Article: A Hippocratic Oath for Policing (Police Foundation)

A Hippocratic Oath for Policing

Sgt. Jeremiah P. Johnson
Darien (CT) Police Department

The recent spotlight on deadly use-of-force encounters has led John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor David Kennedy to ruminate whether the field of policing should have its own Hippocratic Oath.

The Hippocratic Oath is commonly encapsulated as “do no harm.” Medicine’s Hippocratic Oath has changed form since the days of ancient Greece, but its spirit lives on among physicians.

Police are society’s physicians, the kind that still make house calls.

It is the physician’s job to examine the patient, diagnose the underlying condition and prescribe an effective course of treatment. A doctor that only attends to visible symptoms, provides ineffective medicine, or treats in a manner that is ultimately harmful has failed the patient.

Policing is indeed strong medicine and can produce miraculous cures. However, we in law enforcement are all too ready to focus singularly on the visible symptoms of crime, overprescribe our favorite medications without due regard for their deleterious side effects, or rely on untested remedies that have been handed down through tradition instead of science.


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A Hippocratic Oath for policing

Learn, Share, Grow – Your Elusive Creative Genius

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.

Below is a video from TED Talks on where creativity comes from as well as key learnings.

Key Learnings:

  • Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, talks about her fear that her greatest creative work is now behind her.  The fear is that all her future creative work will be known as the what came after her biggest success.  How she deals with this thought and possible reality is the radical idea that the creative genius doesn’t come from people, but comes to people.
  • Ancient Greece/Ancient Rome – believed creativity was a divine attendant spirit that came to humans from a distant, unknown source for unknown reasons.
    • Greek called it daemons
    • Romans called it genius
  • Renaissance brought about the thinking that creativity came from self – a person IS the genius, not HAS a genius – this can distort egos and create high, sometimes unrealistic, expectations for performance
  • Poet Ruth Stone – she could feel and hear a poem coming at her – she had to quickly get to paper and pencil to capture the poem on paper.  If she missed it, it would continue on in search of another poet.
  • Musician Tom Waits – one day while driving down the freeway, started hearing a tune but had no way of capturing it.  He looked into the sky and said he was driving, if you want to exist then come back at a more opportune moment – otherwise go bother someone else.  This set the tone for HOW he did his work – not for his work itself.
  • The idea that our work/ideas come through us from an unknown source can free us from the unnecessary anxiety and stress and allows creativity and ideas to flow through us freely.
  • If this creative genius isn’t there or doesn’t come to us, keep doing your job anyway.  Keep showing up for your piece of it; keep doing your part.  Be stubborn and never give up.
  • The most creative aspects of your life never came from you but came to you.

The Beauty of a Second – A Thanksgiving Message

What power does a single moment hold? A second is so much more than a tick on a clock — it can be a touch, a vision, a sound, a smell, a thought, a feeling, a memory — all of these exist in the breadth of one moment. Within a second, anything can happen, anything can change, anything is possible!

In the busy hustle and bustle of our day to day lives, we often take for granted those precious moments that become our days, our weeks, and even our years. We may forget to pause for just a second to breath in what is around us and what the universe has brought to us in each moment. All it takes is a second — a moment of full presence and awareness to appreciate those who support us; a second to hug the ones we love and let them know they matter; a second to offer a smile to a neighbor, or stranger who might just need that act of kindness to transform their day; a second to embrace life — to love, forgive, accept, surrender, and even feel! Every moment matters. Why waste it?

Below is a short video that shows us the beauty of a second. We encourage you to absorb this message and think about how awareness in a given moment can enhance your life’s experience. This Thanksgiving, take a second or more to show your gratitude to everything and everyone who make up the landscape of your life — which is the very essence of our being.

We at Blue Courage are grateful for the love and support we receive from our families, team members, mentors, partners, and all of you who live the Blue Courage philosophy every day. Know that your commitment and efforts illuminate a path toward a brighter tomorrow.

We wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving!

The Blue Courage Team


Learn, Share, Grow – Drive

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.

Below is a video and key learnings from Productivity Game on Daniel Pink’s “Drive”.

Insights from Drive by Daniel Pink

What is the best way to motive yourself and others to do cognitively demanding work?

External rewards like cash bonuses are great for straight‐forward tasks: getting kids to do their chores, convincing yourself to do repetitive data entry work, or motivating an employee to do assembly line work.

However, these ‘if you do this, I’ll reward you with that’ types of external incentives are horrible for motiving yourself and others to learn a difficult subject or come up with creative solutions to complex problems.

According to scientific research (studies: 1,2,3,4), if you use external incentives like money, grades, or social status, you will do significant harm to one’s long‐term motivation to do cognitively demanding work.

The best way to motive yourself and others is to spark three intrinsic drivers:


When Atlassian, an Australian software company, allowed their programmers to have a complete day of freedom (they were paid to work on whatever code they wanted with whomever they wanted), they came up with several new product ideas and dozens of creative solutions to existing problems.

Atlassian co‐founder Mike Cannon‐Brookes told author Daniel Pink, “If you don’t pay enough, you can lose people. But beyond that, money is not a motivator.” What motivates people beyond equal pay is work autonomy.

By giving yourself and others a degree of flexibility within a rigid framework with a choice of tasks, free time to work on side projects, choice of technique, and the opportunity to pick team members, you will spark the intrinsic drive of autonomy. Author Daniel Pink calls these the four T’s of autonomy: freedom to pick the task, the time, the technique, and the team.

“Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.” ‐ Daniel Pink


When Swedish shipping company, Green Cargo, wanted to overhaul their performance review process, they implemented a key finding by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: when workers are given tasks slightly above their current skill level and stay in a state between boredom and anxiety, they are more engaged, more motivated to work, and more creative.

Green Cargo implemented Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s findings by changing the way they conducted performance reviews. During each performance review, managers now needed to determine if their employees were overwhelmed or underwhelmed with their current work assignments. Then the managers needed to work with each employee to craft Goldilocks work assignments: work assignments that weren’t too hard, not too easy, but just right above their current skill level.

What effect did Green Cargo’s new performance review system have? Employees were more engaged and reported feelings of mastery over their work. After two years of these new performance reviews, Green Cargo became profitable for the first time in 125 years.

“One source of frustration in the workplace is the frequent mismatch between what people must do and what people can do. When what they must do exceeds their capabilities, the result is anxiety. When what they must do falls short of their capabilities, the result is boredom. But when the match is just right, the results can be glorious.” ‐ Daniel Pink


“You have to repeat your mission and your purpose…over and over and over. And sometimes you’re like, doesn’t everyone already know this? It doesn’t matter. Starting out the meetings with This is Facebook’s mission, This is Instagram’s mission, and This is why Whatsapp exists (is critical).” – Sheryl Sandberg

When Sheryl Sandburg starts her meetings by stating the mission, she’s sparking the third intrinsic driver: a sense of purpose.

Purpose is the reason organizations like ‘Doctors Without Borders’ can get highly skilled doctors to willingly travel to poor villages around the world, live in harsh conditions, and get paid very little money to do so. These doctors are motivated to work because they are fueled by a sense of purpose they get from helping others.

Ask: How will learning this topic allow you to help the people you care about? How will solving this problem serve the greater good?

“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self‐determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.” ‐ Daniel Pink
Nathan Lozeron

A Week of Gratitude

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, from November 19-25, 2017, we are dedicating this week to giving gratitude.

A Week of Gratitude challenge:
Gratitude is an important contributor to positive psychology and re-wiring your brain to develop a pattern of positivity instead of negativity. This week long challenge will help jump-start your way toward a more healthier, positive path!

Below is the challenge for each day.  Once you have reflected upon these 3 things:

1. Write them down or journal about them.
2. Express your gratitude to others.

Day 1: Think of 3 meaningful experiences that you are grateful for. How have they enhanced your life? Who was involved? How has it increased your ability to help others?

Day 2: Think of 3 colleagues that you are grateful for. How have they enhanced your life? How has it increased your ability to help others? Have you expressed this gratitude to them?

Day 3: Think of 3 opportunities you were given that you are grateful for. How have they enhanced your life? Who offered you these opportunities? How has it increased your ability to help others?

Day 4: Think of 3 mentors/teachers that you are grateful for. How have they enhanced your life? What lessons have you learned from them? How has it increased your ability to help others?

Day 5: Think of 3 loved ones that you are grateful for. How have they enhanced your life? Do you express this love on a daily basis? How have they increased your ability to help others?

Day 6: Think of a time when you overcame adversity. What 3 things have you learned that you are grateful for? Who was involved? How has it enhanced your ability to serve?

Day 7: Think of 3 prized possessions that you are grateful for. How do they enhance your life? Why are they of value to you? What memories do they represent?

Learn, Share, Grow – 1 Thing Separates People Who Achieve from Those Who Only Dream

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.

Below is an article and video from on what the 1 thing is that separates achievers from dreamers as well as key takeaways.

Key Learnings:

  • Most people never get experiences because they’ve never asked.
  • Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask. That’s what sometimes separates those who do things from those who just dream about them.
  • You have to act. And you have to be willing to fail. If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.
  • When you say “Can you help me”, you are:
    • Showing respect – implying the person knows more about this, can do what I can’t, has the expertise/talent that I don’t – and you recognize that.
    • Showing trust – you show vulnerability/weakness and trust the other person with that.
    • Showing you’re willing to listen – tell me what you think I should do, not what you think I want to hear.
  • You get the help you need by showing you respect and trust others.
  • Those you ask for help gains a sense of satisfaction and pride that comes from being shown the respect and trust they deserve.
  • You then get to say 2 powerful words – Thank you.

22 Years Ago, Steve Jobs Said 1 Thing Separates People Who Achieve From Those Who Only Dream

While this sentence is one you might not expect from Steve Jobs, it is one that all of us can — and should — say.

By Jeff Haden Contributing editor, Inc.

Steve Jobs set extremely high expectations. He challenged other people to work harder, work longer, and do more — sometimes more than they thought was possible.

Jobs was … well, let’s just say that Steve Jobs was demanding.

But he also believed in the power of asking.

I’ve never found anybody that didn’t want to help me [Jobs says in the video below] if I asked them for help … I called up Bill Hewlett when I was 12 years old. “Hi, I’m Steve Jobs. I’m 12 years old. I’m a student in high school. I want to build a frequency counter, and I was wondering if you have any spare parts I could have.” He laughed, and he gave me the spare parts, and he gave me a job that summer at Hewlett-Packard … and I was in heaven.

I’ve never found anyone who said no or hung up the phone when I called. I just asked. And when people ask me, I try to be responsive, to pay that debt of gratitude back.

Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask, and that’s what separates, sometimes, the people who do things from the people who just dream about them.
Granted, it’s often not easy to ask for help. Asking can make you feel insecure. Asking can make you feel vulnerable.

But oddly enough, that’s a good thing.

When you ask for help, without adding qualifiers or image enhancers, when you just say, “Can you help me?” several powerful things happen, especially for the other person.

You show respect. Without actually saying it, you’ve said, “You know more than I do.” You’ve said, “You can do what I can’t.” You’ve said, “You have experience [or talents or something] that I don’t have.” You’ve said, “I respect you.”

You show trust. You show vulnerability, you admit to weakness, and you implicitly show that you trust the other person with that knowledge.

You show you’re willing to listen. You’ve said, “You don’t have to tell me what you think I want to hear; tell me what you think I should do.”

By showing you respect and trust other people, and by giving them the latitude to freely share their expertise or knowledge, you don’t just get the help you think you want.

You might also get the help you really need.

You get more — a lot more.

And so do other people, because they gain a true sense of satisfaction and pride that comes from being shown the respect and trust they — and everyone — deserve. Plus, you make it easier for them to ask you for help when they need it. You’ve shown it’s OK to express vulnerability, to admit a weakness, and to know when you need help.

And then, best of all, you get to say two more incredibly powerful words:

“Thank you.”

And you get to truly mean them.

And if that’s not enough to convince you: If a guy like Steve Jobs was willing to ask for help, shouldn’t we?

Learn, Share, Grow – “Made to Stick”

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.

Below is a video on the book “Made to Stick” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath as well as key insights, both from Productivity Games, on delivering messages successfully.

Insights from Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

“When an expert asks, ‘Will people understand my idea?,’ her answer will be Yes, because she herself understands.” ‐ Chip & Dan Heath

Once we know something, it’s hard to imagine what it was like to not know it. Psychologists call this the curse of knowledge. This ‘curse’ impedes our ability to share ideas effectively because it makes us believe other people share our interests and other people care about our ideas as much as we do.

To deliver messages people find interesting and memorable (despite not having our knowledge and experience), you need to modify your ideas to include the following traits:

Simple: What one thing do I want my audience to remember?

In the 1992 US Presidential election, Bill Clinton was notorious for going off point. Clinton loved policy, and he wanted to address every issue that the country was facing at the time. But Clinton’s inability to prioritize policy issues made voters wary.

James Carville, Clinton’s advisor, got Clinton to stay on point by writing three phrases on a whiteboard for all the campaign workers to see. One of the phrases was: “It’s the economy, stupid.” The United States economy was in the middle of a recession and needed to be the central talking point of every interview. The message was simple and memorable.

What’s the main message you want your audience to walk away with? If you want your audience to remember anything you say, deliver fewer ideas. Two or three ideas are OK, but one idea is best.

Unexpected: How can I make my message surprising and insightful?

When a manager at Nordstrom’s (a retail store in the United States) wants to explain the importance of customer service, she tells the story of the Nordstrom’s employee who gift‐wrapped items bought at Macy’s or the story of the Nordstrom’s employee who started a customer’s car in the middle of a snow storm.

“Tell them something that is uncommon sense.”‐ Chip & Dan Heath

Concrete: How can I make my message easy to understand?

When managers at Trader Joe’s (a grocery store in the United States) explains their target customer, they don’t say ‘upscale budget‐conscious customer,’ they say, ‘unemployed college professor.’

Use concrete language everyone understands. Leave out the jargon. Stop trying to sound smart.

“The beauty of concrete language—language that is specific and sensory—is that everyone understands your message in a similar way.” – Chip & Dan Heath

Credible: How can I make my message believable?

When the directors of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange (LLDE) company tried to convince a workshop of people that their core value was ‘diversity,’ the audience seemed skeptical. One of the audience members said, “everyone claims that they value diversity, but you’re a dance company. You’re probably filled with a bunch of twenty‐five‐year‐old dancers, all of them tall and thin. Some of them are probably people of color, but is that diversity?”

Peter DiMuro, the artistic director of the LLDE, responded with an extreme example, “as a matter of fact,” he said, “the longest‐term member of our company is a seventy‐three‐year‐old man named Thomas Dwyer…” This detail—seventy‐three‐year‐old Thomas Dwyer—silenced the skepticism in the room.” ‐ Chip & Dan Heath

Make your message credible by telling extreme anecdotes with vivid detail.

Emotion: How can I make my audience care?

In 2004, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that people were more likely to donate money when they heard
a message about a starving seven‐year‐old girl in Africa than a message about 3 million starving children in Africa.

When you tell a personal story about yourself, someone you know, or someone you read about, your audience can put themselves in their shoes and feels that person’s struggle and success.

“If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” ‐ Mother Teresa

Story: How can I keep my audience engaged?

“Telling stories with visible goals and barriers shifts the audience into a problem‐solving mode…. (we) empathize with the main characters and start cheering them on when they confront their problems: “Look out behind you!” “Tell him off now!” “Don’t open that door!” ‐ Chip & Dan Heath

The most engaging stories are mysteries that keep your audience wondering:

-“What’s going to happen next?”

-“How is this going to end?”

Nathan Lozeron

Learn, Share, Grow – “When Life Tells You ‘NO'”

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.

Below is a video from the University of Wisconsi-Maddison 2016 commencement speech by Russell Wilson – “When life tells you no”

Key Learning:
– You can’t do it alone. You’ve got to surround yourself with good people
– Make the most of whatever talents we were born with…You definitely have something to offer the world. The question is how and whether you’ll do it.
– Potential just means you haven’t done it yet…lots of people have potential, but not everyone does it
– The difference isn’t the way people handle themselves when things go well…The moments that really matter are the moments when life tells you no
– The question to ask when life tells you no, “What am I capable of? Am I capable of doing what I want to do?” Once you know the answer, don’t be afraid to let everyone else know it too
– Be ready. Always be ready. When life tells you no, stay ready. You never know when your opportunity will come.
– When life tells you no, find a way to keep things in perspective. That doesn’t make the painful moments any less painful. But it does mean you don’t have to live forever in the pain. You don’t have to live forever in that “no.”
– If you know what you’re capable of, if you’re always prepared, and you keep things in perspective, then life has a way of turning no into yes.
– We often think about big heroes in life – people like Lincoln, MLK., Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Ben Franklin— their biggest accomplishments. What we don’t always think about is the moments that made them who they were. They made themselves a little better when no one was looking. When they came up short they didn’t quit.

Learn, Share, Grow – “Productivity”

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.

Below is an article from on productivity and what companies can do to help maximize their team’s productivity.  Also below is results of an experiment that one of our team members did to help maximize their productivity.


Blue Courage Learning:

On Friday, I found myself a bit overwhelmed by my “to-do” list and everything that kept getting added to it – yet I’ve been feeling like nothing is getting crossed off of my list. Based off of the article I read, I decided that I needed to set aside some time every day to start crossing off items from my list, without any interruptions – turn off email, silence my phone, etc. We aren’t nearly as productive if we are constantly being distracted, and often the top 2 distractions are emails and ourselves – starting too many things at one time without finishing the first thing first. My teammate coined this time that I plan to set aside as the “GSD” hour – “Get Stuff Done”, which I really liked, so I started calling it my GSD Hour (though sometimes it is longer than an hour.)

On Monday, the overwhelming feeling was even greater. I decided that I need to see just how impactful implementing this GSD hour into my daily routine is. I alternated the days between 3 different plans: 1) no GSD hour at all, 2) implementing the GSD hour, and 3) implementing the GSD hour starting with a guided meditation from davidji.

I found that the day that I didn’t implement my GSD hour felt like a wasted day and wasted energy – I was exhausted at the end of the day, knew I worked, but felt like I accomplished barely anything.

The days that I did just the GSD hour, within that time frame, I felt more productive and felt like I did cross a few things off of my to-do list, though not everything. I also found, however, that I was still getting a little distracted, and still bounced around a bit between 2-3 projects (though better than my 5-10 like a normal day).

However, when I started my GSD hour with a guided meditation first, I found myself more focused, motivated to prioritize the things I had to get done, started with the top of my list, got one thing done at a time, and actually lost track of time and ended up spending an hour and half knocking a few things off my list. I felt a better sense of accomplishment within that hour and a half than I did any other day, even though I know I didn’t cross everything off my list yet.

I have since set up alerts to keep myself on schedule, to include a GSD hour daily!

Michael Nila, founder of Blue Courage, added that when you are focused and uninterrupted, you have the potential to get into “flow”; time flies, you are creative and energized – productive. A good rule for productivity – the 2 Minute rule. If you can do something in two minutes or less, then do it right away. It will take you longer than that to think about it, remind yourself later, get refocused and do it. So if you get a to-do item and can do it in 2 minutes or less, then do it right away.


Blue Courage and Simon Sinek’s Start With Why Partnership

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Contact: Jocelyn Little

(702) 277-8518

Individual Why Discovery Process Slick

Organizational Why Discovery Process Slick


Partnering with Start With Why to Provide Purpose and Mission Enhancement Opportunities for Individuals and Organizations in Public Service

Aurora, Illinois October 20, 2017 – Blue Courage, LLC is proud and excited to announce their partnership with Start With Why, the organization founded by renowned leadership expert and author Simon Sinek.

Blue Courage® is an education and consulting firm dedicated to enhancing the public service professional’s capacity to serve by providing quality, cutting-edge, and relevant educational services on areas critical to organizational effectiveness. Both Blue Courage® and Start With Why are committed to serving those who serve the public, creating a ripple effect that encourages greater community relationships, sense of nobility in our profession, empathy, compassion, respect, resilience, and courage.

Both organizations are dedicated to a world in which the vast majority of people wake up inspired to go to work, feel safe when they are there, and return home fulfilled by the work they do; the Blue Courage® and Start With Why partnership strengthens this commitment, making a larger impact, together.

As explained by Michael Nila, founder and master trainer for Blue Courage®, “Police and public service, like all helping professions, have long suffered from an erosion of purpose and commitment. This loss of commitment to purpose often leads to severe levels of cynicism, apathy and disengagement.  While Blue Courage® is an effective process for reigniting commitment and passion for the nobility of public service, Start With Why has proven to break through the emotional walls that our members build for self-protection, replacing them with a deep sense of contribution and impact on those we serve. To discover our WHY is to discover the best of who we are, our unique contribution to our calling, and the potential impact that living our WHY will have on others and even ourselves!”

Start With Why educates and helps leaders and organizations to discover and live their WHY — their purpose, cause or belief.  All of Blue Courage’s master trainers have been certified in the Start With Why Process to help agencies and public service professionals articulate and bring their WHY to life.

The Why Discovery Process is available for both tribes (teams and organizations) and individuals to discover their WHY, or purpose for doing what they do, and inspires action to integrate their WHY into their day to day activities.  Our WHY spotlights who we are when we are at our natural best.

As Simon Sinek states, “Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief – WHY does your organization exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?” Purpose helps teams and individuals put our talents to work for the right reasons, resulting in a greater sense of fulfillment. It drives passion and engagement to give our best to our noble calling and validates the importance of our efforts.

To learn more about the Why Discovery Process for tribes and individuals, contact Blue Courage® at the above contact information.