Law enforcement is a profession of humans, who interact with other humans, both within their organizations and out on the street. Humans are imperfect. Humans memory is flawed. Humans are subject to biases. Humans are impacted by stress and trauma. All humans are impacted by sleep deprivation. Humans are affected by internal and external physiological, psychological and environmental factors.
What is the point of all this? Too often in training we forget about the human and the factors that impact humans. We make it about the latest tool, gadget, or piece of equipment. We seem to be continually looking for ways to allow the humans we train to carry more stuff believing that somehow that will solve all our problems. When we focus on the stuff and neglect to understand and teach the human factors, we set both the humans we are training, and the humans they will interact with in the field, up for failure. And when they fail, we too often want to blame them for our failure to properly prepare them.
Humans are complex beings, and every human is unique. We recruit and hire individuals based on their character and experiences and the fact that their values align with the organizational values. We hire individuals because of the unique elements each of them bring to the organization and profession, and then some academies make them all shave their heads, beat the ‘individual’ out of them and teach them to act like robots instead of developing those individuals so they can perform at the highest level when they are out on the street working by themselves. It gets hammered into them that there is no ‘I’ in Team, neglecting the reality that there is in Integrity, Responsibility, Resilience and Accountability.
Retired law enforcement professional Chip Huth, who now works full time for the Arbinger Institute, has been advocating for years for us to “see people as people”. This applies to the people you teach, train, coach, and mentor, as well as the people they will interact with in the field. In the phraseology of this post the message is, “See humans as humans.”. Each of whom has their own hopes, dreams, fears, experiences, understanding, perceptions, insecurities, strengths, and weaknesses.
Always remember that you are part of a profession of humans. Allow yourself to be human and let the people you train know that it is ok to be human. As a human, the law enforcement profession will change you but it does not have to destroy you. Let them know that it is “Ok to Be Ok”, and if they are not OK that it is a sign of strength and courage to get the help they need as soon as possible.
As a trainer you are in the human business. You are not in the business of being a robot and training other robots. Robots can never replace humans in the law enforcement profession as they lack the ability to be human.
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