Law Enforcement Leadership Attributes to Employ During Crisis

As in any profession, most law enforcement executives are equipped with the relevant knowledge, skills, resources and tools to be successful leaders. Whether on-the-line or executive leaders, law enforcement officers work with their communities to address safety and security issues and solve problems. Being a successful law enforcement officer means being an effective leader who understands the need to efficiently oversee the implementation of your agency’s goals. For most agencies this goal is to ensure the safety and security of members of their communities and their properties. Law enforcement officers require effective leadership skills to navigate through the many challenges we face today, from managing public riots to enforcing public health regulations as we are currently experiencing.

So, whether you are an on-the-line officer or an executive leader, you require certain must-have attributes to be successful on the job especially during crisis. Here are 10 of those attributes:

  • Listening actively: Listening carefully most often than not exposes evidence or knowledge of a situation that we otherwise will not have. It also puts officers in a better position to exercise immediate judgement in a situation. When you give your undivided attention to someone and are non-judgmental, they are more likely to open up to you and help you make your best judgement in the end.
  • Education/training: Every law enforcement executive must appreciate the need to build on their job and leadership skills sets. Whether it is seeking higher formal education, or taking advantage of online training courses, or attending subject-matter trainings like the RTC offers, it is evident that continued training is necessary for all law enforcement officers in this dynamic world.
  • Attention to detail: This is relevant for many aspects of law enforcement including deciding which personnel are the best to undertake certain assignments. This attribute will help a good leader know for instance that assigning an officer to undertake an assignment in his neighborhood will come with many advantages but could pose some challenges.
  • Directions: Law enforcement officers must know that their approach to giving orders or directions to their fellows cannot be the same when dealing with members of the community. You must know your audience and adopt the most effective way of communicating orders or requirements to them.
  • Evolution: Law enforcement officers must have the ability to adapt to situations in their communities to ensure safety and security. This could mean understanding basic principles of public health to enforce recommended healthcare actions during health crisis like the Covid19 pandemic. Many countries in Africa have had to employ this attribute to ensure the safety of their citizens in these times.
  • Resourcefulness: Being innovative when carrying out your duties as a law enforcement executive cannot be overemphasized during crisis. Officers must always be ready to pull out from their skill sets and use their creativity to confront different situation.
  • Service: Officers must never forget that one of the basic principles of their job is to provide service to their communities.
  • Humor: Even in these uncertain times, it is important to know that the social skill of humor helps a lot in making people feel at ease around law enforcement officers, especially now that countries have deployed officers on every road in every community. But this must be exercised with great discretion based on the situation.
  • Integrity: Possessing this attribute reinforces law enforcement’s commitment to their goals and the community’s expectations of officers. This attribute will also make it easy for the community to accept law enforcement directions during crisis.
  • People: Law enforcement must acknowledge that the people in their communities are the reason for their job. To make their work successful, officers must try to practice the “people person” personality. This will help them to be easily accepted in the community where they find themselves and open helpful avenues for them to do their jobs.

Listening, Education, Attention to detail, Direction, Evolution, Resourcefulness, Service, Humor, Integrity and People (LEADERSHIP) are key for effective law enforcement leadership everyday but especially during crisis. Law enforcement executives must arm themselves with these attributes and always know which ones to activate based on the situation.