Your Learning Journal

May 2018

The month of May celebrates a few Law Enforcement and Public Safety fields. We are proud to celebrate and honor these professions in this month’s issue.

From Never Forgetting to Perpetually Honoring by Courageously Serving

By Jack Hart

On August 29th, 1971, Ingleside Police Station in San Francisco was attacked. Sgt. John “Jack” Young was murdered and a station clerk was shot. The street that leads to the Station was renamed in honor of Sgt. Young and a plaque next to the front door of the Station bears his name and the inscription: “We will never forget.” The sentiment of this inscription is always heartfelt, well-intentioned, and fittingly shared with family members of our fallen. With all of this signage and his photograph posted throughout the Station, it is easier for us to remember Sgt. Young and his sacrifice. It is much more difficult, however, to make the time and space to remember the other 102 members of the SFPD and the 23,195 other men and women whose names are inscribed on the wall in Judiciary Square in Washington, DC. This is where Police Week comes in.

The month of May is extra special in the calendars of law enforcement officers across the country and serves the “never forget” mission by carving out time to pause, reflect, focus on, and honor those who have sacrificed the most for all of us. May 15th is National Peace Officers Memorial Day, while the week surrounding it is National Police Week (Sunday, May 13 through Saturday, May 19, 2018). It is during this time—whether in person, at a local remembrance, or in the silence of our hearts—where we must not only remember, but to transform the sadness of their sacrifice into the fuel for our own hearts’ passion to courageously serve others in spite of the risks, the hassles, the stressors, the critics, and the complaints.

During the two-day Blue Courage course, we honor, remember, and draw inspiration from many fallen officers by placing etchings of names from the memorial wall on each table and then requiring students to research and present the stories behind the names. Very quickly, it becomes clear that the fallen are remembered because of how they died, how they lived, and especially because of the legacy they forged for us to pick up and carry on.

In addition to the names that you hold dear, here are a few names for you to visit, remember, hold in your heart, and draw inspiration from during Police Week 2018, and always:

Hector Jordan – FBNDD/DEA (Panel 31W Line 16)
Betty D. Smothers – Baton Rouge PD (Panel 7E Line 19)
Thor Soderberg – Chicago PD (Panel 19E Line 27)
Jillian Smith – Arlington PD (Panel 53E Line 27)
Robert Brandon Paudert –West Memphis PD (Panel 15E Line 27)


Understanding the Game We’re Playing (Simon Sinek)

Simon Sinek is a world-renowned author and speaker, who presented some fascinating, intriguing, and deeply thought-provoking leadership seminars at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference in both 2016 and 2017.

In this video, Simon discusses the difference between “finite” and “infinite” games that are being played. While we know that policing is not a game—as our actions can impact people for life and communities for generations—the concepts are eminently applicable to 21st Century policing strategies, especially “time and distance” for those in mental health crisis.

When peace officers use personal mission statements like: “it is better to be judged by 12 than carried out by 6,” or “I am going to leave work with the same number of holes I came to work with,” or “the customer is always wrong,” coupled with a use of force policy of: “ask, tell, make,” playing this win/lose “finite game” (in non-active shooter, self-defense & defense of others situations), may run peace officers into serious criminal, civil, and administrative problems. In situations when a person is in mental health crisis (where they are not actively harming others), perhaps the person in crisis is trying to stay alive and manage their situation (playing an “infinite game”) where the application of time, distance, respect, and rapport is the best, and morally correct (caretaking) option.

Feeding the Mind

Recommended Reading

Going Pro: The Deliberate Practice of Professionalism

by Tony Kern

When Gordon Graham recommends a book, you read it. The risk management expert, co-founder of Lexipol, and coiner of the phrase: “if it’s predictable it’s preventable,” recommends not only this book but Tony Kern’s previous book Blue Threat: Why to Error is Inhuman. Kern’s work on professionalism is for leaders who want to clearly define what professionalism is, was, and what it could be for themselves, their teams, and their organizations.

One of the most inspiring parts of the book is how he defines three different levels of professionalism and then offers a quote as if a practitioner of that level of professionalism is speaking about their “way of being.” A Level One Professional, the lowest level according to Kern, considers themselves a “pro” because they met the criteria for hiring, they were selected, and offered a job: “I’m a pro because I earn a paycheck in this industry.” A Level Two Professional not only is paid for the work they do but hold themselves and others to a higher standard of integrity to values, formally agreed codes of conduct, and quality in their work: “I’m a pro because I meet and maintain the standards.” A Level Three Professional, whom Kern calls “A Professionalist,” is that elite performer who “strives daily” to “meticulous adherence to undeviating courtesy, honesty, and responsibility in one’s dealings with customers and associates, plus a level of excellence” that exceeds what is required: “I’m a pro because I am doing all I can to be the best I can and further the objectives of my peers, my organization, and the industry as a whole.”

Think deeply about these levels and ask yourself these questions. Are you a poser, an empty suit, a professional because of who you surround yourself with, a professional because of the degrees you hold, or are you a “has-been?” Instead, are you willing to set the bar as an unrelenting “professionalist” willing to be excellent, deliberate, and fully engaged for yourself, your agency, and your profession? Discover Tony Kern’s work and reinvigorate your quest to be great.

Purchase this book here.

Inspiring Awareness

Each month, we will present information and recommendations that could effectively enhance your way of thinking, behaving, and feeling.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

“How can I help those that are wounded when I don’t embrace my own wounds? Stand at the margins of your own brokenness. Embrace it. Then, you will stand in kinship with those that are broken and not despise them.” -Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J., creator of Homeboy Industries

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the United States since 1949, with organizations like Mental Health America and the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) raising awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans that are affected by mental health conditions every year. According to NAMI, 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year and 1 in 25 adults in the United States experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. With an estimated 26% of homeless adults living with a serious mental illness, 20% of state prisoners having a recent history of a mental health condition, and 70% of youth in the juvenile justice system that have a mental health condition, peace officers are highly likely to come in contact with the mentally ill on-duty and perhaps off-duty.

Visit this month to raise your awareness on this important topic. To raise your mental health awareness for the effects that this profession has on you and your family’s mental health, please read Dr. Kevin Gilmartin’s Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement which can be found at