Every year, Lexipol endeavors to provide first responders and their organizations with tools and resources to help them serve their communities more effectively. That includes publishing actionable articles on topics that are highly relevant to public safety leaders, personnel and agencies.
Following is a rundown of the top Lexipol articles posted on our blog during 2023. Here’s looking forward to a strong finish for 2023 and a safe new year ahead!
General Public Safety Articles
Many of our 2023 articles centered around general public safety topics, equally applicable to law enforcement, the fire service, emergency medical services and corrections. Here are some of the best Lexipol articles from the year:
1. Excited Delirium: Understanding the Evolution Away from a Controversial Term, by David Baker
For decades, law enforcement and emergency medical personnel used “excited delirium” to describe subjects exhibiting extreme aggression, paranoia and pain tolerance. Recently, organizations such as the APA and AMA have taken a public stand against the term. While public safety professionals will still encounter highly agitated, violent individuals, first responders benefit from focusing on observed behavior rather than quasi psychological terms when responding to extremely agitated individuals.
2. The Impact of Personality on Performance, by Rex Scism
Are some personalities better suited for public safety careers? Can our personalities change over time? In this article, author Rex Scism explores how our personality traits affect how we react to stress and how we perform on the job. He also reviews the “Big Five” personality characteristics and their impact on job performance. In the end, Scism reminds first responders that as much as the job requires self-sacrifice, spending some time to understand themselves will ultimately help them have healthier, happier careers.
3. First Responders and the Deaf, by David Baker
While some disabilities are obvious to the casual observer, deafness often isn’t. This can pose unique challenges to law enforcement, EMTs, paramedics and corrections officers. Like so much in public safety, it’s a balancing act between your safety and their rights. This article covers best practices for interactions with Deaf people, including how to communicate with them if you don’t know sign language, and when and how to get a qualified sign language interpreter.
Honorable Mention: Who’s Ruining Our Reputation? by Gordon Graham
Public safety — and more specifically, law enforcement — has taken a lot of hits in the last few years. You don’t have to look far to find media personalities and “influencers” casting first responders in a negative light. In this article, Gordon Graham acknowledges the reality of media bias, but challenges readers to think more deeply. Because the actions of a few can reflect on the entire profession, Gordon encourages all first responders to “Do things right, treat people right and keep an eye on your coworkers to ensure they are doing things right.”
Law Enforcement Articles
The following standout blog posts cover topics of specific concern to those in law enforcement:
1. Shh! We Have a Plan! Adaptive Decision Making in Law Enforcement, by Mike Ranalli
Have you ever found yourself unnecessarily complicating a decision? For most of us, the consequences of doing that are minimal. But in law enforcement, overcomplicating a decision can lead to tragedy. In this article, retired police chief and proud grandfather Mike Ranalli uses the children’s book, “Shh! We Have a Plan!” to shed light on why officers sometimes choose a more complex, higher risk path when a simpler, safer option is available. He explains the need to train officers in adaptive decision making, rather than relying on “if this, then that” training.
2. Strong Leaders in Law Enforcement: Starting & Staying the Course, by Lexipol Team
Whether you’ve come up in the ranks or joined an agency in a position of authority, being a leader can be challenging. This article, based on a webinar featuring experienced law enforcement leaders, underscores the challenges of leadership, exploring key qualities such as consistency, integrity and adaptability. Emphasizing the importance of sustained commitment, the experts encourage law enforcement leaders to cultivate and maintain these attributes, fostering a resilient and trustworthy leadership foundation within the field.
3. Policy or Training? A Delicate Balance to Guide Officer Behavior, by Mike Ranalli
Law enforcement officers are often called to deal with people experiencing mental health crises. The use of force lawsuit Armstrong v. Pinehurst resulted from one such incident, and the ruling rattled agencies across the country. A study of the case indicated some agencies altered policy in ways that may have led to increased officer-involved shootings. Mike Ranalli’s article summarizes and reacts to this study, addressing the “very delicate balance that must be made when determining whether something should be incorporated into policy or training.”
Honorable Mention: Police Culture and Women in Law Enforcement, by Jen Moss
Women currently make up about 12% of law enforcement personnel, and many agencies are still working to increase that percentage. In this article, Lexipol’s Jen Moss draws on her 20-plus years of police experience to call attention to cultural factors that hinder and even stigmatize women in law enforcement. Public opinion regarding female officers is already overwhelmingly positive; this issue is more an internal one. The attitudes of male coworkers and supervisors, as well as the behavior of female police officers toward each other, need to be challenged and changed.
Fire Service Articles
The following articles covered topics and practices of particular interest to those in the fire service:
1. Emergency Fire Response: To Code 3 or Not Code 3, by Greg Rogers
Fire trucks are big and heavy, with the potential to cause significant damage in an accident. In this article, Chief (Ret.) Greg Rogers discusses the dangers of responding “Code 3” — to firefighters as well as to the public — and how to determine whether the risk of a full emergency response outweighs the risk to the public. It’s a balancing act that requires sound judgment: “Our efforts to save lives should not put others in undue danger. The next time you head out the door, consider and then reconsider the risks associated with your emergency fire response.”
2. What Firefighters Need to Know About CSST Fires, by Lexipol Team
This article provides tips for dealing with blazes involving corrugated stainless-steel tubing (CSST), addressing potential risks and safety measures for firefighters. It also emphasizes the importance of understanding CSST-related incidents and ensuring proper response strategies to effectively mitigate the dangers.
3. Do It Right! Fighting Normalization of Deviance in the Fire Service, by Bruce Bjorge
Sociologist Diane Vaughn defines “normalization of deviance” as the process by which divergence from correct behavior no longer feels wrong. In this article, Bruce Bjorge explores how “normalization of deviance” can impact the fire service, emphasizing that straying from established protocols can lead to dangerous consequences. The article advocates for a culture of accountability, highlighting the critical role of vigilance in preventing the normalization of deviant practices in fire and rescue operations.
Honorable Mention: Carcinogens, Biohazards and Chemicals, Oh My! Dirty Turnout Gear in Public Places, by Jon Dorman
When firefighters wear dirty turnout gear in public spaces, they may be unwittingly exposing themselves and others to dangerous substances. The chemicals in firefighter PPE help to protect the physical safety of firefighters — but are also known carcinogens. Turnout gear can also absorb contaminants from a fire scene, turning you into a walking hazmat incident. Public safety workers have an obligation to limit exposure to the hazardous chemicals they carry in and on their gear.
Here are Lexipol’s top corrections-related Lexipol articles for 2023:
1. Inmate Ingenuity: Escapes and Attempted Escapes, by Gary Cornelius
Necessity is the mother of invention, and the grand necessity (at least, to some jail inmates) is to get out. In this article, corrections veteran Gary Cornelius examines how incarcerated people may manipulate personnel and “stuff” in order to escape from correctional institutions. High-profile escapes demonstrate how corrections staff can be manipulated into helping inmates break out. A further example of POWs in World War II shows how clever people can exploit materials on hand to obtain their freedom.
2. 2 Effective Approaches to Managing the Inmate Population, by Gary Cornelius
Expanding on his “4 Cs” of inmate management — communication, control, comportment and conscience — the author discusses strategies for handling inmate populations in correctional facilities. His article outlines two impactful approaches that contribute to effective management. By providing insights into proven methods, the article offers valuable guidance to correctional professionals seeking to enhance operational efficiency and maintain a secure environment within their facilities.
3. 3 Key Legal Trends in Corrections, by Lexipol Team
This article, excerpted from a presentation at Lexipol’s Connect 2023 virtual conference, identifies and explores standout legal trends affecting the field of corrections. It provides insights into evolving legal landscapes, emphasizing three pivotal trends that impact correctional facilities: medication-assisted treatment, inmate mail screening and transgender inmate management. The article and conference session serve as a resource for corrections professionals, raising awareness and providing guidance in this ever-changing field.
Honorable Mention: Train to Retain — Developing Corrections Staff, by Gary Cornelius
Working in a jail is no picnic, but corrections officers who are well prepared are more likely to be successful. In this article, the author explains why jail officials need to have a retention mindset. Good training fosters the skills and attitudes that set up new corrections officers for success. Mentoring takes this a step further by providing solid role models to emulate — as well as someone for rookies to turn to when they need guidance.
Court cases and legal developments from around the country can have a profound impact on policing and corrections. Here are some of the highlights:
1. iCloud Search Upheld Under the Good Faith Doctrine, by Ken Wallentine
This article, by Chief Ken Wallentine of the West Jordan (Utah) Police Department, examines the legal implications of iCloud searches in law enforcement, exploring how such searches are upheld under the Good Faith Doctrine. The author offers insights into the legal framework surrounding digital evidence retrieval and provides a nuanced understanding for law enforcement professionals navigating technology best practices in their investigations.
2. Whose House Is This? I Think I Know, by Ken Wallentine
Justin Thabit missed two visits with his parole officer and had not been living at his reported residence. Law enforcement received a tip he was staying at a residence and selling drugs. When officers arrived, Thabit was leaving the residence; they arrested him and searched the home. Was the search — and the evidence discovered — permissible? Chief Wallentine provides his expert analysis.
3. Emerging Tech and Law Enforcement: What Are Geofences and How Do They Work? by Prathi Chowdri
The ubiquity of GPS-enabled mobile phones has led to a huge increase in the amount of location data collected by Google and other tech companies. Members of law enforcement are increasingly using Location History and other GPS information to help identify suspects during criminal investigations. In this article, attorney Prathi Chowdri covers the topic of geofence warrants and how they can be helpful to law enforcement, providing a rundown of geofence best practices to help guide investigations.
Honorable Mention: Requiring Passenger to Provide Identification Was Lawful, by Ken Wallentine
Deputies arrested the passenger of a vehicle after he refused to provide identification. After the charges were dismissed, the subject sued the sheriff in federal court, alleging false arrest, violation of due process and constitutional violations. This article examines the case, affirming the lawfulness of identification requests and offering valuable insights for law enforcement professionals navigating similar situations during routine traffic stops.
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