Conquering Complacency

Conquering Complacency
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-02-15
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Conquering Complacency
Unit 2 Transcript: Conquering Complacency
Unit 3 Workbook: Conquering Complacency
Unit 4 Recording: Conquering Complacency

Complacency within the realm of public safety is a serious problem because unlike private service providers where people who experience less than ideal service have the option of searching for a different provider, there is only one public safety and emergency services provider. This webinar explores the intricacies of complacency, what it is, how it creeps in, and how to mitigate it.

Leading the discussion is Halcyon Frank, the Director of Training and Development at the Denise Amber Lee Foundation. She’s been working in the emergency communications profession for the last 8 years and has shared her experience and lessons by providing online and in-person dispatch training.

Specifics of the webinar covered:

  • An overview of the Denise Amber Lee Foundation – its inception and its work to improve dispatch services.
  • Defining complacency based on the experience of the individual and those that are impacted by it.
  • How complacency creeps in, is normalized and underestimated, and can result in liability issues, low morale, trust issues, and even physical safety risks.
  • How people slip into complacency through habits built through repeated action, peer influence in an attempt to have a sense of belonging, and making assumptions based on past experience and biases.
  • How complacency forms based on the cycle of complacency where an incident triggers initiatives to prevent and change but as time passes organizations can revert to old habits and build complacency.
  • How distractions that those working in public safety deal with daily can lead to the normalization of deviance and complacency in an attempt to get things done.
  • How complacency manifests in different call types.
  • The Mind Your Business Effect and how this poses a risk to public safety agencies that must balance acknowledging concerns from community members and the limits of their job without being dismissive.
  • Strategies to avoid complacency that highlight the importance of training, policy and procedures, avoiding making assumptions, normalizing conversation around complacency, seeking help from superiors, and self-reflection.
  • The long-term effects of complacency in terms of eroding trust and reliability in critical public safety and emergency services.

Questions and comments from the webinar audience are about:

  • Sharing the “why” behind policies to combat complacency.
  • Suggested exercises to prevent complacency among employees.
  • Initiating conversations about complacency with coworkers.
  • The impact of tolerating substandard performance in the workplace.
  • Approaching complacency concerns with solutions to avoid backlash from superiors.
  • Tackling complacency in environments where upper management is part of the problem.
  • Utilizing lunch and learn sessions to tackle complacency and other workplace issues.
  • Identifying complacency through quality assurance practices.


Other Webinars in this Series


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Resources and Handouts



Audience Comments

  • “Thank you for reminding me to check my bias and others on my team.”
  • “The webinar was informative and the presentation was clear and enjoyable.”
  • “Important topic that is all too common and does lead to much bigger problems. Ideas on how to address were good, as was the point of how it is an issue even if not immediately clear.”
  • “This education could apply to any profession or workplace. Great webinar.”
  • “I enjoyed how she helped us relate to what the issue is, and how to combat it.”
  • “Great presentation, a lot of good information.”
  • “Halcyon was an amazing presenter. Loved her knowledge on this subject and the slides and clip she used really brought home the point of not becoming complacent. Thank you all.”
  • “This training is very helpful because it is a refresher to let me know that complacency is a problem in the workplace. As managers, we must continue to combat complacency to avoid problems of being reactive instead of proactive.”
  • “The training was informative and provided great suggestions. An opportunity to check yourself!!!””
  • “I enjoyed this, not because I was noticing signs of complacency, but because I realize that for doing what I’ve been doing for so long, I’ve probably become complacent in some of what I do. This helped me to identify it and helps me to see it in others, as well as why I’ve had to fight from being complacent (seeing others do less and there not be consequences). Thank you for helping me see it and becoming more aware of how my actions then can also affect others around me.”
  • “Great knowledge on the topic. Great ideas and recommendations.”
  • “This webinar shows how complacency is common in work life and personal life and not being comfortable or on edge might improve or undue complacency. Hard habit to break until an emergency happens.”
  • “Really interesting and applicable to me even though I’m not in a first responder position right now. I liked the question “What are the consequences if I’m complacent?” and the observation that once you accept poor work it becomes your standard.”



The Denise Amber Lee Foundation was founded by Denise’s husband, Nathan Lee in June of 2008, 6 months after her tragic death. He has made it his life’s mission to travel the country telling her story, to help 911 centers across the country try to avoid a similar occurrence to someone else. The foundation wants to use the emotional power of Denise’s story to motivate and inspire 911 personnel to remember why they do what they do. Arguably one of the most difficult professions on the planet, the foundation wants to remind them how important they are what a critical role they play every day in Public Safety.




Additional Resources
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