“Policing is a phenomenon, not a calling. Police officers are made. They are indoctrinated.”
Jason Mazeski Ed.D.
The above statement was made by Jason Mazeski Ed.D (a 16 year veteran of the NYPD) during his presentation at the 2023 ILEETA conference, and it has stuck with me ever since. In fact, I shared it during my presentation at the NAFTO Conference in June and will be sharing it in my Excellence in Training courses going forward.
Why did that one statement stick with me? Because when I heard it, I realized that it captured my experience over the last 43 ½ years in and around the policing profession. It also captured the impact of academy trainers, field trainers, in-service trainers, and frontline supervisors. I hear a lot of people talk about the policing profession being a calling, and talking down about those who come into it with the mindset that it is a job. Some of the best police officers and police trainers I have come across over the years came into policing because they needed a job and policework was a job that offered a pension, good benefits, and an opportunity to make a difference and get to do some cool and exciting things. Over the years it morphed into a career and for some it morphed into a calling. For some, the calling unfortunately morphed into an obsession and consumed their life and identity.
A short while ago I came across this quote from Ana Fabrega, “Intelligence is overrated. Great thinkers are built, not born.” It too stuck with me as I believe critical thinking, decision making and problem solving are all skills that can, and must be taught, built, and developed throughout people’s careers.
Rather than arguing against Jason or Ana’s statements, if you are feeling so inclined, take a step back and ask yourself, “If those statements are true, then what am I doing to help build the men and women I have the privilege to train into great thinkers and indoctrinate them in a manner that will help them to become dextrous, adaptive, problem solvers?”
Throughout our careers we have all been influenced by trainers, leaders, and bosses. As a trainer you are in one of the most influential leadership positions in the profession. Be very careful, intentional, and deliberate about how you use that influence. Think about influence with, not over. Seek to influence like a leader through inspiration, communication, collaboration, relationships, and human connection, rather than like a boss through intimidation, coercion, fear and power.
We also need to commit to the lifelong journey of making ourselves into great thinkers and dextrous, adaptive, problem solvers.
Winning Mind Training – Providing practical training to law enforcement professionals in the areas of instructor development, Performance Enhancement Imagery, leadership and mindset.