I recently graduated FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar (FBI – LEEDS) held at Princeton University. The LEEDS staff encouraged networking and reinforced this concept throughout the week. I am a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA). Networking is encouraged throughout the ILEETA conference as well, but LEEDS is the first time networking opportunities were available throughout the day and into the evening. The LEEDS program focused on opening and maintaining lines of communication. The graduates embraced the networking concept. LEEDS is over, but the communication has not discontinued. All members of the LEEDS program are now enrolled in the FBI – Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (LEEDA).
At LEEDS, I interacted with Chiefs of Police and high-ranking command staff officers from smaller police departments representing NJ, PA, and NY. I was pleased with the interaction. We discussed budget constraints, Use of Force, Excited Delirium, and the need to enhance training. Command staff representatives recognized the need to prepare all members of the rank and file with appropriate training to meet their responsibilities.
The LEEDS program was introduced in 1981. LEEDS was developed to fill the void between the FBI and smaller local, state, and federal agencies. In 1991, the Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (LEEDA) was formed to facilitate executive networking and training. LEEDA is an effective tool. The first question asked of each attendee was to explain how they are a leader. The explanations were as different as they were the same.
Each attendee clearly had their own vision about leadership, yet we all realized we could not ask more of our officers than we expected of ourselves. Anybody can be appointed to a supervisory position, but only a few people can lead. Leadership is innate. It is a part of one’s moral fiber.
It does not matter how often rules, regulations, policies and procedures change in guiding law enforcement to keep pace with emerging law enforcement theory, technology advances, and current budget challenges. Law enforcement administrators addresses change from the very first day an officer reports to the police academy until the officer’s retirement. Leaders recognize and implement changes regarding the role of all officers to reinforce professionalism. The demand for up-to-date training is the one concept which will not go away. Training is an investment. It is not an expense!
LEEDS staff trained participants on the following:
Instructors first addressed police ethics. Ethical awareness is a requirement and an expectation of society. Each police administration must demonstrate that it can police itself before it can police the community. Ethics is defined in different ways, but it is simply about what we do and how we do it. Ethics are about doing the right thing. Recognizing a problem is not a weakness. It is a strength. If there is a problem, fix it! Acknowledge the problem and correct the policy failure to ensure there will not be a recurrence. A police officer does not need to be perfect, but each officer must demonstrate good faith.
ART OF PERCEPTION
Inattentional Blindness is a term which has been under discussion by medical and legal experts for some time in law enforcement. It has to do with the limited visual perception of unexpected objects. This phenomenon occurs due to the brain being limited to only focus on one thing at a time. Once the brain is focused on one element, it ignores or overlooks other factors present. Of importance here is after-the-fact when re-interviewing an individual, it is not uncommon for their story to change. If this happen a person is not necessarily lying. It is likely the person’s memory of additional factors has returned. This information is critical to ensure the circumstances present at the time of an incident. In class, we practiced identifying different factors present when limited to a momentary glance at art work, pictures, and paintings to reinforce everything in sight cannot be processed.
Instructor’s reviewed the importance of the Public Information Officer (PIO). Participants learned that no comment is a comment. Open lines of communication must exist with the news media. The PIO serves to bridge the gap between the media in search of need to know information as well as protect information the media wants to know. Sensitive information must be kept confidential to protect the integrity of the case. If the media is not provided with necessary information by the police department, then sources outside the department will be used by reporters. An effective PIO keeps the media up-to-date by maintaining direct lines of communication.
The law enforcement environment is comprised of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennial generation. Each grows up with different beliefs and perspectives. This often creates a breakdown of coordination and effort in the police department. This is due to the conditions of the economy, the state of the world, technology, and social trends each generation experiences. This understanding is the means leaders can incorporate the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennial generations into one group of professional law enforcement officers dedicated to the concept of protecting and serving the community.
The emotional survival training provided tremendous insight. Instructors addressed policing’s physiological and emotional effects upon on and off duty relationships. It is clear that police leaders must ensure that officers are educated, trained, and prepared to address and self-correct the emotional challenges each officer faces throughout their career.
The purpose of the training was to provide complete overview of emergent law enforcement trends and concerns to police executives. LEEDS is only the beginning. All LEEDS graduates join the Mid Atlantic FBI-LEEDA. Other programs available are the Command Institute for Law Enforcement Executives, Supervisor Leadership Institute, Executive Leadership, Managing and Conducting Internal Affairs Investigations, and Leaders Without Titles.
Twenty-one regional LEEDS training sites are located nationwide. The Association holds its annual training conference each Spring. LEEDA reaches out to all its regions to do as was done in Princeton. Interaction on a personal and professional level is available to the entire membership to enable all levels of law enforcement to network and interact as one. I already have my reservations for Tampa!
Jim Gaffney, MPA is Law Enforcement Today’s risk management /police administration contributor. He has served with a metro-New York police department for over 25 years in varying capacities, culminating with Executive Officer and PIO. He is a member of ILEETA, IACP, IACSP, and FBI – LEEDA. Jim is a Certified Force Science Analyst. He mentors law enforcement’s next generation as an adjunct criminal justice professor in the New York City area. Jim brings the street into the classroom to prepare students today for their roles as police officers tomorrow. He is CEO of Bright Line Consulting and can be reached via www.brightlinepoliceconsulting.com
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