Ensuring a Culture of Safety
Category: Law Enforcement
Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for law enforcement leaders.
The mission of Below 100 is to eliminate preventable line-of-duty deaths and injuries.
Today’s Tip is for law enforcement leaders, and it’s about your responsibility to create a culture of safety in your department.
By now I hope you’ve heard of Below 100. If you haven’t, the mission of Below 100 is to eliminate preventable line–of-duty deaths and injuries through innovative training and awareness. Please learn all about it. Start by visiting Below100.org. But don’t stop there.
Thousands of officers know all about Below 100 and about the 5 core tenets. “Wear Your Belt.” “Wear Your Vest.” “Watch Your Speed.” “WIN-What’s Important Now?” And, finally, “Remember: Complacency Kills.”
Changing a culture is not easy, however. And it takes more than words. Some leaders struggle with implementing these changes. I’ve heard things like, “But the officers in my department just won’t wear their belts.” Or, “We’ve always let the officers decide if they want to wear a vest.” Or “I know that my people are driving way too fast, but I can’t seem to do anything to stop it. I guess that’s just how cops are.”
WHAT? Aren’t you the boss (or one of them)? Rob Beidler, the Undersheriff in Snohomish County, Washington does a great job of reminding us of our responsibilities as leaders. If you’re a leader in your organization, you have positional authority. That’s the kind of authority that comes from title or rank. It’s the authority you get from the hierarchy of an organization. That means people have to do what you tell them to do. And if they don’t, there can be consequences.
YOU must create and support a culture of safety in your department. It’s YOUR job to make sure that doing the right thing is the norm, not the exception. You do this through policy, training, supervision and discipline. It’s YOUR job to set the expectations and to make sure your people understand them. It’s YOUR job to make sure that your supervisors are supervising. And it’s YOUR job to make sure that those who fail to comply are held accountable.
Remember, you asked to be promoted. It wasn’t forced on you. And now it’s up to you. You owe it to your people. You owe it to your community.
And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham, signing off.