November 13, 2018

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Public Safety Officers Have a Duty to Remain Professional

 
Gordon Graham
Category: Public Safety

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s tip deals with interacting with members of the public in a professional manner. 

Nearly every move we make, and every conversation we have, might be recorded, whether on video, audio, or both.

We were all taught back in the academy to be polite, courteous, and professional when we contact members of the public. This training was important back then. And it’s even more important today. 

I don’t know of any other profession that faces the scrutiny that law enforcement faces. Surgeons don’t have to wear cameras documenting their every move and conversation during surgery. Oh, and then have the footage released to the public. The same is true for bankers, big business CEOs, or even politicians during much of their work. 

Guess what? It doesn’t matter what happens in other professions. It’s a simple fact of life for us as law enforcement officers. Nearly every move we make, and every conversation we have, might be recorded, whether on video, audio, or both.  

Do you always start your conversations using “sir” or “ma’am?” Are you polite and courteous throughout the contact? Do you maintain your professionalism even if the person you’re talking to is not so nice in return?  

Here’s something for you to think about. Depending on where you work, many of these recordings could be subject to disclosure under public records laws. There are researchers and other groups out there making public records requests on every law enforcement contact they can get their hands on. Then they are analyzing the recordings.  

Make sure that if that happens to your agency, the report will read, “100% of the agency’s contacts were conducted in a thoroughly professional manner.” 

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham, signing off. 

 

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