Chief, what’s your duty — to employees — to community members?

To be a leader is to be a courageous servant committed to the growth of those whom you are privileged to lead.

Is there no end to books on leadership! I can’t count the number of books I have read that addressed this important subject.

But if I was to distill everything I have ever read and experienced I would have to simply say (yet so hard to practice) to be a leader is to be a courageous servant committed to the growth of those whom you are privileged to lead.

Jean Vanier (1928-2019) comes to mind. He was a Canadian philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian. In 1964, he founded L’Arche, an international federation of communities spread over 37 countries, for people with developmental disabilities and those who assist them. He knew a lot about leadership. Listen to how he described the duties of a leader.

“The leader is the guardian of unity. He or she must thirst for unity and work for it day and night. For this, the leader must not fear conflict, but rather accept it and strive to be an instrument of reconciliation: the leader must be in contact with all the different elements in the community, and particularly with those who are in pain or who are angry with the community.”

Leaders press for unity, do not avoid conflict, seek reconciliation, and connect with those who are in pain or angry with the organization the leader represents.

Historically, most police leaders do very well in supporting their men and women in the ranks. And yes, that is part of their duty and, I might say, the easy part.

But there is another part of being a leader and it is far more difficult and that is to develop a trusting relationship not only with the rank and file but also with those in the community who have been harmed by police and are angry. Sometimes those two duties conflict.

Leadership is being the cop’s leader, but also the people’s leader in the police department.

What happens when a police leader stands with the community on an issue like this?

What makes leadership difficult is that second and more difficult duty and to have the skills and heart to resolve conflicts between police and citizens when they occur.

Actually, few police leaders seem to be up to it.

However, those leaders who are able to do this are to be honored (and protected).

(To find out a great deal about leading police, search the 1500+ posts on this blog. Use the search engine in the right column using the word “Leadership.” You’ll be pleased!)

G pilice


  1. Yes, those who stand up and do
    the right thing are to be honored.

    I, sadly, am dealing with police corruption involving the brutal murder of my precious son in Baltimore County.

    His death is confirmed a homicide by an assault by the medical examiners but the police detective and prosecutor have opposed the expert medical examiners findings and conclusion and tell us that a homicide by an assault is not a crime.

    This is outrageous and unconscionable.

    The Medical Examiners in Baltimore studied all of the facts, physics, forensics and evidence as well as crime scene photographs and prove
    my son was brutally pushed/knocked into the path of a reversing Bobcat and crushed to death.

    We know who killed him and how.
    So do the police and the Baltimore County Prosecutor. But they have beaten me and my family down for years and the cover up is despicable and unlawful.
    The malfeasance committed by the police and prosecutor must be interrogated and exposed. They continue to hide behind the Immunity laws and this is outrageous and disgraceful.
    The immediate laws must be reformed now.

    Adrienne Miranda

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Very powerful! Servant leadership is the hardest form, especially when you are behind the eight ball. Although the fire service is not running into a lot of these issues, we do have a high trust that we have to earn and maintain as well. Servant leadership in the community is critical for public safety to have a great relationship with the community. Great post Sir!


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