Leadership On The Front Lines: Navigating The COVID-19 Pandemic

Leadership On The Front Lines: Navigating The COVID-19 Pandemic
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2020-04-30
Unit 1Recording: Leadership On The Front Lines
Unit 2Transcript: Leadership On The Front Lines
Unit 3Workbook: Leadership On The Front Lines

Webinar Video Clip: Leadership on the Front Lines – Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic 


COVID-19 is testing everyone’s resilience. People are experiencing anxiety over their mobility, safety, livelihood, and health. The test becomes a little bit more complex when it comes to those in charge of leading people who are all experiencing uncertainty during the pandemic.

In this session, Justice Clearinghouse assembled a remarkable panel of leaders from various law enforcement and public safety agencies facilitated by Dr. Kimberly Miller.

  • Major William Beck from the Arizona Department of Public Safety
  • Tina Buneta, Director of Public Safety Communications for the City of Aurora, Colorado
  • Chief Jack Cauley of Castle Rock Police Department in Colorado
  • Chief Joseph Hoebeke of the Hollis Police Department in New Hampshire
  • Chief Doreen Jokerst from the University of Colorado Boulder Police Department
  • Sheriff Justin Smith from Larimer County Colorado

Dr. Miller prepared three questions and picked the panelists’ brains on their leadership amidst COVID-19 zeroing in on their roadmap to success, creative strategies, and resilience during unprecedented times.

On creating a roadmap to success for the people and the agency:

  • Implementing one by one policing that is grounded on trust, flexibility, innovation, and communication to manage people’s expectations, get them to adapt faster, and remain informed.
  • Maximizing the expertise and strengths of team members, learning and adapting as you go along, and sharing information to empower each other.
  • Establishing a plan before any crisis comes along and fostering an organizational culture of trust and resiliency that ensures the success of the organization and the safety of the people.
  • Utilizing technology to accomplish tasks that become challenging due to social distancing protocols and stay at home orders, discerning essential vs. non-essential personnel, and just being with your people.
  • Rolling out a new path that established the changes that are happening, the channels of communication, and the inclusivity and transparency to maintain continuity.
  • Providing the personnel with empowerment needed that is founded on a set goal and mission to allow them to respond and adapt to ever-changing circumstances.

On creative strategies to serve and support the people within the agency and the community:

  • Focusing on wellness initiatives that address physical, mental, and spiritual health.
  • Utilizing technology to continue community outreach and employee engagement.
  • Temporarily suspending accountability reviews to help employees cope with the anxieties that are existing in today’s world.
  • Allowing employees to improvise their strategies and means in their duties in accordance with social distancing.
  • Acknowledging that is okay to feel anxiety, fear, and uncertainty given the current situation.
  • Expressing gratitude and extending help by institutionalizing critical pay and providing care packages to essential employees.
  • A conscious effort to not do a stand down, prevent societal panic and connect citizens with authorities for their questions and needs.
  • Providing flexibility through remote work set up.
  • Recognizing employees and their contributions and fostering positivity.
  • Triaging 911 calls through pre-screening questions to promote balanced accessibility for everyone in the community.
  • Outreach to domestic violence victims and providing them with more options to access help and support.
  • Connecting with the community through visibility and innovative means.

On being the calm in the storm and developing resilience:

  • By demonstrating presence and transparency that communicates to the staff your concern and willingness to listen.
  • Through leadership by example and exhibiting presence, courage, gratitude, and giving back to the community.
  • Promoting a sense of normalcy by modeling resilience, practicing self-care, and encouraging your people to do the same.
  • Espousing check-ins with others and leveraging relationships for support and wellness within the agency and outside of it.
  • Cultivating preparedness for what is ahead of us.
  • Reminding each other not to be overwhelmed with what is happening and remain responsive by sticking to the processes and plans in place.

Questions raised were on:

  • The paradigm shift and what to expect in terms of location-independent/remote work and other mobility options.
  • Who provides supports to the leaders.
  • Fostering collaboration between law enforcement and probation.
  • Dealing with medical issues and health vulnerabilities that may hinder staff from providing essential work.
  • Balancing constitutional rights and COVID-19 orders from public health and government agencies.


Other Webinars in this Series:


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “I like the ideas of how to keep communication fresh on your team, especially if working remotely or in different locations due to COVID-19.” — Arrow
  • “Very timely webinar, with everyone dealing with something unprecedented. Listening to what worked for them, allows us to choose the best practices for us. Thank you!” — Roseann
  • Ideas how command staff should react to this COVID-19 health emergency with their members — Bill
  • “I think the most valuable is that there were others that felt the same way I did about everything. Communication would have made all the transitions go a lot more smoothly with less resistance. I know how rapid things were changing but just putting it out there that management was working on things would have been better than radio silence.” — Crystal
  • “There were many great points in this webinar, but some of the most valuable things were that this is uncharted territory for of all levels of staffing, and that we need to be flexible and understanding as staff has many new issues to contend with on the home front an in their personal lives in addition to getting the job done despite many “new normals”. We also need open/honest communication & to provide a safe forum for staff to give input and share concerns as well and dealing with what is important now.” — Eugene
  • “I enjoyed hearing the different points of view on management & leadership skills from the different presenters. Each gave me something I could take back to my agency as we move forward dealing with COVID-19.” — Karla
  • “How to provide leadership to your workforce and community in this time of change and challenge. I enjoyed the multi person panel for different perspectives on this topic.” — Leigh



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