J A N 2 0 1 4 F E B

J A N 2 0 1 4 F E B


The Importance of Core Values in the Law Enforcement Profession continued from page 16

day as we prepare for our shift. As we don the bullet-resistant vest, cinch up our Sam Brown gun belt, and place our sidearm into its hol- ster, we also don the mental armor to take on the challenges of the day. That “armor” protects us and, at times, we begin to cherish the armor without recognizing its limitations. Let me share some thoughts found in the Old Testament of the Bible. In 1 Kings 20:11, King Ahab states the following: The king of Israel answered, “Tell him: ‘One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.’” The King of Israel was facing possible defeat at the hands of a for- midable foe. After trying to negotiate, King Ahab was sent word from his adversary that his country would be nothing but ashes after the bat-

that they took an oath of office to enforce the law without bias or prejudice. Strict adher- ence to the core values of integrity and ethics should guide officers’ decision making, not what the courts may or may not do. The environment in which law enforce- ment officers serve is both negative and hazard- ous. If an officer chooses to substitute reliance on core values for their occupational circum- stances, many are available. These circum- stances can lead to statements such as, “No one cares, so why should I?” or “Nothing I do really matters.” This is a precarious game that is best left unplayed. It can turn an officer who was once motivated, energetic, and profession- al into an unstable malcontent who bases all thoughts and actions solely on circumstances. Other people within the organization Officers interact daily with people who lie, cheat, steal, misrepresent themselves, and deal unethically and immorally with others. The sad fact is that these people not only make up the criminal element of the community but often members within the organization. This reality is compounded when the people behaving in this manner serve in supervisory positions or are given immunity for such be- havior. How officers respond to the actions and words of other people can positively or negatively affect thinking and performance. Everyone knows those members within the organization who behave unethically, im- morally, unprofessionally, and without genu- ine care and concern for others. Lest the rank and file believe that chiefs and sheriffs are un- affected by this aggravation, they should be reminded that they work closely with city/ county managers, city/county board mem- bers, mayors, and others who may behave similarly. The problem comes when officers allow the actions and words of other people within the organization to dictate how they will think and perform rather than adhering to the reliability of core values. The core values of honesty, motivation, self-determination, and self-discipline as well as ethics and integrity should be held higher and guide thinking and performance more than the unprofessional behavior of other people within the organization. Just because someone within the organization is allowed to behave in inappropriate ways does not mean individual standards should be low- ered. The adages, “If they can do it, why can’t I?” or “That’s not fair” should never be part of an officer’s thinking. Just as evil should

never be repaid with evil, the inappropriate behavior of others should never be used as an excuse to lower standards. EMOTIONS Uncontrolled emotions can lead people to say and do things they would never nor- mally say or do. Emotions are also unreli- able. They fluctuate based on circumstances, events, and how people are treated by others. Consequently, officers can ruin relationships and careers if they allow their emotions to guide their thinking, behavior, and perfor- mance. Law enforcement officers must learn to control their emotions when dealing with offenders, the public, and coworkers. How can officers guard against the damaging ef- fects of uncontrolled emotions? The answer is by relying on core values to direct thinking and performance, not emotions. Self-control, self-discipline, and profes- sionalism are essential core values for combat- ing heightened emotional states. The prestige and honor of law enforcement should never be compromised by unacceptable behavior due to uncontrolled emotions. Law enforcement officers, more than any other member of the population, see firsthand the damaging effects of uncontrolled emotions every day in their jurisdiction. Diligence and discipline must be maintained by officers to control thinking and performance in the face of heightened emo- tions. Just because an officer “feels” a certain way does not mean he/she has free reign to react unprofessionally. A true professional is one who can perform exemplarily in the midst of a heightened emotional state. It is important to understand that emo- tions cannot “make” anyone act a certain way. Actions are a choice. Professional law enforcement officers control their behavior every day – even when experiencing height- ened emotions. They may be angry when ar- resting a suspect who is resisting but cannot allow that anger to give rise to excessive force. They may be embarrassed by something a supervisor tells them but cannot strike back with insubordination. They may even be sad- dened or empathetic when having to arrest someone for a crime committed during the heat of passion; however, they cannot allow these emotions to prevent them from doing their job. If it were true that emotional peo- ple had no control over their behavior, anar- chy would result. Thankfully this is not the case. Officers should be reminded of this and allow core values to guide how they respond in the midst of their emotions.

Regardless of how they are structured, core values are designed to serve as a guiding rod for how officers should think, perform, and behave. It is for this reason that law en- forcement administrators seek applicants who exude a high degree of core values such as ethics, integrity, self-discipline, motiva- tion, and loyalty. Ideally, these core values describe who the person is, not represent ide- als and concepts a person chooses to follow when convenient. The importance of adhering to core values in response to three specific factors – occupa- tional circumstances, other people within the or- ganization, and emotions – will be considered. How officers respond to these three factors, more than any others, can positively or nega- tively affect the type of officer they become and, ultimately, their career. For the purpose of this article, the term “officer” refers to all ranks and positions within the profession of law enforcement. Occupational Circumstances Occupational circumstances refer to any events, situations, or conditions law enforce- ment officers face at work. Some of these cir- cumstances include: • Daily job responsibilities • Internal departmental politics/conflict • Supervisory expectations • Support/resistance from the citizenry • Hypervigilance • Reduced staffing • Low morale In short, occupational circumstances are what officers deal with day in, day out at work. The problem arises when officers use individual occupational circumstances to guide their thinking and performance rather than adhering to a solid set of core values. The result leads to a constantly frustrated, unmotivated, cynical officer. An example of this phenomenon is helpful. Officers have strong opinions regard- ing how the courts should dispose of cases brought before them. Often the courts dis- pose of cases in ways contrary to many offi- cers’ opinions (plea bargains, diversion plans, dismissals, etc.). Many times, officers are left feeling as if they are working in vain. As a result, officers may use this occupational cir- cumstance, and their disapproval, as a means of rationalizing substandard performance (such as failing to arrest for certain offenses based on the belief that the case will be dis- posed of in a certain manner). Instead of fall- ing into this trap, officers should remember

by Dan Bateman

Blessings, FellowWarriors! G reetings to all of my FBI National Academy Associates from your Chaplain! I am honored to serve you in this capacity for the next four years. I am somewhat humbled to follow in the footsteps of our esteemed chaplain of many years, Billy Gibson . Billy served this Association with distinction, honor, and determination. We owe Billy a debt of gratitude for his service. A future article will more fully express how much Billy has meant to the Association.

tle. With courageous determination, King Ahab sent word to his enemy, “Tell him: ‘One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.’” Simply put, until you have experienced actual battle, you cannot imagine or speak as to what it is like. In other words, the one who has never worn ar- mor in a fight cannot possibly boast (or understand) what it is like to enter the fray like the person who is taking off his armor following a fight. Some of you wear “armor” that bears nicks, dents, and, occasionally, a cut that results in your be- ing wounded, so to speak. In our everyday battle as leaders, we have come to expect that and, as law en- forcement leaders, you have worn your armor well.

A bit about myself: I recently retired as an inspector from the Michigan State Police after 31 years of service. I attended the 201st Session of the FBI National Academy and, following graduation, became active with the Michigan chapter. I served on our Curriculum Committee, eventually chair- ing it, was selected as the editor of our newsletter, and then served as Chapter secretary, vice-presi- dent, and then president in 2010. Each year of my tenure as your chaplain will feature a topic that supports an overarching vi- sion or theme. This will help all of us to remember those important principles and people that keep us anchored and grounded.

However, while this “armor” serves us perfectly at work, we must constantly remind ourselves to remove our “armor” before we come home to our families. Your family is a major touchstone in your life providing the measure of balance and foundation that can be found nowhere else. A touchstone serves as a standard against which we mea- sure ourselves and reminds us of what is genuine and true. Sometimes we wear our “armor” home where it hurts those very family members to whom we owe the greatest protection. How I wished, during my career, I had paused more often in prayer, medita- tion, and reflection before I came home to my family at the end of my shift. With that, my “armor” would have been removed prior to being with those who meant the most to me. But all too often, I forgot that simple process and brought my armor into my home with all of its consequences. I urge you to be aware when you need your armor on the job and when you need to be transparent and caring at home. More will be written this year concerning our touchstones in life since that is our theme for 2014. In the meantime, please know I lift you all in prayer before our Heavenly Father. May He richly guide you as you lead officers in this most noble calling: law enforcement.

The overarching vision/theme is “Calling Us Back to Move Us For- ward” and the yearly themes are incorporated as follows: • 2014 – Touchstones: Remembering the Important • 2015 – Mountain Tops and Valleys: Our Journey • 2016 – Milestones, Not Goals: Keep Moving the Finish Line • 2017 – Remembering Home: From Beginning to End As I said, I am here to serve you in whatever capacity I can as God allows me. You may have noticed the title of my article, “Blessings, fel- low warriors” . It is a tag line I use frequently as I address sworn officers both publicly and in correspondence. Having served as an enlisted of- ficer with the Michigan State Police for over 31 years (and 20 years as a command officer), I know the difficulties we face as we lead people in this most noble of professions. I count myself as a warrior like you. I know, too, the struggles we face in serving others whether it is dealing with an unpredictable public, navigating the ever-changing winds of politics, supervising officers who need strong guidance, work- ing within the directives of governmental decisions or budgets with which we privately disagree but honor as is our duty, or, in the worst case, the great burden of a line-of-duty death of one of our officers. It is the calling of a true warrior to serve well under these difficult circumstances. And each of you possess that strong character, drive, and integrity – otherwise you would not have been chosen to attend the FBI National Academy. But the circumstances of our career sometimes have an insidious and unknowing effect on us. As warriors, we put on our “armor” every

Blessings, fellow warriors!

Dan Bateman, FBINAA Chaplain

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