April 24, 2018

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The Importance of Self-Control for Public Safety Personnel

Gordon Graham
Category: Public Safety

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for public safety.

In our world of social media, any misstep in public can be seen around the world before you’ve even cleared the scene.

Today I’m going to talk about self-control. This is something that gets more public safety professionals in trouble than just about anything else. 

You can go online and find any number of videos involving law enforcement or custody professionals “losing it.” They let someone get under their skin. Or, more correctly, inside their head.  

Yes, I know. Sometimes it looks worse on camera. It’s easy to armchair quarterback a video. Or the video doesn’t show the whole story.  

But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about those incidents that happen every day in America. Incidents where the cop or jailor allows a person to control the situation by pushing the right buttons. If you’ve ever read “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, you know the quote, “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” 

This means that you must know your opponent. You must understand that he or she is trying to win by making you lose. One way to lose is to have the court of public opinion against you because of a viral video. In our world of social media, any misstep in public can be seen around the world before you’ve even cleared the scene. 

But more importantly, Sun Tzu’s quote is about you knowing yourself. You need to recognize when someone is getting into your head or under your skin. You need to recognize the signs that you may be getting angry. This self-awareness is critical in public safety. When you identify these signs, do something about it. If that involves stepping back and letting someone else deal with the person, do it.  

Arguably, this might be the hardest thing to do. Admitting that we’re human and that we get angry, can be difficult. But, if you’re willing to work on being self-aware and on exercising self-control, you may get through your career without being the subject of a viral video. Or, as Sun Tzu would say, “winning your battles without disaster.” 

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

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