Leadership is about Relationships, not Authority – is a repetitive theme in my Discussions Matter to Law Enforcement Guide & Workbook. But what does that mean? The foundation of leadership – in any occupation – is establishing and building relationships that lead to trust and desired followership behaviors. Those relationships are developed with communities in advance of calls to action. The motto, “To Protect and to Serve”, was established in February, 1955, within the Los Angeles Police Department. The motto has often been modified to “To Serve and Protect”, placing priority on service. The core of that service is in developing relationships with those being served and protected. Agencies around the world have established programs targeted to build those relationships.
The Detroit Police Department (DPD), and 4 others, are highlighted in my book, as modeling the behaviors aligned with changing the status quo. Chief Craig, of the DPD, and members, are extremely visible within the community, both physically and through effective leverage of social media. They hold community events representing all age groups, ethnicities, races, sexual orientation, socioeconomic statuses, and other diverse community characteristics. Chief Craig LEADS and is highly visible. I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and while there have been many challenges and stories – that are not all good – I am proud of the DPD, Chief Craig, and the community relationships being built. When incidents occur involving the DPD, the relationships are apparent, as the community rallies behind them. Chief Craig immediately addresses issues through media, getting in front of the rumor mill. While authority is definitely required in policing, the relationships build respect and alliance.
Good job, Chief Craig and the Detroit Police Department!
The DPD is only one example of how leadership is being used to develop relationships. What is your Chief/Agency doing that is unique and effective? We need far more stories of success than those of failure – which the media continuously uses to divide relationships. Share your story!! I’d love to hear them, share them and feature them!