Leadership View: New Perspectives Shine Throughout Public Safety Conferences
Authored by Khristian Gutierrez, CEO
We are in the thick of conference season in the public safety space, and CivicEye is participating in many events. In my time on the road recently, I’ve had the distinct opportunity and honor to shake hands with Sheriffs and Police Chiefs from around the Country and better understand the local pressures facing communities.
In a two-week whirlwind of travel, my team and I spent time at the annual conferences for the FBI National Academy Associates, Inc. (FBINAA) and the NOBLE – National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and learned about their norm-shifting work across the public safety industry. These world-class organizations put the best of public safety on full display. Moreover, I felt welcome as a civilian participant at these events and enjoyed the atmospheres of growth, learning, and camaraderie. As a background to these two groups:
- The FBI National Academy Associates, Inc. (FBINAA) is a non-profit, international organization of 16,000+ senior law enforcement professionals dedicated to providing our communities, states, countries, and profession with the highest degree of law enforcement expertise, training, education, and information. Members are graduates of the FBI’s prestigious National Academy Program, representing all 50 states, 194 countries, and over 8,200 law enforcement agencies. More than 53,000 graduates have completed the FBINA Program.
- The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) was founded in September 1976 on the premise that black law enforcement executives could more effectively impact the criminal justice system through a unified voice. NOBLE raises questions about relevant issues such as fairness in the administration of justice, police-community relations, the hiring and promotion of black police officers, and the unique problems of black police executives. NOBLE is comprised of 59 chapters in six regions throughout the United States.
As the CEO of CivicEye, I am proud that one of our guiding principles is “New Perspectives; No Ego,” which helps to inform how our team members should operate daily. The idea behind this principle is to embrace a changing environment and accept that there are always new variables to consider. Titles don’t matter when it comes to driving our business forward, navigating new variables, and learning new things. The benefit of building a diverse team is that everyone brings a different experience to the table and the best idea always wins. “Because we’ve always done it this way” is never an acceptable response, and we welcome new ideas and solutions to problems in the best interests of the communities we serve.
We saw similar principles emanating from each law enforcement officer and executive we met at these conferences. It showed in their eagerness to address the most significant and complex challenges in public safety today, including recruitment of officers, budget cuts and reallocations; data-driven crime prevention and lack of digital infrastructure; officer accountability; and the inability to effectively partner across jurisdictions.
There was a massive push at both conferences to increase public and community trust through shared values. I was fortunate to sit in a class at the NOBLE conference led by Dr. Booker Hodges, DPA, Chief of Police of Bloomington, MN. He provided a shining example of leadership steering with a new perspective and lens on recruiting. He discussed his team’s hard and fast rule of “hiring for character and training for competency” and how this has fundamentally changed both the makeup and outcomes delivered by his broader team. Dr. Hodges even shocked the room by declaring that his department doesn’t accept job applications that don’t demonstrate a recent and current history of volunteerism in the community. He was steadfast that it wasn’t just essential to get numbers up on his team but to get the right people in the seat that have already proven their excitement to serve the community. As a result, he’s seen a drastic increase in commendations and an equal decrease in demerits when hiring for character traits such as integrity and professionalism and seeking out potential “personable officers.”
Our team at CivicEye is more energized than ever to partner with criminal justice professionals and support them as they steer the myriad of challenges facing their departments and work hard to deliver new approaches to solve long-standing issues. These professionals navigate local and federal political headwinds daily and remain focused on keeping their communities safe. We’re humbled to partner with the leaders and membership of FBINAA and NOBLE and are grateful each day for the opportunity to play a role in supporting their efforts.
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