It’s the Small Things

Guest Blogger - Andy

According to the latest Gallup poll that rated honesty and ethical standards in different fields, police officers still rated among the highest.  In 2012, 58% of people rated the police high or very high.  While that may or may not seem high, compared to other fields it’s pretty darn good.  However, I believe we can be better than that; there’s always room for improvement.


So how do we gain more favorable ratings? If you notice on the graph, nurses, pharmacists, and doctors rank the highest.  Why is that? I suppose that because they are perceived as caring and dedicated to helping others, people are always going to place them in high regard, and rightfully so.  Perhaps we, in policing, should take note.

Ethical standards in various professions

Aren’t the police caring and dedicated to helping others as well? You bet we are. We just don’t show it as best as we could at times.  Managing perception is an area that we can improve, both as individuals and as an organization.  At the individual level, we must recognize that every police- citizen encounter is important. And just like field goal kickers in football, we are only as good as our last kick, or in our case, our last encounter.  Officers are doing a great job out there, no doubt about it. I am not saying we are perfect, no one is.  But I contend that if we managed perception a little better, the view of the police would positively increase.


People want to be treated fairly, period. Studies show that people are more concerned about the process than the actual outcome. If police do the small things like explain why they took a particular action, most people will feel better about the situation.  They may not totally agree, but at the minimum, believe they were treated in a fair manner.


When I was a first line supervisor, I listened to many citizen complaints about alleged officers’ behavior, such as rudeness or an improper arrest.  First, I actively listened so I can clearly understand their concerns.  Then, I painted them a picture so they could see through the lens of an officer.  I can tell you that most people were satisfied after I explained why the officers acted a particular way.  As stated, people are more concerned about the fairness of the process.  Take the time to explain your actions.  If we all do that, I bet our ratings go up even more.


10 responses

  1. Andy
    A leader not only needs to speak the truth, although he needs to listen to the truth. Well said.

    1. Agree Jerry. It’s tough to hear it at times, but needed for the betterment of the organization. Thanks!

  2. A leader should know when to leave. Something to think about.

    1. It’s definitely worth having some self reflection on it. Thanks Carol.

  3. Andy,

    Very well put. The ability for a leader to acknowledge when it’s time to step down could be extremely difficult. Relinquishing control is never easy.


    1. Yes it is. Leadership is about others, not us anymore. Appreciate your comment Dan.

  4. Great topic, if you find yourself reporting to duty and just going through the motions this is a sign to leave and enjoy life with your loved ones. I have seen many great leaders retire after serving 25+ years of service and not enjoy retirement due the many years of wear and tear. I commend anyone who stays in it for the betterment of the department, but life does not end after retirement it is when the fun starts with your loved ones. Enjoy Life.

    1. “ does not end with your retirement..” No it should not. It should begin a new and exciting time. This is why we should focus on leaving a positive legacy while we can so we know we made an impact on others while we have the chance. By the way, retirement is just one option. Stepping down, transferring to another agency or organization, or changing careers are other things a leader can do if it is the right time for both. VMontez, thanks for your unique insight. Andy

  5. The posting takes me back to my childhood. Whenever I was afraid, I would close my eyes and hold on tightly to whatever I can. This does not change just because we grow up. A significant portion of the workforce is afraid of what comes after and are holding on tight with their eyes closed. A significant portion of the workforce do not plan for their departure and most certainly do not nurture the type of personal relationships that are welcoming to the twilighlight years we all hope to live and see. We must all invest in ourselves(spiritually, emotionally, and mentally) and in our relationships with our families and loved ones so that when the time comes to let work go, you have the brightness of love, joy and happiness all around you defeating the darkness and unknown. I look forward to great years of traveling, golfing, and spoiling grandkids. I look forward to “leaving it” to the young men and women leaders I have had the pleasure to develop and mentor in the past and the ones I will have the pleasure to develop and mentor in the future. This is my gift and will be my gift when I step into the brightness of retirement on my own terms and not a moment too late.

    1. Roy, what a healthy outlook. You definitely know what is important to you and those around you. Thank you! Andy

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