Sowing Seeds

images-1Another Madison, Wisc. police leader moves out to spread the gospel of quality leadership and community-oriented policing.

A number of years ago, Capt. Mike Masterson left Madison to become chief of police in Boise, Idaho. He has successfully led this department for over ten years and seeded the field in the west.

Before that Mike Scott left for Harvard Law School and then on to administrative level positions at a number of police departments including St. Louis, Mo., Ft. Pierce, Florida, and New York City before being selected as chief of police in  Lauderhill, Fla. Scott went on to put together the highly successful Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) Center at the University of Wisconsin.

Now Cameron McLay, newly retired Madison police captain, has been selected to head Pittsburgh, Penn. police. See McLay’s appointment announced HERE. Prof. David Kennedy of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York recently said this about Madison, “Madison is known in policing circles for decades as a very capable and forward-thinking department. They’ve been very serious about it and Madison’s been ahead of the curve for 30 years. I think [McLay] is exactly what Pittsburgh needs.”

Perhaps the long-awaited “seeding” of the “Madison Method” and the collaborative leadership style Madison developed in the 1980s will take deeper roots in American policing. (See my blog “Passing the Torch: Why Aren’t There More Lakewoods?“)

When I retired, I gave this talk in Washington, DC which was later picked up and reproduced in the March, 1994 issue of the “FBI Bulletin.” It was there that I first talked about “The Seven Seeds of Policing.”

  1. The Seed of Leadership: “It is time to move from fear to fostering. It is time to stress listening, coaching, and fostering employee development as the three most important characteristics of a police leader.
  1. The Seed of Knowledge: “It is time to move from diplomas to degrees. It is time to institute the bachelor’s degree as the entry requirement into the policing profession and an advanced degree for top leadership positions.”
  1. The Seed of Creativity: “It is time to move from the wasteland to the heartland. It is time to move from being the wasteland of the status quo to being the center of creativity and innovation in government–its heartland.
  1. The Seed of Problem Solving: “It is time to move from suppression to solution. It is time to understand that reacting to and suppressing problems must be complemented by action–by problem solving, preventive strategies, and moving upstream to work on the causes of the social problems that perplex us.”
  1. The Seed of Diversity: “It is time to move from relatives to rainbows. It is time, once and for all, to create police departments that, through staffing, reflect the many colors of the Nation’s communities, rather than simply the color of the majority of the population.
  1. The Seed of Force Control: “It is time to move from muscle to mediation. It is time to identify what is killing children. It is time to reinforce our commitment to support the alternatives to violence and the use of deadly force only to save a human life. It is also time to speak to the value of every human life, whether it is threatened by a police bullet or the gas chamber.
  1. The Seed of Community Policing: “Police must move from the practical to the ethical…”move from occupier to organizermove from controlling to caringmove from time to turf… Finally, the police must move from finesse to philosophy. Most police leaders are still talking program when it comes to community policing–another program in a long line of police department programs… Police leaders need to stop talking about community policing and just start doing it…”

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.




  1. AAHHH. DOnt forget ttwo other colleagues, Police Chief Jeff Chudnow in Florida and Chief Bill Housley in Granby, CO.


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