Your mission as a trainer is simple:
- Teach officers what they can do and when they can do it. (Historically we focused on what not to do.)
- Give officers the tools to help them make good decisions. (It is all about making good decisions.)
- Help officers understand the power of relationships in effective policing. (Relationships within an agency, with other agencies and with the community.)
- Provide an understanding of, and become a model of the power of unconditional respect. (Respect is an officer safety issue.)
- Assist officers in developing the art of articulation. (It is not enough to do what is right.)
On the face of it this list may appear too short and too easy. As for the length of the list, everything you teach will likely fit into one of these categories. Remember the difference between simple and easy. Simple is lack of complexity. Easy is lack of effort. The items on this list are simple, but not easy. In order to accomplish this mission it takes, work and effort. Designing and delivering the training in a manner that engages the officers and facilitates learning is always hard work.
Some of the items on this list require changing the culture of law enforcement. Culture change is never easy.
Despite the fact this mission is designed to enhance the competence and confidence of your officers and enhance the profession as a whole, you are going to get push back. You will encounter the skeptics and cynics who want to tell you all reasons you will fail. The fear of change will come to the surface and people will push back. You will likely experience some pangs of fear as well. Fear of rejection, fear of failure and fear of success. Be courageous in the face of fear.
Remember, courage is never the absence of fear. It is the ability to be afraid, still do your job and complete your mission. As Eric Greitens says in his great book Resilience, “Courage overcomes, but does not replace fear.”
Be courageous. You owe it to the men and women you train. You owe it to their families. You owe it to your agency. You owe it to your community. You owe it to the profession. The stakes are too high for us to allow the fear and the cynics to win.
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