I have not been in the police profession for very long; however, my 36 years in the military, commanding men and women at every level of command, including the general officer level, has given me the training, experience, and understanding of how to organize effective systems and processes that can translate to an effective strategy. In addition, over the past seven years, I have had the opportunity to discuss law enforcement challenges with policing, recruiting, training, mental health, and retention with many police officers at the patrol officer level to chiefs of police, sheriffs, commissioners, prosecutors, defense attorneys, mental health and social work professionals, members of many communities, and convicted lawbreakers. I have talked with many local, state, and federal law enforcement organizations and civil rights organizations about the same topics. 

I will stipulate that I am neither an expert nor a senior police official. I am the most junior patrol officer in my department. In my quest to self-educate, I found the amount of information, studies, theories, articles, and opinions overwhelming and impossible for one person to research and absorb. However, I gave it my best shot, and I approach this with respect, humility, and admiration for those in the law enforcement profession.

Special Operations Training

My Special Operations training, education, and experience have allowed me to conduct training and operations in many countries that require law order, security, and safety of citizens by police and military organizations. In Afghanistan, I helped create and lead the most successful population-centric program in the villages of Afghanistan. The program created Afghan Local Police who were trained to protect the population against the Taliban and al Qaeda. The program, known as village stability operations, helped to secure over 90% of Afghanistan’s rural areas, bringing peace, safety, and stability to Afghan villages. The Afghan Local Police were respected and trusted by the populace. The lessons I learned about population-centric programs and humanitarian assistance programs in a combat zone apply to effective policing. We did have instances of misconduct, but they were dealt with effectively and efficiently, with accountability being the highest priority. I learned this can be done through quality leadership, better training, accountability, and community engagement.

There are many policies, strategies, operational approaches, and tactics in the best way to conduct war, recruit, train, employ, resource, and retain military personnel. None of them is a panacea. They must be based on quality leadership, adaptability, flexibility, change, and focus on the future.