The Police Chief - November 2010 - (Page 34)

By Samuel L. Feemster, Supervisory Special Agent, Instructor, FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia; and Joseph V. Collins, Chief of Police, Two Rivers Police Department, Two Rivers, Wisconsin Beyond Survival toward Officer Wellness (BeSTOW): Targeting Law Enforcement Training P olice chiefs have a constitutional and moral duty to protect and serve their personnel and communities. Busy police chiefs want the very best expertise in training in order to accomplish this mission. Proper training boosts officer performance, reduces agency liability for poor performance, and mitigates community aversion to the presence of law enforcement. Proper training at multiple levels is the latest signature of effective law enforcement leadership, and it involves the spirits, minds, emotions, and bodies of law enforcement officers, whatever their jurisdictions. Innovative leadership training actualized for the benefit of others embraces and unleashes the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law encompasses the total package of intentional training and mentoring that helps officers derive meaning and purpose from their vocational choice. Such perceptive training is more demanding because it is an internalized weapon not required by the letter of the law. Its genius is the intangible, spiritual dimension of humanity that motivates and sustains the intrinsic rewards of public service. Contextually, spirituality in law enforcement refers to disciplines undertaken in the care and furtherance of the positive development of the human spirit. Religion may be a conduit of spirituality for many, but spirituality in law enforcement does not depend on any dogmatic religious constraints or conformity. Spirituality nurtures the internal cosmos of an officer’s life and work. The aim of this article is to describe new innovations in police training. First, the authors will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of traditional police training. Second, they will propose multidimensional training as a possible remedy for addressing maladaptive behaviors normalized by police culture and for addressing the weaknesses and gaps of traditional police training. Third, they will probe a major problem facTHE POLICE CHIEF/NOVEMBER 2010 ing police organizations worldwide: suicide. Leadership in the twenty-first century will require police chiefs to embrace new innovations in training. Current law enforcement training curricula must be modified and expanded to include disciplines that empower officers to cultivate a critical spirituality. Likewise, law enforcement agencies must develop and implement policies that sustain a spiritual workplace. Meanwhile, communities served by these agencies must create and maintain—through positive contacts and celebrations—reciprocal support for police personnel. Traditional Training: Strengths and Weaknesses Without a doubt, comprehensive and effective training is the bedrock of officer safety. For example, in addition to the tactical proficiency and required knowledge of civil and criminal protocols, executing a search warrant or a criminal warrant involves, at its most basic level, one human being (or a team of humans) acting upon another human being with intended outcomes of varying degrees, up to and including the use of deadly force. An informed police chief knows that no amount of tactical preparation can fully eliminate the stressors that come with the uncertain realities of people policing people. More importantly, an informed chief accepts the responsibility of proactively addressing the certainties that accompany toxic vocational exposures, as well as the impact of these exposures on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of police personnel. Innovative chiefs must simultaneously distinguish between officer safety and officer wellness and embrace the undeniable nexus between the two. They must understand that officers who seem physically unscathed after a series of toxic exposures may have interior wounds in need of healing. The training requisites for officer vitality and officer safety are not one and the same. Figure 1 is based on a survey of seasoned Figure 1 Developing human and intelligence dimensions to address the gap between requisites for vitality and academy training Requisites for Vitality • • • • • Practicing tolerance Inner peace Honor Pride Belief in a higher power • Empathy • Desire to serve • Work/home life balance • Integrity • Communication • Support networks • Compassion • Positive attitude Academy Training • • • • • Report writing Defensive tactics Firearms EVOC Law How do we overcome this gap so as to train not only for officer safety but also officer wellness? 34

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Police Chief - November 2010

The Police Chief - November 2010
President’s Message: The Year Ahead
Legislative Alert: Congress Passes Continuing Resolution to Sustain Federal Government
IACP Foundation: Law Enforcement Leaders Learn, with a Corporate Twist
Chief’s Counsel: Legal Training and Concerns for Conducted Energy Weapons
Advances & Applications
The Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute: A Bellwether for Leadership Training in Florida
Training for Face-to-Face Encounters
Beyond Survival toward Officer Wellness (BeSTOW): Targeting Law Enforcement Training
New Members
Product Update
Transforming a Police Agency by Connecting Training, Performance, and Assessment to Promotion
The Field Training Experience: Perspectives of Field Training Officers and Trainees
Tips for Training with a Firearms Simulator
Survey: The Status of Field Training
Nine-Week Army Program Provides Civilian Police Force Training
Educational Programs for Fusion Center Directors
Training and Tools to Serve the Line Officer
Technology Talk
Index to Advertisers
Highway Safety Initiatives

The Police Chief - November 2010