The Ten Virtues of a Law Officer – Virtue #5

The fifth virtue in the Ten Virtues of a Law Officer series states:

(I will purpose to) Strengthen society’s foundational unit of
order, the family, by supplying love, provision, direction and protection to my own family; and supporting and encouraging others to do the same.

The family really is the foundational unit of order in any society. And your job as peacekeepers is relatively easy when families are strong. That’s why Reactive and Proactive Policing are workable models when things are going well. It’s fairly easy for law enforcement and local governments to move a community forward when the roadway is nice, smooth, and well-maintained.

But what happens when the roadbed begins to crumble? What happens when that foundational unit of order begins to struggle, to destabilize, and in many cases fall apart all together? We find ourselves bogged down in the muck and mire of lawlessness, social disorder, and moral decay.

To pull us out of that rut, we need Four-wheel Drive Policing. This is the Coactive model where we get the other components of the community engaged and pulling in the same direction. Only then will we see our communities rise out of the muck and mire and get on down the road toward peace, safety, stability, and prosperity.

So there are two goals for Coactive, Character-based Policing: Peaceful neighborhoods and stable and successful families. Some might challenge me at this point and ask, “What right do I have to tell someone else how to raise their families? That’s not my job. That’s not the role of government.” My answer to that challenge is, “Oh, yeah? At 3 o’clock in the morning, when the family is in crisis, who is it that responds?” It’s not typically the social workers or the family counselors. Some pastors might not even get out of bed at that hour. It’s you!

So my point is that your are already engaging when the family is at a crisis point. I’m just saying let’s do it more coactively. Let’s do it more strategically. And let’s set a good example.

What about our own families? Maybe we should start there. There’s no question that our law enforcement families are under some unique pressures. And we are paying a high price with our divorce rates and levels of domestic violence.

Let’s start by becoming the spouses and parents that we want others to be. Let’s set the moral standard of family stewardship. That’s what Virtue #5 is all about…

Sheriff Ray Nash
Police Dynamics Institute

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