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The Way Of The Jedi: Developing Balance Between The Warrior & Guardian Mindset
We are plagued with stories about police corruption, poor tactics, excessive use of force and as such public outcry for change is louder than ever. As a result, many agencies have attempted quick fixes (e.g., increased accountability, de-escalation classes, cameras) that have not solved the underlying problem. Additionally, there continues to be a debate about if officers should be warriors or guardians and these conversations tend to create division and foster extreme response options that perpetuate officer imbalance. We believe the true fix lies in an examination of the law enforcement culture and the training that emanates from it. As humans, we are only as good as our programming, and most of what we do each day is automatic and built on the habits we have created over the years. Officers are taught to be threat assessors and required to have proficiency in the hard skills (e.g., firearms, defensive tactics), but not the soft ones (e.g., communication, leadership, conflict resolution, decision making, ethics), which are the very ones that will enable officers to have a truly balanced approach. Additionally, a proficiency in the soft skills will allow officers to be more strategic in the use of their hard skills and make them more effective both inside and outside the building. This course uses the Jedi philosophy as a framework to explore the organizational changes (e.g., agency identity, training priorities, increased accountability, leadership/mentoring, community engagement, and managing your message) necessary for a cultural shift to occur. We also lay out specific steps your agency can take to manifest the cultural changes needed to both better equip officers and provide your community with a more positive experience of law enforcement.