The world today is rife with issues that challenge people’s priorities and politics particularly for those who were bequeathed with the mandate to keep the peace and safety of our communities. Racism, inequality, and procedural justice are difficult topics that we must face head-on to address it. Dr. Kimberly Miller and a panel of law enforcement experts put their heads together to make sense of the tough times we’re in and the hard conversations it brings.
The panel members are:
- Mike Brown, Director of Professional Development at the National Sheriffs Association
- Deanna Cantrell, Chief of the San Louis Obispo California Police Department
- Joe Hoebeke, Chief of Police of the Hollis Police Department in New Hampshire
- Bryan Williamson, Chief of Police for Bullhead City Police Department in Arizona
On the biggest challenges they face and overcome within their agencies and communities.
- The fear that comes with having difficult conversations, and the importance of empathy, open-mindedness, authenticity, and open communication to address these.
- The reaction and response elicited when conversations are initiated on these challenging topics.
- The disconnect in the lived experiences of the majority of the community and those belonging to the underserved segment of the population which furthers marginalization.
The tools and approaches they’ve used to break barriers, bridge gaps, and begin conversations.
- Community engagement and immersion to better understand the intricacies of societal issues.
- Training that enables to look at incidents from a human rights perspective.
- Emotional intelligence as a skill to equip officers with to better enable them to handle critical incidents and at-risk individuals.
- Espousing a leadership and culture of accessibility, accountability, and approachability within the agency.
- Treating the people within the agency in a manner that transcends into how they treat and serve the community.
- Shifting the mindset from compliance to commitment to ensure staff truly embrace the core values and goals of the agency.
Their views on the criminal justice reform and using it as an opportunity to…
- Reveal the weaknesses and address them proactively.
- Improve training, data collection, transparency, and recruitment, selection and retention.
- Review the role of the police in society and how they’ve been burdened with issues that they shouldn’t have been involved with.
- Reflect on the potential consequences and impact of such changes to the community.
Implementing changes to address societal issues and how it impacts the police department.
- Through accountability and willingness to initiate and have difficult conversations.
- Instilling positivity and reminding the workforce of the value of their work and contribution to the community.
- Finding a common ground between the community, law enforcement, and governing bodies to work collectively.
- Stressing the importance of proactive work even before the big issues arise.
- Getting both leadership and individual employees to stay informed and updated with studies, policies, and best practices, and work within their purview to best serve their communities.
- Fostering relationships with the community to earn trust, buy-in, and support.
- Leveraging social awareness to provide the community their needs through accessibility options and accommodations as well as an image of law enforcement that is aligned to the citizens’ values.
Questions from the audience were about:
- Leveraging mental health professionals, families, and networks to provide police officers with support for mental health resiliency.
- Approaching discussions on these critical topics with an open mind in an environment where everyone can speak freely and there is diverse representation.
- The value of human rights training to provide a different perspective on the issues.
- Leveraging the recruitment and hiring process to ensure that the only best people make it to the team.
This is part of a 4-part series:
- July 9: Owning Racism & Living the Solution
- July 28: Beyond Racism: Identifying The Roadblocks, Barriers & Blind Spots That Are Holding Your Organization Back
- August 12: Transformation & Change for Criminal Justice Professionals
- Sept 8: Tough Times, Hard Conversations & Healing (this webinar)
Resources and Handouts
- San Louis Obispo PEACE Class
- Book: I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know by Dr. Ellen Kirschman
- Book: Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement by Dr. Kevin Gilmartin
- IACP Human/Civil Rights
- “Chief Cantrell discussing the importance of treating internal personnel the way we would like for them to treat citizens; procedural justice. I think the PEACE program is an interesting concept and look forward to learning more about it. I appreciated Chief Hoebeke mentioning the importance of selective recruitment. I try to do exactly what Chief (Ret.) Williamson said, and pass along the compliments we receive. Dr. Brown was spot on about Constitutional Rights and the value of understanding Human Rights.” — Angie
- “Thanks to all the panelists for engaging in today’s topic. Great ideas and honesty conveyed!” — Barbara
- “I really liked the panel model. It was great to hear different perspectives.” — Heidi
- “…The webinar reinforced everything I have been wanting to do plus gave me even more great ideas. Thank you. This was excellent.” — Carmen
- “I really appreciated the professionalism and honesty of the panelist on these difficult topics. Thanks!” — Christina
- “I liked the diversity of the panel, not just race, gender, etc., but in the sizes of their communities. Very good speakers that had some great ideas for reaching out to their communities.” — Donna
- “Understanding Emotional Intelligence of individuals serving in Law Enforcement was the most valuable thing I learned from today’s webinar. Realizing how we treat our people in the organization is very important. We must understand that we want to treat the employees with dignity and respect so that our employees are treating people in the community with respect. This panel was dynamic today. They provided a lot of great information. Wonderful Acronyms. I will always remember PEACE and 3 A’s.” — Lillie