March 15, 2016

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Risk Management Part III – What Is Risk Management?

Gordon Graham
Category: Public Safety

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. And Today’s Tip is another in our continuing series on Risk Management.

Real Risk Management is an ongoing process that permeates everything we do.

Let’s start off with what Risk Management is not! Real Risk Management is not another assigned duty of the Finance Director. Real Risk Management is not a quick mention of the topic during supervisor training. Real Risk Management is an ongoing process that permeates everything we do. Real Risk Management starts with an understanding that bad things do not have to happen in public safety operations and once this is understood then you practice RPM

Risks must first be recognized.  Then you must prioritize these identified risks in terms of frequency, severity, and available time to think.  Finally, you must mobilize – meaning you have to act on the identified risks.  Risk Management must be part of everything we do!

All of you watching this today’s tip have heard the phrase “Risk Management.” Unfortunately, the phrase is grossly misused, many times by people who have no clue what they are talking about. Let me assure you, the discipline of Risk Management is extraordinarily valuable to all of us in high-risk, public safety professions.   

Every identifiable risk is a manageable risk. Properly managing risks prevents problems. Over the years, I have spoken extensively on the management of risk, and what your role is in public safety with respect to risk

Historically, most government operations do not take Risk Management seriously.  Check any Federal, State, or local government phone directory. You will find a lot of government lawyers, but few if any dedicated government risk managers.  

The next time you see a law enforcement agency in the news negatively, anyplace in the U.S., give them a phone call. Find out how many personnel they have dedicated to internal affairs (post-incident) investigations, and how many are dedicated to background (pre-incident) investigations.  We would be better served by excluding bad people from our professions up front, rather than firing them after they participate in some nefarious behavior.

Contrary to the view of some of my  contemporaries, public safety is not some evil cauldron that takes good people and turns them into bad people. The Catholic Church did not hire good men and turn them into pedophiles. Those bad priests were bad men at point of hire. 

Risk Management is not something that all of a sudden became important to me on September 11, 2001. This has been my focus over the last four decades

What will it take to wake people up? 

Prevention is better than correction. Small, smart expenditures of effort and money up front can prevent massive downstream problems. You can make this happen individually and organizationallyHopefully after Today’s Tip from Lexipol you have a better understanding of what exactly Risk Management is. We’ll be back next week with more on risk management. 

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

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