Moving Forward as a Team
I am so appreciative and honored to be appointed commissioner of the Department of Criminal Justice Training. In my service to you, I believe it is important for the Kentucky police community to know my goals for the next four years.
First and foremost, I accepted this position for one reason: to save lives. My main goal is to have zero names added to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial wall each year. That goal is the first thing I think of when I get up in the morning and the last thing before I go to bed at night.
Equally important to me is saving lives and increasing the safety of citizens of the commonwealth.
We are in one of the worst times for law enforcement. Never before have we had the number of attacks on law enforcement, both murders and assaults, and negative feelings from citizen and foreign groups. But, we must keep in mind that the vast majority of citizens support law enforcement – even those who have concerns.
One of my good friends, Daviess County Sheriff Keith Cain, put it best, “You may decide to approach this situation by interacting with the public as an aggressive, untrusting coiled snake ready to strike. Some may decide that ‘backing off’ and being less diligent is the answer. Neither should be viewed as a satisfactory response.
“I am convinced we must move forward as a team, with the same mindset and resolve,” Cain continued.
“First and foremost, we must sustain that which has served us well thus far,” he added. “We must continue building our ‘collateral’ account by caring deeply, being empathetic and acting fearlessly on the concerns of those who need our help. Second, we must prepare like never before. I realize the plethora of training we offer (and encourage) is very difficult to accomplish with the added stress it puts on day-to-day operations, but we must strengthen our efforts to become confident and competent in those skills necessary to survive and protect our country.”
This will be the approach DOCJT will follow — build community trust by treating people with dignity and respect while at the same time training hard on diminishable skills that will keep officers safe.
You continually will hear me speak about diminishable skills. My good friend, Alex Payne, deputy commissioner of the Kentucky State Police, calls this training to the wall, referring to the memorial monument and the ways Kentucky officers are dying on duty. These critical skills include driving, firearms, self-defense, first aid and legal.
As you can tell by my references to Sheriff Cain and Deputy Commissioner Payne this is not simply my mission, it is our collective mission, as we seek to work as a statewide team.
If we truly believe law enforcement is in dangerous times, then we should do everything we can to stay safe. No. 1, wear your vest. There is no excuse for not wearing your vest. Wear your vest and get your fellow law enforcement professionals to do the same.
No. 2, remember that regardless of what has been happening in the world around us, we continue to die from driving more than any other issue. Slow your speed and wear your seat belt when driving.
We will work together to meet these goals and build on the traditions of excellence we have. I truly am honored to lead in our goal of saving lives and increasing the safety of our law enforcement family and citizens of the commonwealth.