Today’s Thought of the Day comes from Jon Arnold, Golden West College’s Director of the Department of Public Safety. The article is from a law enforcement perspective, however the concepts discussed by Director Arnold are important and apply to all leaders. Courage, character, commitment, compassion and communication are critical to any organization’s and leader’s success.
The Leadership and Ethics Institute congratulates Director Arnold on this article. It will serve us all well.
|The Five Cs of Law Enforcement Leadership|
|By Jon Arnold, Director, Department of Public Safety, Golden West College, Huntington Beach, California
hen new recruits embark on a law enforcement career and begin their police academy training, they receive instruction on a variety of topics. These learning domains are designed to equip them in performing their duties and prepare them for the numerous challenges they will encounter in the field. They learn techniques that help them establish their command presence; develop ways to overcome fear, establish courage, and to properly “communicate” using the radio; and how to effectively communicate with the public and criminal suspects. As peace officers move in their career from line-level into supervision-, management-, and executive-level positions, leaders can be overwhelmed by complex demands including budget restrictions, personnel concerns, meetings with community groups, and other large-scale projects. While these tasks are important, leaders may forget that those topics that were so critical to learn as rookies may still have a significant impact on their performance as leaders of their organizations.
He commented on the importance of each trait as the rookie officer was embarking upon a new and very challenging career. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the brief mention of these traits resonated not only because they are critical to a law enforcement officer but also because each can be difficult to fully embrace as officers advance through their careers. Police chiefs who have been married for a number of years have seen how the daily challenges of children, school activities, housework, the mortgage, bills, and other issues have impacted their interaction with their spouses. While important, these issues can interfere with the level of commitment and communication displayed early in their marriage. Similar to a long-standing marriage, the chief’s priorities may change over time as higher-level projects may interfere with their recollection of the import of these earlier priorities.
While these suggestions are directed at a group of aviators who participate in various flight missions, they still hold true for police chiefs. The old adage is still accurate that “you don’t get what you expect but what you inspect!” By personally visiting all elements of the department and speaking with employees at all levels, chiefs can gain a better understanding of what is really happening and convey the message that they do indeed care about agency personnel.
The challenges for police chiefs are many and the list continues to grow. To be successful, today’s law enforcement leaders must have the courage to choose the right path and to make the tough decisions. They must possess the type of character that has been developed over time by dealing with difficult situations head-on and making the correct choices. They must make the commitment to the organization and the community to spend the time and energy to meet their needs and effect proper change. Leaders must possess true compassion and desire to steer their departments in the proper direction to achieve organizational needs. Leaders can accomplish these tasks by using proper communication methods to state their mission, determine if their message was properly understood, and provide further guidance and feedback to ensure effectiveness.
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