Holly Springs organization helps police with community relations
Posted December 16, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Garner Police Chief Brandon Zuidema says he constantly talks to his officers about diffusing tense situations.
“The police officers get put in a very difficult spot, often having to make very quick decisions without always a lot of information,” he said.
Garner police and other law enforcement agencies are turning to groups like the International Academy of Public Safety in Holly Springs for in-person and online leadership training to help improve law enforcement's relationship with the community.
The Academy works with about 20 agencies across the state. They have trained 3,500 officers in North Carolina and 11,000 nationwide since starting five years ago.
“When an organization adopts this content, they’re actually being proactive to change the environment within,” said Chris Hoina, a IAPS law enforcement expert who spent 19 years with the Cary Police Department. “The strategies of being a leader are about self-awareness, are about emotional intelligence, what is character, character building.”
Being a leader also includes knowing your boiling point and how to tone it down, said Wellington Scott, the organization’s chief operating officer who spent 28 years with the N.C. State Highway Patrol.
“As law enforcement officers, we've got to empathize with the citizens that we serve and leave that situation whatever that may be better off than it was when we arrived at the scene,” he said.
Zuidema says IAPS’ Credible Leadership Program, which his department has used since March, is working.
“You always have to always continue to work at not only earning, but maintaining the public's trust,” he said.