Hi Everyone! Robert Whiteside here.

The first of this week, a colleague and I were at a conference. While there, I picked up the USA Today slid under our door, and in huge font across the front page was written: “POLICE CHIEFS UNDER FIRE ACROSS U.S.” The article went on to describe what we all know, that is, that the trust between law enforcement and the communities it serves has, across the country, deteriorated into a very bad state.

“Never has the job been more difficult than now,” said Darrel Stephens, Executive Director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. He added: “It’s a precarious time.” It certainly is!

The article quoted U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch as stating: “Our work to help law enforcement adjust to the specific challenges of the 21st century has arisen from an intensely difficult set of circumstances.” What the Attorney General states is certainly true. Difficult circumstances are pushing law enforcement to re-assess how things are managed. There is, of course, much needed work to do also on the part of all citizens in all communities.

Every day I see, more and more, the value of coming at being a Contact Professional and a Public Safety Official with a clearly defined service ethos. I knew it years ago. In the last few years, though, it’s become of even more central significance. A clearly defined service ethos, which is essentially a philosophy of how to best serve others, absolutely must be in place. To the degree that it is absent or vague, broken relations will continue to manifest in communities.

For any agency or organization, a clearly defined service ethos should be the driving philosophy for all the tactics, strategies, methods, tools, and techniques used by its professionals. A professional service ethos drives all contacts, all communications, and all encounters, from the most (so-called) mundane meet & greets, up to, and including, serious use of force encounters.
What single value can be taught, and enacted, and brought into, every single breath of Public Safety and Contact Professional work? It is to grant to all persons dignity by showing the respect. That’s it! And it’s the single value that cuts across all sections of a society. It works for all people, of all ages, of all ethnicities, of all religions, and of all cultures.

For Public Safety Officials and Contact Professionals, dignity and respect should always be in the atmosphere of one’s communication with anyone. Even during the most difficult encounters, dignity and respect should never evaporate.

It can, and should, be the atmosphere of the mind, everywhere and always. Keeping it present does not, in the least, compromise safety in any way. If you think it does, then your training is simply broken.

I am so very, very pleased that my department strives to put to use the Verbal Defense & Influence (VDI) program every moment of every day. I have found no better training program. It is a conflict management system. It is a second-to-none customer service program. It also more than this. Its totality is actually a comprehensive service ethos & philosophy – with huge tool-belts of tactics, strategies, methods, tools, and techniques – of how to serve human beings in the most quality way possible.