Four obstacles have traditionally (and presently) “arrested” the development of our nation’s police and prevented them from becoming the kind of police a democracy needs:
- Anti-intellectualism – Not understanding the importance or contribution of higher education and not requiring it as a hiring standard.
- Violence – Quickly resorting to the use of force when less violent approaches could be used.
- Corruption – Disobeying the law while enforcing it.
- Discourtesy – Failing to respect all people they encounter regardless of race, color, creed, sexual orientation, or station in life.
The way out of this debilitating situation is for the police to integrate and practice the seven improvement steps:
- Envision. Police leaders must cast a bold and breathtaking vision to ensure a distinguished future for policing.
- Select: Police must encourage and select the finest and the brightest to serve as police officers.
- Listen: Police leaders must intently listen to their officers and members of the community.
- Train and Lead: Police leaders must implement professional training and a collaborative leadership style.
- Improve Continuously: Police must unceasingly improve the systems in which they work–everything they do.
- Evaluate: Police must be able to critically assess, or have assessed, the crucial tasks and functions they are expected to perform.
- Sustain: Police leaders must be able to maintain and continue improvements to their organizations.
The end result is that communities in our nation will have police who can best serve a democracy such as ours. Men and women who are formally educated, carefully selected, well-trained, effective, controlled in their use of force, honest in their actions, courteous to every person, compassionate, closely in touch with the communities they serve, and led by mature, collaborative leaders.
This all begins with a breath-taking vision of excellence, followed by hiring the right people, and leading them wisely with the goal of sustaining the improvements that are made!
[For more, see “The Twelve Qualities of Police in a Free and Democratic Society.” (CLICK HERE)]