How Leading a Group of 500 Police Executives Requires Deeper Learning
Brentwood Police Chief Jeff Hughes reflects on his time as President of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police
For Chief Jeff Hughes, serving as the President of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police was just that: serving. Whether he was serving the citizens of Brentwood or the 500 plus members of the Tennessee association, he embodied the code of many men and women that put on the uniform every day.
But a servant’s heart, as he puts it, can’t get the job done alone. As head of the association, the now past-president was tasked with leading the association’s members in their mission to establish best practices and provide training.
Leading the association pushed Chiefs Hughes into many new situations that were different from his days patrolling Brentwood or even managing the whole department. The differences between a rural police department with three officers and the Metro Nashville Police Department with over 1450 officers were often numerous – but he was constantly reminded that no town is immune to crime.
Police chiefs need to constantly learn new skills, collaborate with each other to establish best responses, and keep moving to protect public safety.
One issue he saw time and time again was departments lacking the manpower, equipment or specific skillsets to respond appropriately to every situation. In these cases, the power of the network kicked into gear as chiefs worked together to help one another. As technology and laws change, and public perceptions ebb and flow, police chiefs need to constantly learn new skills, collaborate with each other to establish best responses, and keep moving to protect public safety.
Collaboration. Communication. Critical Thinking. Continual Learning.
Put simply, leading the diverse group of members in the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police required Chief Hughes to utilize some of the main principles of what practitioners call deeper learning.
Deeper learning is comprised of six interrelated competencies that reflect the skills students should be developing the classroom to prepare them for the working world. As the economy evolves and the importance of analytical skills and teamwork increase, the ability to solve complex problems and work well with others will matter more than memorizing content. Developing these skills not only increases students’ success in the working world, it can steer them away from crime. Many police chiefs have also seen firsthand how a lack of social and communication skills can lead an individual to drop out of school and down a path of crime. Almost 7 in 10 inmates in state prisons across America failed to graduate from high school.
That’s why Deeper Learning is so important to Chief Hughes. Not only is it a set of principles that reflect the teamwork and resourcefulness you need to manage a Police Department, it is a set of principles that guide kids toward success and onto a path toward productive lives.
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