I have the pleasure and privilege of travelling across North America and speaking to law enforcement professionals on the subject of Harnessing the Winning Mind and Warrior Spirit. Many officers have been gracious enough to share their personal stories with me and I am continually amazed at the power of both the human spirit and the Warrior Spirit. I am also amazed at the strength, character and Warrior Spirit demonstrated by the families of those Warriors.
Last week I had the privilege of spending a week at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Leadership Academy. It was five days of hanging out with Warriors who embrace the philosophy of Reader, Writer, Thinker, fighter as taught by Bill Westfall (the primary instructor). The IMPD Leadership Academy and the people I have had the pleasure of meeting through it embrace everything that is good about the law enforcement profession. The Friday of Week 1 of the Leadership Academy (it is a four week program) is a Lessons Learned day where they spend a very powerful and professional review of the incident resulting in the murder of Deputy Jason Baker. I did not have the privilege of meeting Jason, but through the review of the call, listening to the audio of his radio transmissions, meeting his friends and meeting his father Jerry I know that Jason Baker was a true Warrior and the son of a Warrior.
This week at the IMPD Leadership Academy caused me to reflect on the philosophy of the Warrior Spirit. As I travel and speak on this subject I have officers from agencies of all sizes tell me that they cannot refer to their officers as Warriors or talk about the Warrior Spirit in their department. I am deeply troubled and saddened by the fact that somehow the term Warrior has become a dirty word.
The Warrior Spirit is about courage, honor, nobility, integrity, honestly, humility, compassion, empathy, and professionalism. Being a Warrior is about service, passion and commitment. It is about the commitment to always be better tomorrow than you are today. It is about a commitment to your family, to learning, to training, to your fellow warriors, to those you serve, to a cause greater than yourself. Warrior values are the core values of every law enforcement organization in North America. The word Warrior provides us with one word that embraces all of these traits and attributes.
My challenge to each of you is to:
- Find a way to teach this to your every officer in your organization so they understand that being a Warrior is a noble calling. Help them to understand the history of your organization and those that have gone before them. Share the stories of those who have lived, and those who have died as Warriors.
- Hold those people who would violate this and tarnish the name Warrior accountable. Too often when officers do something inappropriate in the heat of the moment and are challenged on their actions instead of admitting they made a mistake they throw the term Warrior in the face of their supervisor or commander. They claim this was what they were taught in the academy about the “Winning Mind and Warrior Spirit”. Their actions are often the exact opposite to what is taught regarding the Warrior Spirit and they must be held accountable by their peers and their supervisors.
Our goal must be to get to the point where the term Warrior is understood so it is embraced and accepted as a word that reflects all that is good about the law enforcement profession.