The Leaderist is a podcast about improving the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve through enhanced leadership.
Hosts Lexi and Cali talk morale in the wake of so many high profile LEO shootings. How does one go on doing the job when they are met with negativity at every turn? Who will pick up the pieces and protect the innocent when great officers have had enough and leave this career? How do we encourage those who are scared of police or who hate officers to engage in meaningful conversation? We dive into how to maintain a healthy mindset during these exceptionally challenging times.
After 26 years in the CIA, Marc Polymeropoulos had more than a few great stories to tell. A mysterious injury plagued Marc with vertigo and chronic migraines and with little to no support from the CIA, Marc decided to take his health into his own hands. Working through trauma and injury is a complicated process even for the toughest who serve. Our conversation with Marc revels how finally getting the proper treatment for his diagnosis saved his mental and physical health.
The general understanding of trauma is that the more you talk about it, the better you'll feel. Resilience and trauma specialist, Tara Miller doesn't necessarily agree. She contends that HOW you talk about it is the most important factor in healing. Having worked with many first responders, she's all too familiar with the acute and cumulative stresses of the job. Hear how she teachers her clients to approach these challenges to enhance their longevity in this career.
From fitness, to boxing, to Krav Maga, and police work, Freddy Camacho goes hard in just about everything. He's got a personality too big for the internet, reference his One World Fitness blog which gained him a lot of notoriety, and a heart equally as big. Freddy said he was able to protect his love for community and police work during the last few years simply by knowing his identity was more than just his occupation. We are grateful for life lessons from this dynamic guest and former LEO.
What makes Kaz Kazadi an incredible human is not his athletic skill, coaching prowess, or even his vast historical knowledge, it's his ability to inspire. His story of coming to America from Zaire (currently the Democratic Republic of Congo) is unique but his experience as a man of color is not. Kaz leads us through his personal philosophy for questioning everything and taking nothing for granted as well as embracing discomfort. He's leading his college age athletes with these values and we are honored to apply them to our work in law enforcement.
Building relationships is paramount for any successful coaching or mentoring to occur. Likewise, in police work, relationships and trust are what the communities demand. Bo Sandoval points out more than a few correlations between LEO and UFC. Having learned under some incredible mentors, Bo considers himself lucky to have received guidance early on in his career, eventually leading him to the UFC Performance Institute. Now he's sharing his spirit of service: "If you want to make a difference, it's a marathon."
Coaching is about mentoring, teaching, loving, and nurturing. Coaches Jonathan Rogers and Corey Sampson talk to us about their roles as leaders not only on the field but in their community. While the pandemic and racial issues hit their students hard, these mentors view their role as a privilege. Navigating the anti-police movement with today's youth hasn't been easy, but they have led by example engaging in these difficult conversations.
Tanji Johnson describes the Air Force Academy as a "Leadership Laboratory". A graduate of the military institution, Tanji takes with her a depth of understanding and appreciation for leadership development that most will never experience. Her most challenging endeavor while enrolled was the rigorous training required to make the Honor Guard. These physical challenges instilled a resilience that she carried with her throughout her career as a fitness competitor and entrepreneur.
Could neuroscience not only explain how difficult decisions are made, but also be utilized to improve the efficacy of law enforcement? Mike Malpass says absolutely. His book, Taming the Serpent, addresses just that. With a 30 year career under his belt and a strong connection with his community, he is passionate about equipping new cops with the best brain training available so they can continue to keep their beat safe.
Lexi & Cali celebrate 10 episodes of The Leaderist. As they reminisce about their conversations with guests, they also talk about how the've applied some of the lessons learned. What's to come for the next 10 episodes? Guess you'll have to tune in to find out!
When it comes to BJJ training for law enforcement, Ari Knazan and Jason Rebsch are your guys. With their amassed knowledge of police work and their years of Jiu-Jitsu they realize just what an impact this kind of training can have on officers mentally and physically. Equipping officers with hands on skills and stress drilling instills confidence and leads to better decision making. This approach to training equates to safer interactions with out communities.
Take care of your people. That is the sentiment expressed by Sgt Brandon James. A connection to previous Leaderist guest, Chief Andy McCurdy's brother, Patrick, led Brandon down the path towards law enforcement, mentorship, and leadership. Brandon embraces his role and emphatically reminds his people that family comes first. He believes that with life balance, humility, and a willingness to do the same things you ask your officers to do, you can create a culture of healthy leadership. Leadership is not about doing things perfectly, he says. It's about having the vulnerability to do things, sometimes make mistakes, and own up to them. Communicating this is how we begin to build relationships with our community and within our own departments.
What does Officer Wellness have to do with our community? Everything. From training preparedness to optimal mental health, our communities expect that the officer arriving on scene is in the proper physical and mental condition to meet the needs of that situation. Matt Domyancic has dedicated a lifetime to making this Wellness training the norm in departments. Often an uphill battle, he sees the current climate as an opportunity to showcase just what taking care of our First Responders can do for our relationship with the communities we serve.
Rosell Ellis is an officer in the area he grew up in. He believes it's important to stay true to his experience, his "story", of growing up around police officers...which might surprise you. He has been working in patrol and as a school resource officer. He saw it as his job to build relationships with the kids so that they would associate police on the street with his work inside the school. He's an officer who believes that the path to unity starts with conversations with our community.
Tyson Shumway is an officer in a large department in California who has a unique perspective. As a former academy instructor he get’s to see he recruits evolve throughout the process. Tyson shares with us his insight on this transformation, he’s experiences with the community, and maybe most importantly, the definition of a Servant Leader. Getting back to the basics of the “servant” mentality is Tyson’s suggestion for struggling departments everywhere.
Retired Sheriff Currie Myers, Ph.D., is a senior Visiting Fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He has spoken on criminal justice public policy across the country. Sheriff Myers was a participant in the White House’s 2015 Criminal Justice Reform Summit. He has a combined 30 years of professional experience as a state trooper, special agent, sheriff, criminologist, professor, and university executive.
Craig Hanaumi is a police officer for Bellevue PD in Washington and he is all about connecting with the community. All you have to do is peruse his IG to get a sense for what kind of cop he is. When he’s not skateboarding and playing with the local youth, he’s prioritizing his defensive tactics training. Maybe the best part about Craig is that he seems to not take himself too seriously, and yet, he has a deep appreciation for the importance of knowing the community he serves.
When you combine courage, compassion, and competence, Chief Andy McCurdy believes you’ve got yourself an effective leader both in the community and the workplace. He has seen community service save careers and end a pervasive “us vs them” mentality. In an age and occupation where negativity is abundant, it’s imperative that individuals seek positive engagement. “We need to get to know each other as human beings - it’s that simple” Wise words from this week’s guest on The Leaderist.
Meet your hosts, Lexi Harris and Cali Hinzman! Get to know these two as they discuss their history in law enforcement and their vision for The Leaderist. These are not your average cops and this is not your average leadership podcast. It's slightly above average...
"You have to see the humanity in yourself to see the humanity in others."
"There can no longer be a debate on the issue of care."
"Anything that overwhelms the nervous system is trauma."
"Being a cop was never my identity."
"Difficult conversations are repeated conversations."
"If you want to make a difference, it's a marathon."
"It's a privilege to coach."
"Perseverance is a choice."
"Taming the Serpent"
Reflecting on leadership lessons.
"Disciplined officers are successful officers."
"Take care of your people."
"Pain shared is pain divided."
"I'm not your parent. I'm not your teacher. I'm a police officer and I'd like to be your friend."
"Put the people that you're serving first."
"Ultimately, the organization reflects the character of the leader."
"It requires an investment of time and the return is often unknown and could be several years down the line"