and trust built in the community, the community will react with more understanding because we have that positive connection and trust built.
Kelly, I agree with you. Having different interest and friends out side of work definitely helps reduce stress. It helps to have different conversation and not everything centered around shop talk. It is always good to re-charge batteries and have a fresh start at work. Work life balance is critical. I am guilty of not balancing that very well.
Great points Ryan. Having positive interests outside work is crucial to build up our positive bank.
Getting involved in the community is important and making those interactions to be positive. It stated that it takes five positive interactions to make up for one negative interaction.
Having a outside life is an important thing. We tend to surround ourselves with shift work and hanging out only with others in our profession. It is easy to only go from work to home and that's it.
I have found for myself that getting more people involved in my life outside this profession has helped me greatly reduce my stress and "re-charge" over the weekend to return to work. I too heard the comment about 5 positive interactions are needed to make up for one negative interaction. That is kind of scary to think about in the fact, some people have lots of making up to do.
I agree with you. Personal time is very important in this profession. We must remember that we often spend more time with those on the job than our families. So taking as much time with family and friends is paramount. The job will consume you if we let it.
I'm fortunate enough to be in patrol. When I go home, I can take off the gun belt and forget about the job until I return. When I was in CID, I was always working. Even when I was off, I was mentally working cases.
I appreciated the focus of this module on life balance. Too many officers struggle because their life doesn't display balance. Wether that's working too much, not having positive relationships with individuals outside of law enforcement, or not practicing total wellness. Cynicism is something that takes its toll. We need to understand that not everyone out there has some nefarious motive. I continually find myself distrusting people or thinking that they are trying to take advantage of me or others. We need to recognize that being cynical will only prove to be harmful to ourselves and work to find the good in people.
A lot of the suspicious behavior is a defense mechanism due to an inability to not taking offense. Too often, people become offended over simple things that were not a big deal or were not the other person's original intent on retrospection. Learning to take a step back, remain grounded in one's values and beliefs, and dismiss things that do not affect oneself goes a long way in countering the development of us vs. them mentality.
Great module on the importance of being a positive influence on our community. While I completely agree with that, I was glad to see some emphasis on the benefit to the individual officer as well. I have taken courses about wellness, teach some wellness, serve on peer support, etc. yet I still struggle and often find myself socially isolating. I know it is bad for me but I would much rather isolate at home than go out into public - there are other people out there!!!
I completely understand. I feel like this practice of being socially distant because of covid has helped me to further enhance my anti-social personality. I joke about it but I actually really enjoy being by myself. I need to recognize that positive relationships with friends, family, and neighbors, will only help me to live a more balanced life.
I literally burst out laughing when I read you post about enhancing anti-social personality because I have fallen into the same pitfall of social isolation. I even brought my husband along with me. In fact, we both joked about social distancing early on when COVID shut things down because we felt it would not affect us that much being away from the public. I now realize that I need to make an effort to connect with people in my community for the same reasons you mentioned.
This module comes at a great time. It's no secret that law enforcements relationship with it's community is fragile. All too often we turn on the TV and are exposed to another police involved incident typically followed up by interviews with citizens, law makers, community leaders etc... talking about how the police messed up and how the outcome of the situation is somehow our fault. Yes, sometimes police do make mistakes, big mistakes...and those mistakes have consequences. But all too often the blame seems to get projected onto those that wear the uniform. being exposed to this constant barrage of media about negativity has tremendous consequences for the officers and their well being. For these reasons this module was a good refresher on the pitfalls of cynicism and conflict. It was also a good reminder to turn off social media for a while and get back to regular personal interaction with people in our community, the vast majority who support what we do.
I agree Ryan. There are times turning away from social media and news media and focusing on actual personal relationship is a much healthier endeavor.
I agree. Specifically to focus on the personal interaction that forms human connections and sincerity. If people can form that connection then it is when people can sincerely have conversations about differences and issues. In this relationship I feel we are much more effective at coming together and creating a positive outcome.
This module was a good reminder of the importance of having a life outside of the job. When I first started this profession many moons ago, it was typical, and expected that on your days off a portion of that time was spent with your fellow teammates. These activities frequently involved alcohol. Fortunately, I was able to separate myself from this type of camaraderie and focused my time off on my family. I saw quite a few of my colleagues continue down this path and there were some that ended up losing their careers because of their actions that involved alcohol.
Community Leadership requires all peace officers to understand their role in their communities. Public safety professionals must maintain a healthy balance between work and their personal life. This allows public safety professionals to effectively engage in community activities. Officer are representatives of their agencies and themselves. We all have a responsibility to serve our communities on many levels such as education, cooperation, participating in community outreach programs and also enforcement. We have to demonstrate empathy and be servants to enhance maintain public trust. Unfortunately, even with community leadership, we can’t completely undo the “us vs. them” mentality. Officer can perpetuate the “us vs. them” mentality when they mistreat the members of the public. It is important for us as leaders to always foster an attitude where officers feel part of the community on and off duty. It is important to take the time while on duty to learn about the public in the community we serve. I agree with the lecture that law enforcement is the ultime customer service profession.
This module was a great reminder of how important being involved within your community and external organizations is to survival as an LEO and a family. Being aware of the pitfalls of problem behavior is critical to addressing their manifestations within, and learning new behavior to circumvent them in the future.
This module was about community leadership and involvement, but I think just as equal was its focus on Officer Wellness. It was clear that we have to be right with ourselves before we can fully contribute positively to the community and people we serve. It was good to see how big of a role that cynicism plays in this equation, as it is very easy to fall into the "Us vs. Them" mentality. I think its an even more important discussion to have now with the current focus on the role of Law Enforcement. We can be our own worst enemy if we perpetuate the negativity, and we must remember that the silent majority do still support us- let's not be the one to change their minds against us by our actions or attitudes. I was glad to see the comment about "It takes 5 positive interactions to make up for 1 negative interaction. Great reminder that we need to be professional and model the behavior that we want to see back. I thought this was a great module at an important time for our profession.
I agree Jim, this module couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. You raise a good point about how we can become our own worst enemy with a snowball like activity of cynicism, that’s something I didn’t think of
This particular model discussed the importance of community leadership. It talked about having a healthy balance between work and community. I 100% agree that finding that balance is extremely important. It is important to be involved in your community away from work and for our citizens to see that when you are not at work you are a citizen just like them. If they see that side of you it will be easier for them to approach and talk with you and relate to you. This can open up those important conversations where you can provide education on what it is that police officer do. By doing this we can gain support. This will be a benefit for when law enforcement is going through tough times they will stand beside and support us. Also, having a happy balance between work friends and friends who are not involved in law enforcement so that we get a different perspective on life. I have really worked to expand my friendships outside of work over the past few years.
Community involvement and community engagement plays a vital role in the relationship that a community has with it's police force. This module does a great job discussing the importance of community leadership. The agency I work for encourages its personnel to engage with the communities they serve. I think it's important that we develop these community relationships while off-duty as well. Like Lt. Brian Ellis discusses, this helps humanize our profession to members of the community. Now more than ever it's important to avoid a cynical way of thinking. Our profession is under constant attack from the media and if we don't go out of our way to educate the public than we are reinforcing negative viewpoints through our inaction.
I agree with you on now being the time we need to avoid being cynical and to humanize our profession. The best way to combat the constant attacks from the media is to educate the public ourselves like you mentioned. And you're also right on needing to engage off-duty as well.
This module discussed the importance of balance in both our professional and personal lives and how community involvement creates positive relationships in order to gain respect and trust in our communities. One of the key objectives I took from this module was combatting cynicism by using expertise to assist others. Developing relationships with our neighbors and members of the community both on and off duty is key, as we are not only looking out for the welfare in our neighbors, we are depositing trust and confidence back to our profession. There is never a bad time to educate others about our profession so they have a better understanding of what our job entails. It's also important to reach out to our young people to create positive relationships to show that what they see on the news, or hear from other people, is not accurate about law enforcement. I try my hardest to stop and interact with young people to educate them of our profession, or just to simply play catch with the football. "When you’re open to them, it provides real value to our profession as a whole."
I agree with your comments. It is even more important during this time to interact with our communities because of the negative mindset towards law enforcement right now. If our community sees us in a different light, as a citizen, I think they will feel more comfortable interacting with us. It will help in getting rid of the us versus them mentality. Giving back to our communities is just as important as policing them.
Nice post. I agree that community relationships are essential. The transparency and dialog are key to gaining cooperation and support from the communities we serve.
Mitchell, I was also intrigued that combating cynicism could be done by engaging with the community and showing them the human side of an LEO. The way you describe taking an opportunity to influence members of your community is inspiring and much needed right now.
Being involved with our communities should be a priority for all law enforcement agencies. In our agency the largest program that surrounds itself with the communities for children is our juvenile division. The summer program is paramount to our younger generation. The Sheriff sponsors a camp every summer for boys and girls. It is one of the many programs that is ran by our agency. The youth of our parish really looks forward to the programs ever year.
I think that's great that your Sheriff sponsors a camp every summer. The Sheriff's Office I work for sponsors a youth fishing event every year and encourages staff to participate by fishing with the local kids at this event. I agree that being involved in our communities should be a priority.
Community relations is a big priority for my Sheriff's Department. We have a Special Services division, which sets up several community programs. We have several programs for juveniles as well. These programs have helped us maintain the public's trust and confidence.
To maintain a healthy balance between work, family, and community life we must avoid the pitfalls and work harder to master using emotional intelligence. My agency goes the extra mile by engaging the public in how the Sheriff’s Officer operates. Most of the officers that work for our agency live in the community and are seen as a citizen just as equal as an officer. Leadership training has strengthened our core values.
One of my old agencies made community involvement a requirement to achieve a promotion. As your rank climbed so did the requirement to be involved with the community. Community leadership, done right, is what makes or breaks a department. If you don't think so, just look at the turmoil around the country. Here is Louisiana we have had police involved shootings and no one is trying to burn down any police agencies. We do a good job with understanding that the community is us and we are the community. Strong personal community relationships with fair and inclusive policing is what we all should be striving for.
this is true, We as an agency really do a great job. Whenever I am at a detail or just in a store a citizen of our parish will always thank us for the great job we do.
With the knowledge of this module, the officers can then embrace the community. Not only will this increase our effectiveness as law enforcement officers, but also as citizens and family members as well. We also must live and appreciate our lives in order protect and serve our community.
I agree. It is important to interact with the members of our community to develop relationships and gain trust from those who expect a lot from us. Just those small interactions can pay dividends in so many ways.
While the module covered a wide area of topics, dealing with our personal well being to our involvement with the community, on and off duty, I believe that the most important is the need for a balanced life. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not the person to give advice on this subject, if you look at mine. Working in a smaller agency, most of us wear multiple hats to accomplish out mission.
Understanding this, our officers need to have down time. I do know a few that they work, go home and sleep. They are not the rule, but most do not have that balanced life. We have those that try, too hard, and come up short. As I stated when we discussed earlier about secondary employment, as long as officers are not paid a living wage, commensurate with their life, officers will seek to make more money, to support their families. This is what I see, many times, that sabotages the officers' efforts. Prior to the Covid-19, I saw many officers that would work almost every day to pay the bills. Those that did not work details, for the most part, would get into a side business to make extra money. You do have officers that do not work details and have curtailed their spending, in an attempt to seek that balanced life. I wish these officers the best, in their quest for a balanced life, as well as myself. This is what I would refer to as one of my greatest weaknesses.
This module reminds us to not take every single event we respond to as a bad encounter or could become a negative experience. Being able to let down your guard enough interact with the people we engage while still using common sense officer safety can be uplifting. Use your EI and empathy to speak to citizens and help when needed. Use events to meet with our staff and meet each member as much as possible. Provide a dialogue and path to engaging with some dialect.
Mike, you are correct. I loved getting with my guys and telling them we were going to do a foot patrol in certain areas. They were nervous to be away from their units at first, but when they saw how much fun it was and how the residents loved spending time with us as we walked made all the difference. Seeing a real person walk by instead of just a head in a car means the world to people.
Building relationships by utilizing EI and allowing your guard down at times in the community will enhance a strong foundation to better police the areas in the future.
I remember back when I first started my career in law enforcement. One day while working at one of our corrections facilities, I was talking with one of the inmate workers. This particular inmate had a brother who was a sgt. with our agency. The inmate told me that this job was going to change me, just like it had changed his brother. I remember telling him I was too old (32 years old at the time) to change and that I was pretty much set in my ways at this point in my life.
Looking back after 15 years, I admit he was right. Without me even realizing it was happening, I changed a lot from who I was over the years. I can relate to a lot of the information provided by the instructor. Year of monitoring my surroundings, reading peoples body language, etc. Before long, I found myself only socializing with my fellow officers.
The teachings of this module are fundamental for leaders to utilize in building reliable police and community relationships. The need for balance between our professional and personal lives is significant and something we often neglect. If our lives are balanced, we can respond to situations at work with the proper emotional intelligence to correctly solve the issues.
Community relations, staying active in the community as well as keeping lines of communication open build trust between law enforcement and the community.
Our agency is kind of unique because our primary patrol responsibility is what might be considered a recreation area. The hurricane protection system or levees are utilized by hundreds if not thousands of people everyday for exercise and recreation. This alone gives us that many chances for positive personal interaction. My Sergeant ( a graduate of this course) and I have started reminding our guys of this. Suggesting that they waive to the runners and walkers. If someone is sitting on the ground, to stop and ask if they are alright and offer a bottle of water (we all carry at least a case of water provided by our agency). It's the little things that begin to develop into the big things that just may get us out of the quagmire that we find ourselves in. Great and insightful module.
Even after so many years later, the five qualities necessary for all leaders, as written in the book The Art of War by Sun Tzu are still very applicable and pertinent today. Though the word benevolence is rarely used or said these days, I find it both interesting and insightful that in a book about war, this traditional word is respected in such high regard. We as community leaders would be wise to learn from those in the past and apply such nobility to our cause such as benevolence, the third essential virtue to leadership, as recorded so long ago.
Community outreach programs are a must to get the community involved in their own public safety. We must rely on each other to make sure that our communities are safe. By having positive interaction with he community we strengthen our bond. Our interactions generally is when someone needs assistance. These outreach programs will allow our interaction to be more humanized and not the conventional interactions.
The portion of the module that discussed personal and emotional health is so important for us in law enforcement. We are light years behind the corporate world relative to this. I have a brother whose company has week long seminars that teach and push this topic, as studies have shown for years that if their employees can maintain a balance in their work/personal life, as well as maintain a healthy lifestyle, the company will benefit long term. It is proven that a healthier person can maintain a stressfull job better than one who does not tend to their physical and mental well-being.
I think in order to enhance community leadership we must show empathy to the citizens. It is important for us to meet people where they are to foster trust and respect.
I agree because of the uniqueness of our patrol area of responsibility, we have the opportunity to interact with hundreds if not thousands of people everyday. A waive, a greeting a smile can go a long way.
Very true and trust/respect is very important for our profession, especially with all that is going on in the world the last couple of years.
I really like how Lt. Ellis talks about personal balance in this module. I think we often get to wrapped up in our jobs that we neglect time to ourselves. The stress of the job requires us to make time for physical fitness, for family, and for friends outside of law enforcement. I am guilty of mostly having friends involved in law enforcement.
Most of us only associate with those that will understand us.
I've experienced the value in our community outreach programs that our agency hosts.
In reading to preschool children, a few have shared that one of their immediate family members were arrested; our positive interaction with them humanize law enforcement and makes officers appear friendly rather than threatening. It also reinforces the message that they can come to us if they need help.
Our Citizens Academy allows citizens to meet officers from every major department within our agency to better understand why we operate the way we do; this helps foster trust, credibility and two way communication. We have invited members of the community who have expressed distrust with us to attend and learn about our operations, and the individuals within, and to experience it for themselves. At the end of the 10 weeks, many miss our sessions and contact us to keep in touch. In turn, when they experience problems in the community, they are willing to contact me with information, trusting I will use it to do the right thing.
Agree with your assessment, especially with our current climate, it is imperative to get a trusting relationship with the public, young and old. My department also has a Citizens Academy, which teaches the public all about law enforcement. I also teach the Investigations portion of the Citizens Academy, but unfortunately the majority that attend are there because they already respect law enforcement and want to show their support. I still believe it is a great public relationship builder, but I only wish the ones who truly need to learn what we go through will never attend anything like this.
Giving back to the community is very rewarding. I have volunteered with the local fire department for my entire career. Great comradely and friendships resulted from this commitment to serve. I recently joined another charitable organization to assist others in life. This sense of good deeds done for others helps me feel like I am giving more back to the community than I take from it.
That is awesome. The citizen's will trust and respect you when you are in uniform because you have humanize yourself.
Being involved with the community is one sure way to help with modern-day policing. As an officer, it is vital to be involved so the community doesn't look at just another officer but as a friend. the only way to be considered a friend is to show yourself friendly. When i first started my career, community policing was a must, this was always the key to solving any crime quickly, because of the relationship that was built.
When I was assigned to patrol , countless times we received calls for service in reference to kids playing in the streets. Numerous times if time permitted I would play basketball, football and even engaged in several races. If we can establish a relationship with the younger citizesn of our communities we build lasting relationships.
Lt. you are correct, building these relationships early on with youth will hopefully help change some of the perceptions others have on the profession. Bridging the gaps with our communities is so important.
I've learned early in my career in the importance with community relations while working in Corrections. After years of interacting with arrestees and after their release as a district Deputy. I would run into these same people on and off duty with my family. I've always had a positive experience, they'd even update me on their life choices. Powerful moments. Very similar to the speakers account of chasing "Eric" and having him surrender upon seeing that officer who showed him kindness.
As we look at the events going on all over the United States, we have to be connected and involved in our community. Having those relationships with our community members is paramount to being successful when incidents happen in the city.
As I reflect as being a leader in our community, I am also reflecting on how we can show others that police, in general, are not bad, and we have are top cops and our corrupt cops.
I just wish that our partnerships would have stopped all the unnecessary damage and destruction to our communities.
I think we all wish that we could have prevented many of the things that plague our community. In a lot of ways, it makes you want to bring back some of those things from years gone by, even if the might have only existed on TV or in a Norman Rockwell painting.
We do need to reconnect with the community, on a personal level. I remember that there were several initiatives rolled out, in the 90s that were supposed to make us better neighbors. Many of these programs never got off the ground because too many of us thought that they were not broad enough. Looking at today's world, I wish we had done them all.
While we may not be able to bring back the old days, maybe we can make the old days into the new old days or good new days. We cannot control what will happen to our profession, but we can control how we deal with people and our neighbors, at work and at home.
Developing a strong community relationship is a must in the public safety profession. At the current moment in time, I see a great need for improved community relations for both patrol and investigations in my current agency. We are constantly fighting an uphill battle with everything from fleeing offroad vehicles to unsolved homicides all of which stems from a lack of community cooperation. This could be changed if we develop a way to engage the community and have them help and see that we are trying to help them. The ability to "humanize the badge" will help relationships and cut back on potentially dangerous situations for our employees and constituents alike.
Departments need to have community programs to help dehumanize the job. The public gets an insight into what we are trying to accomplish and how we are trying to help the community. Our department has numerous outreach programs along with a social media page, which gives the citizens updates on major police presence calls and burglaries in the area. I think making a positive impact with the community will build the trust that the community has for the sheriff's department.
Beau, I agree that making a positive impact with the community will build trust and credibility. I also agree that organizational transparency also helps instill trust and improves interpersonal relations with the community.
Community events with law enforcement is a really big deal. It allows the community to see law enforcement professionals on a different level. The community usually sees us as always doing our job which at this time can be a crisis in their life. Seeing us as having fun and being involved personally with the community allows the community to interact with us and ask questions as to how we operate within the community. It also allows us to ask the community what they need from us and what their desires from us are.
I agree that taking the seriousness out of every encounter and allow the public to loosen up with the officers. This can have great implications for the jobs when we do come in contact with them at a later time and must be in our professional manner.
The public seem to really enjoy the Night Out Against Crime events. They get to see us eating and interacting with their families in a relaxed environment. They get to see we are human.
We have a lot of community-related programs that promote the community and law enforcement working together. We also have several outreaches working with the senior citizens of the parish. Our sheriff is very accessible and communicates a great deal through social media, which the community seems to love. For investigators, it can be two-fold, because sometimes the information can be hurtful to the investigation. Other times you post a positive message and there are those who are just going to find something negative to flip the script on the positive. It's a double-edged sword in my opinion.
I agree, sometimes we put out too much information to try to get ahead of the curve. We have a significant community relation from the programs that our department does for the community.
It is important to have community related programs within an organization. It gives insight to the community we serve as to how we operate, how this benefits them, and how it benefits us to have their support.
I agree. The community needs to see us in a different way than what they are used to seeing. It allows the relationship between the community and the agency to understand how things operate and what is expected on both sides. We can also be personally involved with the community.
I agree we should try to be an active part of the community. With balance, we can then have healthy outlooks and better relationship with the community.
In our department we have a great relationship with the public. There is no doubt in my mind that the relationship we have with the public is a big part in why we are successful in solving many crimes quickly. If the public has trust in your department, they are much more willing to step forward with information to help solve crimes.
I feel we do need to humanize ourselves. It is very important to be visible and approachable. I always encourage officers to get out of the car and talk to store clerks. Over the years, I have gained a lot of intelligence of criminal activity from them. A lot of crime takes place around these stores and they witness a lot of things and are familiar with the regulars.
Community relations is what humanizes the badge
its a very good way to help crime solving efforts.
I agree that the simple things matter, like getting out of your patrol car and asking the clerk at the store; how are you? Just as employees want the supervisors to ask this. Our community wants the same thing from us and we need to take the little steps to show that we care.
I think having a strong community relationship can only help a department. It humanizes us and shows that we are people too and have families and struggle with some of the same issues they do. When you have that relationship, it is easier for them to understand what and why we do what we do. It helps them to better understand the job instead of automatically jumping to conclusions because of the unknown.
I agree when we have to be more involved with the community to help any department. this is one way to ensure the public that we are here with them and not aginst them.
It is often discussed that police organizations need to be involved in the community for the organizations benefit and the communities benefit. What is rarely discussed is the benefits the individual officer receives by becoming involved. His emotional IQ can increase, stress decrease and over all health become better. While being involved in the community helps humanize the badge it can also humanize the public to the officer. This can help increase their capacity for empathy.
Great observation Major especially the part of humanize the public to the police officer.
Excellent point! It is quite common for organizations to identify the benefits of involvement within the community. It is not often pointed out the benefits to the individual as well. In addition to the individual benefits, I can think of no better way to get buy-in from officers to get involved with the organization's community initiatives.
For years I had no balance in my personal and professional life. It was always work first. Just recently have I started to find a little balance. I should have done this years ago. I realized I am a better person when I maintain balance between the two. I plan to continue working on this
Craig, we have both spend our careers on shift work up to this point. Lots of nights spent with cops in a low socio economic area. We both have work to do in increasing our balance.
There is no way that a department can be successful without a strong, symbiotic relationship with the community. The community, and their safety are our only reason for being so we should always treat them as such.
This module appeared to be much like the Emotional Intelligence class we teach at our academy. We attempt to teach this to new recruits but often forget about those have been on the job for any number of years. I talk with my shift about some of these issues. I often see in new deputies, the need to belong is strong. They only hang with other cops and shut off the outside, civilian world. I did it when I first became an officer and it took a long time for me to make friends who were not in law enforcement once again. The perfect saying for this mentality is, “Sometimes there justice and sometimes, there’s just us.” This career and consume you if you let it. I believe if we stay vigilant and monitor our people to live a more balanced life, they will eventually be thankful for it.
In the learning area 3, module 8, we have to remember to become detach from the agency when it's time to have a personal life. Learning that you have to maintain balance within your agency and personal life is a very true point. It's so easy for us to lose ourselves in this situation, but if we maintain our balance we will not be apart of one of the statistics for suicide. It's true what Lt. Ellis mentioned in his lecture, that this job isn't just a job, this job is a calling. Not many can endure this type of work.
You are correct that we get lost in this situation. I believe at first its a survival mechanism for new officers to gain acceptance, but after a while you can't get out. It's like an addiction.
I agree, when I first started they used to beat the "us vs them, we are your family now" drum. Things have changed significantly, and for the better.
This is true. I can see how our jobs with a lack of balance would drive a person to suicide. I would bet that law enforcement officers who had a lack of balance are high on the list. Not all people can handle the stress of our job.
Not all people can handle the stress of our job is certainly an accurate statement. And, unfortunately, not all within our ranks can handle this job as well. This fact makes it even more incumbent upon each of us, fortunate enough to be in a leadership capacity, to reach out to all within our scope and lift others by our words, our actions and our example. Thank you for your thoughts!
It is so important also to be a leader in the community. It personalizes the badge and shows the community we have some of the same interests. It also allows us to gain trust and build bonds in the community we serve.
Lt., I agree with this method. Actually being out in the community symbolizes that we're not greater than anyone, it lets them know we are here to actually serve and protect you.
The descriptions and explanations of this chapter cover a lot of material I normally cover in emotional survival. The awareness of having interest outside law enforcement and caution of becoming cynical are two warning signs of the isolation that was described. I have a great relationship with my community and often feel that I receive much more from the community than I give. It is rewarding and empowers me to become more involved. I also appreciated Lt. Ellis' story about the criminal who was waiting in ambush but didn't do it because of previous interactions with Lt. Ellis. I have been in simular situations and seen the humanity of those in that situation break through because I treated them with dignity and respect previously. Not only is this emportant for the emotional survival of the officer and his family, but it is a win for the entire community.
This module was relevant to the necessity of staying community oriented and remembering that being a good citizen is just as critical as being a strong law enforcement officer. Great lessons in this module.
At my agency we take community leadership very seriously. We hold regular meetings with the community and HOA's to ensure their needs are being met. We try to instill community cooperation because without the community we can not effectively do our jobs. Our Sheriff places great value on community trust and understands that our community is who we answer to. Without their trust we can not survive as a department.
I was glad that this module touched on cynicism and how to combat it. As law enforcement professionals we must realize that cynicism is a default mindset that may come with dealing with the worst of humanity.
I module emphasized the importance of community leadership. This involves gaining and maintaining the trust of the community. I also found the pitfalls were spot on with how things has happen in the past.
This is a good subject on community. If we do not take the time to provide positive interactions with the community we are only left with the negative ones. They expect us to answer our calls and arrest people. What they should come to expect from us is being a part of the community.
I completely agree. In my jurisdiction it is not uncommon to be approached by thankful citizens who want to thank me or share a token of appreciation. Often someone pays for my meal when I am in uniform without me even knowing who did it. The trust and love shared with a community is irreplacible. I have friend who are officers in other parts of the country and they are in awe and jealous of what we sometimes take for granted.
As law enforcement officers, having a positive relationship with the community we serve is important. In order to have a safer place to raise a family and associate outside the workplace we need our community involved with policing as well. Establishing a credible bond allows law enforcement to do the job the community expects us to do.
I recognized some negative traits, nothing I am proud of, in myself during this lecture on Community Leadership. I have tried to combat cynicism with involving my-self with outside hobbies and organizations. There is most definitely room for improvement.
I agree with Lt. Ellis, where he mentioned that “we” in the law enforcement community need to humanize ourselves. I feel it is important that we take on roles in the community where we volunteer our time to show another aspect to who we are outside the uniform. This allows the public to see us from a different perspective, which contributes to our community relations.
I agree. Too often we shut ourselves off from the world. The community needs to have positive interactions with us.
I agree that we must try to humanize law enforcement and break away from the us versus them mentality. But we also need to ensure that we humanize everyone we come in contact with and not prejudge the communities we serve. Lt. Ellis talked about the Silent Majority in high crime neighborhoods. If we don't understand that there is a silent majority, we can arrive at assumptions that everyone in that area is a criminal.
This module teaches us about the importance of community involvement and how that can have a positive effect on our personal lives. Being involved allows you to get to know your community on a more personal basis.
This was a great module. We do have great programs and relationships within our community. I enjoyed the ways to combat cynicism.
I agree with you, Amanda, we have amazing community relations programs in our agency. The sheriff really goes above and beyond with community outreach.
As pointed out during this module, it is extremely important to separate work and away from work. So many only spend time with other law enforcement professionals. I think its a must to have friends that you never talk about work to at all.
With my shift, we do a lot outside of work. The one rule? We can't talk about work. It makes every get together so much more enjoyable.
Agreed, having time for friends, family and leisure time makes the career last longer. We can relax and enjoy our paths much easier once we choose to be approachable. Being social and interaction with your family and taking time off for personal enrichment provides longevity in your career.
In our profession, there is a need to separate work from personal relationships. A person can only talk about work things and law enforcement so much before it begins to take over personal relationships. As leaders, we must convey to our people that they have to have a home life, have balance, and have relationships outside of law enforcement. This not only helps our officers to avoid the pitfalls of the profession but allows them to better engage with the community.
As law enforcement officers, we are cliquish. I believe this is because we have a general distrust of the community. Even when we associate outside of work with our families we tend to ignore them and congregate among ourselves. While this does affect our relationships outside of work it has an breakable bond within work. Balancing this proves to be challenging.
I agree law enforcement is cliquish. It is important to have hobbies outside of the job and hang out with non-cop friends to bring balance to our life!
Dave you are correct. Balancing our personal life with the professional one seem much harder when I was younger. Now I relish my time with the community.
Absolutely! Too often young officers are so excited to start in the profession, that they make their life the profession; this is what causes cynicism, broken marriages, and high suicide and alcoholism rates.
Our agency is great with the community. We have community oriented programs for every age group. The Sheriff is very engaging and informative. He understands the importance of community involvement and he is very supportive. The division I command is comprised of mainly community programs for youth, which benefits the Sheriff's Office as a whole. Our programs allow the public to see law enforcement in a different light. We also have lots of collaboration from different organizations, agencies and church groups.
I can’t say enough how engaged our agency is with the community. Also, you are an example of how officers can get involved with the community. The programs you have created, the events you host, and all the things you do for the community are amazing. In my opinion, you do more for the community than any other officer does. Can’t brag on you enough!
I agree with Dave, Roanne.
The things you do for the children in our community cannot be talked about enough!
And, as you said, it shows us in a different light, which I believe has true, long-lasting benefits.
You are amazing Roanne and such a great role model for our youth!
Being involved in our community is extremely important. We can rely on them for assistance with investigations and other information. Also, in our parish, its a lot of how our salary gets paid, through their property taxes. I do believe we have a really good rating with our community. Our crime stats are low, actually the lowest they have been in years. Our community likes our Sheriff which helps too. He is actively involved in the community.
Laurie, I agree. The Sheriff is very community oriented and he is very well liked. Our agency is filled with positive community programs for everyone.
I agree, Laurie.
Our sheriff is active in the community which helps the community and the departments relationship.
The support and trust of our communities can be significant in our careers, especially with the world of technology and millennial generations. Our Sheriff utilizes the social network platforms to gather intel about the communities, provide clear and accurate details regarding criminal activity, and to promote safety and health precautions in times of need. This type of community outreach, while very entertaining at times, can also be a thorn in an investigation and cause unneeded “knee jerk reactions.” However, it is an effective way to communicate with the younger generations in the community and inspiring to see the support, strong beliefs, and trust the community has in our agency.
Yep, agree again Clint, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Sometimes it can help, but also it can be a hindrance. It specifically bothers me that we tend to rust as times getting these things out on social media. We are so worried about putting together something for a release, that if we just took that time to investigate we could announce an arrest by the time we get the release together.
I enjoyed this and module and agree that we have to deal with our cynicism and get it under control. We need to improve our community involvement and increase the trust.
I agree that cynicism is a big problem with community trust and needs to be controlled.
Since promoting to management I have had the opportunity to be more involved in the community both on and off-duty. This was a huge eye opener for me. It opened my eyes to just how cynical I had become over the years. Have positive interactions with the community earlier in an officer's career is vital to stem the tide of cynicism.
I agree. I think it is important to establish those community relationships so we can control the "them vs us" mentality.
Community relations is important within our police culture but is hard to effectively implement. My level of cynicism makes it hard to find the true value in community walks, for example, when we do no follow up or provide solutions past paper hand-outs for future problems.
I agree with you Judith, it is hard to deal with cynicism that lies within us. I think with a little effort we can improve our community relationships.
I agree, community walks have little affect in my experience as well. I think we can do more good with talking to the business owners and community leaders.
Community relations is an important part of law enforcement. The support of the community is vital during critical incidents as well as crime prevention efforts and intelligence gathering.
I agree Chasity...we can benefit alot by having our community involved during critical times. They may have information we need!
I agree, Chasity. The community can hold a wealth of information, especially about criminal activity. Citizens are law enforcement's eyes and ears when they are not present.
Building better community relationships should be a priority for every law enforcement agency. Law enforcement can not do their jobs without the backing of the community. This is critical in solving crimes. Law enforcement also depends on the community for support for raises.
Great point about raises. If the community you represent don’t have faith in the police agency, then asking to pass a millage or support an increase can have a negative effect. This can cause the officers to formulate a dislike towards their community.
Community relations is at the heart of law enforcement. As much as we prioritize calls for service, we need to ensure our police officers are integrating with the community. Off-duty integration component in this segment is crucial. As related, it is definitely a trust multiplier and can boost the public trust when they know a police officer is volunteering; not required to be at an event.
Your last statement speaks volumes. I agree there is a huge difference in volunteering versus required. Experience has shown the ones that grumble and gripe have the most positive community interactions.
This lecture provoked thoughts that I had not really considered much before - at least in the context in which they were presented here. My agency is good about focusing on community engagement and in fostering positive and collaborative relationships with our citizens and businesses. These investments in community trust have paid dividends for us throughout the years, but it is not something we can take for granted. This community engagement is a constant and ongoing process of investment. From a personal perspective, I enjoyed the way the lecture encouraged community engagement and being a good citizen with assisting law enforcement professionals with combating cynicism and the other negative impacts that a law enforcement career has on us.
Community relations is one area that my agency focuses on heavily. As a result, for the past several years, we have some of the lowest crime statistics recorded over the last 24 years. Community involvement relates to building a relationship that benefits law enforcement and the public it serves. The community that we serve is appreciative of the services we provide, and they support the agency.
Community leadership in the community you serve is necessary in order to accomplish our jobs. Without the community backing us and talking to us, it will make our job that much tougher. Being a community leader in your personal life to humanize our profession will only aid in allowing us to work. If the community sees us as law enforcement professionals with a human side, they can and will relate to us much easier.
I totally agree Jason. Social media has become a great tool to help foster communication with our community as well.
I agree that it is essential for us in the law enforcement profession to have a strong relationship with our community partners. Having a strong bond with our community members allows us to network in varying ways, which promotes growth for them but us as well.
Sometimes we forget that we work for the community. Our community involvement has a lot to do with how well we can perform our duties. If we continue to look at every person as a suspect we will never solve the issues that plaque the community.
It is easy to forget that we are a part of the community we serve. You are right when you say that "If we continue to look at every person as a suspect we will never solve the issues that plaque the community." We have to step back and take a look at ourselves and remind us that we are a part of the community.
I agree with you. Community involvement is vital to developing intelligence information.
I agree that we work for the community but also believe the community needs to help as well. They have the best access to our youth today and can make the greatest impact. It takes a village is true but should start at home.
I agree, far too many times we only focus on the bad instead of the good. At times, we stereotype as we start dealing with the kids of known offenders never giving them a chance.
Finding a balance of our personal lives and professional lives is constantly something we must practice every day. We must use this time as to show our compassion and humanize our profession to the community. When dealing with the community while on duty, I take the time to talk with people, and express to them that their contributions to the department are always welcome. Make them feel they are a big part of making our community safe. Building relationships with empathy, sympathy and investing in emotional health is beneficial in community relations.
That’s great community oriented policing Sir. We need to take the time to get to know our community members.
I agree, as a patrol officer it is important to get out and get to know the people in the area where you patrol.
The most interesting, and exciting concept that I took from this module, is the lecturer's argument that community involvement directly benefits an officer's wellness. We all know the importance of community engagement from the angle of understanding our constituent's needs, gaining the authority and partnerships that we rely on to carry out our duties, and humanizing the profession. But I had never considered the personal benefits that officers themselves would receive from such interactions, and now see the officer-citizen relationship as being far more mutually beneficial than I ever believed it to be.
I think we often lose sight of Peel's Principle. That the Police are the Public and the Public are the Police. We are simply those members of the public tasked with policing. It is important to have the support of the community, otherwise you are seen as an occupying force. We should take every opportunity to let the community get to know us.
I couldn't agree more that we are simply members of the community. Unfortunately, in today's world, we as a society love to apply labels and identities. Doing this pushes us apart because it highlights our differences, not our commonalities. In my opinion, we have so much more in common than not. But by assigning very distinct labels and identities to relatively minor differences and making it all about those differences, we create the illusion, both in our minds and in the minds of others, that we are miles apart.
Absolutely agree. In today’s society with so much negativity on police in the media we must take the time to interact with the same people we protect/serve and get to know them. In our department we use social media platform whenever we can to humanize the people of our department. As a supervisor on patrol I always tell our shift if they have time drive slow through neighborhoods and stop and talk when given the opportunity. They would be surprised of the information they can get and it builds community relationships. National night out is an awesome tool we use as well.
Wisely said Joey. As a police agency we need the public to assist us. We cannot be everywhere at all times!
I agree with your comments Joey. It is easy to forget we need the support of the community and fall into an Us vs. them mentality.
I love this...I have not thought of Peel Principle in a long time. I totally agree.
I agree. If we isolate ourselves from those we serve, they will not trust us. We must engage the community whenever possible and they will be there for us when we need them.
Joey, I agree completely. Without support from the public we are ineffective and the public will be working against us instead of with us. The community has to know we are one of them so that we can get their support.
This module is a great reminder for all of us to develop and maintain balance in our personal and professional lives. We all understand and deal with the stress from our profession in different ways. I have found that life-long fitness has been the key for me to control my stress and remain grounded. We must treat employee wellness and well-being very intentionally. We all know that suicide is the number one reason for the tragic loss of a fellow LEO. As leaders, this must be one of our main priorities.
The importance of community trust and support cannot be overstated. Our authority and power is given by the people we serve, can never forget that. To develop, build, and maintain community trust, we must view ourselves public servants, period. In the context of law enforcement, we must embrace the three pillars of community policing: prevent, problem solving, and partnerships. I would argue that community partnerships has and always will be the measure of our success.
I agree that community trust is extremely important. The breakdowns and protests we see across the country in response to police action is often the result of a lack of trust. Law enforcement must be proactive in developing and nurturing this trust on an ongoing basis.
Kyle I agree. Building that trust also allows us to openly communicate and educate the public on what and why we do certain things.
Not letting the cynicism creep over into out personal lives is often a challenge. I now completely understand about social isolation and how effort needs to be made to engage with others outside of work.
Joey, early on in my career, it was natural for a police officer to isolate themselves from the outside. When I first started in law enforcement, I distanced myself to the point that the only friends I had remaining were police officers. As the times change, the role has reversed, and I now find myself more engaged with those I do not work with daily. Community relations changed the way many agencies used to operate, therefore enabling us to see that it was a requirement to associate with the public in order to be effective in our jobs.
I agree with Joey and Drauzin. There was a time when it was perfectly acceptable for officers to socially distance themselves from others. It was part of the job and for new officers being admitted to that small, safe fraternity of peers was a right of passage. At the time, our profession did not know any better and it was perpetually personified in both TV and movies. But lets face it.. it was the time of the wheel gun and organized choir practices (I know I'm dating myself). Times are changing. Department's are becoming invested in officer health and wellness and the focus is returning to community oriented policing. We cannot be successful as law enforcement officers and law enforcement agencies if we are not uniquely focused both internally and externally. Our profession and our communities demand these changes.
We have multiple discussions about these issues with our new deputies during orientation. We encourage them to maintain relationships with others outside of work. We tell them to stay grounded and to get involved at their church, join a social club, or pick up a hobby. Anything to get them out around "normal" people.
This are very important conversations to have. Officers and Deputies should have friends from outside the profession to maintain a healthy balance. I still hang out with my non law enforcement friends. This allows me to see their views.
I believe this is a great idea however I have experienced that several of my non law enforcement friends have separated themselves from me since the start of my career.
Great comment! Maintaining a balance is key to being successful in and out of our LE role, and as leaders, it's our job to remind others of that important fact. I find that our newer, younger officers do better at this than generations before them.
Law Enforcement officers are Community Leaders who derive their power from community trust. We must focus on being better community leaders by focusing on positive interactions with the public. We are afforded several opportunities for these positive interactions, whether stopping to get a cup of coffee and having a conversation with someone standing in line or when you decide to give a warning rather than a traffic citation. There are several barriers to being truly effective community leaders, including our cynicism, tunnel vision, conflicts, suspicion, hyper-awareness, or a lack of empathy. When we achieve balance in our personal lives, we can break down these barriers and achieve better emotional intelligence and improve our community leadership.
Frank, very well said. We must mentor the servant mindset into all our people, or cynicism will create the us vs. them mentality, which is too prevalent in law enforcement.
Frank, I fully agree with you. There are numerous opportunities to build relationships that cost us absolutely nothing. Holding a door, smiling, greeting someone, active listening...they all humanize our profession. The uniform alone is a barrier, but showing that a human just like then is wearing it goes a long way in building collaboration and trust.
I believe that Community Leadership is important to have a "bond" with the community for the organization as a whole. Many times in Law Enforcement we ask for assistance in investigations that we have very little investigative leads. In those occasions without the support of the community those crimes would not be solved. The "trust" we build with the community helps out "image" and helps us in the future.
Monte, I agree it is difficult to be truly effective in our pursuit of criminal justice without the support of our community. This means they must trust us and desire to interact with us, feeling safe to assist with criminal investigations.
I agree Frank, without our community, we would not have our careers. People need to remember that we are here for them. We need them as much as they need us.
I agree, we are here for the community and took an oath to serve and protect them. If we do not build a relationship with them, then how will we know how to better serve them. With a good relationship with them, they will be the eyes and ears we need to help make the community a safer place.
Monte, I agree that community bonds are critical to law enforcement. We need the assistance of the community to perform our jobs effectively. Making those deposits of trust in the community can go a long way - especially when we have a critical incident that may otherwise reflect badly on our organization. Having the support and trust of the community can help us through these difficult times.
Monte, you are right we depend on the public for assistance all the time for investigations. Maintaining good relationships and trust with the community will result in a higher rate of solving crime.
I totally agree. The community are the eyes and ears of law enforcement. It is vital that law enforcement agencies build partnerships with the community to build trust and support. One thing we can’t forget is that even as public safety professionals now, we are members of our communities first. Without community support we can’t effectively perform our duties as law enforcement professionals. Great point.
This is certainly true. The community members see and receive information that law enforcement may never be aware of otherwise. Law enforcement professionals must be careful how they receive this information and be sure not to exploit certain sources. Often law enforcement fails to receive information because they fail to maintain the privacy of the source.
I agree Monte. We have to start with creating a better image and how communities perceive officers. This starts with leadership. Our department is big on community relations and that's a good thing. Overall, I think our department has a pretty good image and respect from the public.
I agree that community leadership is extremely important. With times being very trying right now for law enforcement and it often seeming like a lot of people have a hatred towards them, it is important to have community support and leadership. Building a relationship with the public should be a continuous process even once you have their trust and support.
I agree that Community Leadership is very important in building a lasting relationship between Law Enforcement and the community.