Police Dynamics in Sierra Leone

Making the decision to retire after serving three terms as the Sheriff in Dorchester County, SC was a difficult one. But I had my time in and my wife and I felt like we should move on to other challenges. It didn’t take me long to find one!

One week after my retirement, I found myself in Sierra Leone, a small country in West Africa. I had been requested by the City Manager of Freetown to present Police Dynamics training to their National Police and Military. So I spent two weeks in this fascinating country that has been ravaged by unimaginable atrocities during a decade of civil unrest due to the conflict diamond trade (watch the movie Blood Diamond and you’ll see what I mean).

By and large, the police are feared by the populace and corruption is a way of life. The leaders there are in the process of rebuilding the government and realize just how important good character is to regaining the trust of the citizens.

One of the attendees, an Inspector named Gusman, had this to say during the closing ceremony to the Mayor of Freetown and members of the City Council:

His comments:

This course will have a profound impact on our professional lives. This course has taught us how bad character will not enable us to achieve our organizational goals…

We have learned that if we become good officers, if we respect our people, if we discharge our duties responsibly, without fear or favor, we will earn the respect of the citizens of this country. They also taught us certain principles about forgiveness, about patience, that we might take to our homes to teach our wives and our children so that collectively all of us will become responsible citizens…

I am very grateful on behalf of our police, to the City Council, and to the Police Dynamics Institute for this effort. I am sure, when we get back to our various institutions, we will share this knowledge that we have learned…

I think Gusman got the message and nicely summed up what Police Dynamics is all about

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