Are you a Warrior or a Guardian?

Maybe that vein in your neck bulges just to hear the question.

You’re not alone. Gauntlets are being thrown against both words. Seth Stoughton calls the warrior mentality a “Problem.” Dave Smith calls a guardian mindset the position of “uninformed activists.”

The topic cuts to the core of identity as law enforcement officers. Who are you in uniform? Who are you when you take the uniform off? Who are you at the core?

Warrior v GuardianIt also hints at another question:  what about law enforcement sets it apart from other “jobs?”

High standards, professional behavior, and trust are all familiar concepts. Less familiar might be a holistic view of law enforcement as a profession – both similar and unique among other recognized professions.

My background is in one of those other professions – the military. During my years of service as an Infantryman, I was privileged to learn from leaders who carefully shaped the professional identities of their units. Mistakes and bad behaviors were sometimes warded off from a simple understanding of “that’s not who we are.”

Still, at the time, I did not fully understand or appreciate what it meant to be part of a profession. A few years ago, the Army went through an extensive, several-year campaign of debating and communicating exactly that: what it means to be part of a profession.

I had the opportunity to learn and to teach during that campaign. And I think the lessons are timely for law enforcement today.

I’d like to share some of those insights and host a conversation for you and your fellow leaders on what that means for the profession of law enforcement. This course gives us the chance to do that:

Warriors & Guardians: Keeping Our Profession