Lately, I have read multiple articles surrounding the Hillsboro, Oregon police department and how they are integrating mindfulness into the lives of their officers. I decided to Google the top qualities that a police officer should possess. Out of all of the articles that I read, the following five qualities were the most prevailiant:
- Problem Solving
All of these skills and abilities can be enhanced and improved through the practice of mindfulness. Police officers in early training are taught to be nonjudgemental in all situations, which is a key element in mindfulness. Cheri Maples, co-founder for the Center for Mindfulness and Justice believes that mindfulness can be used as a tool for officers to cope with stress, trauma, and emotions. The following is a great quote from Cheri on changing organizational culture:
“The first and most important thing I have found in changing an organizational culture from within is understanding that it doesn’t have to come from the top down. What you stand for personally is important, because inner integrity is infinite. And you can do it!”Mindfulness starts within each individual. Police officers have a higher chance for divorce, alcoholism, and suicide over other professions. To help address these issues and improve coping mechanisms, Richard Goerling, former Lieutenant for the Hillsboro Police Department started to research how to improve communication and emotional intelligence. When researching these topics to help educate officers, he came across the practice of mindfulness. Cultivating mindfulness leads to greater awareness and increases empathy. It helps regulate psychological and biological responses to stress and improves cognitive performance. Officers can embrace and further develop their abilities with mindful driving, mindful listening, and mindful problem solving. Goerling is striving to fundamentally improve the overall wellness of law enforcement across the U.S. and to improve citizen and officer relationships.
Mindfulness can help to enforce the peace with law enforcement by building community and reducing overall risk with the following benefits:
- Build Resiliency
- Preventative Mental/Physical Health Care
- Improve Focus
- Find the Calm
- Be in the Present Moment
If you are in law enforcement, would you be open to learning more about mindfulness? If you are not in law enforcement, how do you think your industry could benefit from mindfulness? Please share your comments below.