A question each Police Chief (and the rest of us) MUST answer.
Like you, over the past few months I have continued to watch America lash out at the law enforcement profession.
To say it sickens me to the core is an understatement.
Protests, riots, and much debate continues throughout this country with no end in sight.
What do we as a country need to do to move from protest to progress?
COLLABORATION IS KEY
Coming together as a country is going to be vital moving forward. We must be able to have tough conversations without lashing out at each other.
There are various opinions and different views on the topic of Police reform.
I ask you this: Is Police reform the problem or the solution?
To me, our problems and solutions run a lot deeper than police reform, however, based on recent events; it is where we MUST start.
Since the George Floyd incident, I have continued to offer my opinion on police reform via social media and personal conversations with lifelong friends.
Like you, I have discovered that some people have a very different opinion than I do on police reform. As such, I have been very careful to not engage in arguments with people who differ in opinion.
Sadly, I learned a hard lesson on how volatile this topic is from a young lady whom I have been friends with for years. Her opinion was so different than mine that she unfriend me on Facebook and refused to talk with me anymore based on her obvious hatred for the police and what she perceived to be my defense of them.
Unfortunately, as in most instances these days, most of her venom was about politics, not police reform. She decided to unfriend me, rather than continue the discussion.
The solution will never come if both sides of the debate don’t listen to each other. We need to look no further than the democratic and republican politicians as a perfect example of why things don’t get done in this country (that’s a topic for another day).
I have learned that EVERYONE has an opinion on police reform, yet NOBODY offers a solution. WE must focus more on conversations that lead to solutions.
During the aforementioned conversations with my non-law enforcement friends, I realized that not only did they NOT offer up a solution, they continued to vent their frustration about seeing NO change since the Floyd incident.
Another example is our professional athletes who say they kneel for the flag to bring attention to social injustice, yet they offer up no solution; they just continue to kneel and put slogans on their helmets, jerseys and sneakers.
Moreover, the NFL spent the first thirty minutes of opening night on Thursday night football highlighting more player protests. Not to my surprise, they were booed when they displayed unity and joined hands.
Why do you think they were booed?
In my opinion, the kneeling, protests, and rioting has worn out its welcome. 100 straight days of protesting is more than enough to bring attention to your cause.
I believe people are tired of being made aware and just want to see actions that lead to progress.
There is a difference between awareness and solutions.
I think we can safely say the topic of police reform has our attention. It is time to sidestep the venom and start conversations with solutions.
It is time for action!
TIME FOR SOLUTIONS
One solution out there calls for defunding the police.
How are we going to improve an organization by removing money from its budget? I can only say this one way, the change you are demanding is going to cost money.
The change you are demanding is going to involve a systematic approach from outside of the law enforcement profession.
That’s right, I said from outside the profession.
I retired from the law enforcement profession six years ago and have spent all six years learning how to change culture through the Practicing Perfection approach.
If I knew then what I know now, the DEA would have the best culture in the world.
Police trainers are some of the best trainers in the world; however, they do not possess the knowledge nor the expertise in transforming culture in a way that affects organizational change; they don’t.
Cultural transformation has never been a priority for law enforcement trainers. Rightfully so, the training priority has always been to survive a hostile situation.
Police training must now add a second priority, and that new initiative will cost money.
Therefore, we must FUND the police in so that funds are earmarked for MORE training.
Note to the NFL and NBA players: Put your money where your mouth and knee is. You keep talking about using your “platform”.
Well, use it this way:
Send “social justice” money to the police department in your city for culture transformation training.
Don’t you think this would be a good way to use your “platform,” rather than inciting division and anger from those who agree with you and do not agree with you?
Contributing to the solution with action will mean more, and impact the situation more than slogans on your helmets, jerseys, and sneakers.
To turn protests into progress, solutions need to be transparent. Each Police Chief must become an advocate for his team and the press.
The public needs to see what you are doing!
To rebuild trust between the police and community, Police Chiefs must become public relations experts and do a better job showing the public what they are doing internally to initiate the desired change.
SELL YOUR PLAN
This blog began by asking a question,
What ARE YOU Doing TO Make Things Better?
If you’re a Police Chief, what is your answer?
To move from protest to progress, YOUR answer must contain action and solutions.
Recently, I have seen a few Police Chiefs do a great job in building their brand.
A few examples,
New Haven CT PD Chief Otoniel Reyes (click here) and Bedford NH Police Chief John Bryfonski (click here) both posted brand building videos of their departments on the web to build trust with their communities.
Also, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced a partnership with Benchmark Analytics (click here) to implement its research-based early warning and intervention police management system as a critical first step in reforming department practices, accountability, and transparency.
A good first step by each Chief. However, I would ask each Chief, specifically Chief Medaria Arradondo, the following questions:
What are you going to do when the off-track behavior is identified? What type of training/mentoring approach do you have in place to correct the problem? More importantly, what is your pro-active long-term plan for ensuring off-track behavior doesn’t happen?
The answers to the above questions are the actions people want to see and hear.
It is time for ALL police Departments to become more pro-active and work on their culture before the problems arise, and to aggressively educate the public on what they are doing to positively affect the desired cultural change for long term sustainability.
I offered up a training solution a few months ago in a previous blog entitled: A Police Chiefs Guide to Organizational Change
Happily, the blog received rave reviews and many likes on social media from both my personal and law enforcement connections.
Sadly, nobody from the law enforcement profession reached out to me for more information.
It is time to act, or things will get worse before they get better.
I have a great starting point for each Chief to consider.
THE FIRST STEP
Effective transformation begins by understanding your starting point, and all progress begins by telling the truth.
As such, I strongly encourage all police chiefs to take a look at the PPI Culture Profile Process
The process provides an opportunity to ascertain the truth about the current culture of your agency or department and the teams within it.
The process offers metrics and qualitative insights in five key areas:
- Systems and Structures
- Openness and Awareness
- Error-Likely Environment
Rather than simply measuring team member engagement or satisfaction on one hand, or simply assessing systems and processes on the other, the PPI Culture Profile identifies the bridge between the two – HOW current cultural aspects of your organization (mindsets, perceptions, relationships & expectations) interface with work environment conditions and processes to generate your current work climate and levels of performance.
PPI has completed Culture Profiles for some of the largest private sector organizations on the planet. If you are truly interested in transforming your culture, this is the place to start.
If you would like more information on the PPI Culture Profile Process, please complete THIS form, and I will personally get back with you to see whether this is a good fit for your department.
Wishing you all a safe journey through these challenging times!