MCPA CLEO Academy Day 5, a very full week of learning, a long (and cold and snowy) week away from home, but a very productive and positive week for law enforcement leadership in Minnesota (and a few representatives from North Dakota as well).
As I write this post I’m listening to Major (ret) Mike Asleson, MN State Patrol, give his presentation on “Leadership Legacy” (The last of 25 professional presentations shared this week). I’ve heard the presentation several times and his is one that I always attend. It’s actually more of a commencement address to a wonderful academy experience than a training class. I also love to watch the class and see their responses as they consider what their leadership legacy will be as they enter the world of police command responsibilities. Mike gives a presentation that really reflects upon the “spirit” of the profession, of the job and of ourselves.
As I prepare to leave today I give thanks for the best thing i bring home from this experience… 18 wonderful new relationships. Relationships are the foundation of positive spiritual health. This group in this room today is a positive light source for the darkness that all to often overshadows what truly is a wonderful world.
Take Care, Pr. Dan
If you are looking for details of Day 3 activities you’ll have to stand by for a day or two. I’m not at Camp Ripley today because I came back to the cities to attend a couple other commitments (A LEMA Board Meeting and the annual HCCPA Retiree Luncheon). The best I can do for an update is to share the Day 3 Schedule: Human Resources, Data Practices, Why Chiefs Get Fired, Budgeting and Media Relations. A very full day. I’ll be back on the trail tomorrow to Morrison County for the last two days of the academy (and you’ll get the latest on snow conditions in central Minnesota).
NOTE: I had some technical difficulties with a photo in yesterday’s blog post. The picture of the CLEO Academy welcome sign displayed sideways in the mobile device and the email versions of the post. But the photo was correct in the computer website display version. So I am reposting the photo here, not because it is important, but because I’m trying to figure out what went wrong. If this is information you find unnecessary, don’t waste your time reading this note…oooops… too late!
After an evening of about 6″ of snow last night, this morning we started Day 2 of our MCPA (MN Chiefs of Police Assoc.) CLEO (Chief Law Enforcement Officer) Academy. Our first session today was led by Neil Melton, the Executive Director of the MN POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) Board. I’ve known Neil for years and his presentation presentation is always well received and informative. Following Neil’s presentation the class will receive instruction on Internal Affairs, Emergency Management and Diversity. Yesterday’s classes included CLEO Certification, Chief Transitions, Leadership and… Personal Health and Fitness.
One of these days I need to figure out how many years I’ve been attending these academies. I do know it has been quite a few years and at 4 per year I believe I’m well into double digits of academy attendance. That being said, my role has changed and evolved as I follow the basic tactical plan of public safety chaplains: Show Up, Stay Out of the Way, Be Helpful.
At most academies I have the opportunity to introduce myself and share some of the basic principles of my mission with Public Safety Ministries, “To Provide Spiritual Health Care Services to Public Safety Professionals Throughout Minnesota”. At this academy we are trying a little different format for my presentation. I get 15 minutes the first day to introduce myself and describe the basic principles of spiritual health and fitness. The following diagram is the image I want to leave with the attendees:
Three Components of Life – Body, Mind and Soul – Physical, Intellectual/Mental and Spiritual.
In this first session I challenge the class to take time during the week to see how the training they receive impacts their Physical, Intellectual/Mental and Spiritual Health. Then on the last day of class I get another 30 minutes to review how the academy has impacted their personal and professional health. The last thing I do is give them a few simple exercises to help them in the long term development of their spiritual health and fitness.
The thing that I most appreciate about this week of training is the relationships that develop. It is through theses relationships with classmates, instructors, staff and themselves, that the spiritual health of all involved is most nourished.
Take Care, Pr. Dan
Oh yeah, and we got more snow..
IT”S WINTER UP HERE!!
One of my favorite parts oF the work I do is spending time at Camp Ripley, a military training facility operated by the Minnesota National Guard. The MN National Guard also partners with non-military organizations who utilize their training facilities. This week I will be instructing at the MCPA (Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association) CLEO (Chief Law Enforcement Officer) / Command Academy. The academy starts today and goes through Friday. I instruct a course today and another on Friday covering topics related to personal health and fitness.
I attend four MCPA academies and one LEMA (Law Enforcement Memorial Association) honor guard training camp every year. Sometimes I stay here in camp facilities, sometimes I camp at Crow Wing State Park, and sometimes I camp at our family cabin. In December I usually stay here, and go back to the cities for a day or two to meet some of my other commitments.
As I’m writing this, Chief Mike Goldstein of the Plymouth Police Department is presenting a course on “Leadership”. A tough act to follow (I’m up next, right before dinner) since his leadership course is always one of the highest rated by the students (chiefs and command officers from throughout Minnesota). I hope to share more from the academy as the week goes on. It is a great opportunity for law enforcement professionals to develop themselves in Body, Mind and Soul.
Take Care, Pr. Dan
Every month I write a short “Spiritual Fitness Exercise” message that I distribute to a few of the churches that help sponsor Public Safety Ministries. Those churches usually publish the message in their monthly newsletters. I often receive positive comments on those messages so I thought I’d start sharing them here on our website as well…
“Ahhh… and there’s the Light”
“It’s getting dark.” No, this isn’t a metaphor created for this message. It really is getting dark out there. This is the time of year when daylight decreases and the darkness we face increases. And how do we respond to the darkness? We turn on our lights. Why? So that we can see. Simple.
During my past seven years as a police chaplain, I have spent hundreds of hours with police, fire and EMS professionals as they face the challenges of their jobs. From our time together I have found a constant theme among those who are experiencing challenges in their lives: darkness and loneliness. (Okay, so I guess we are heading for a metaphor here…) My job with these people is simple: “I share light with those who are alone in the dark.”
My job isn’t to tell people where to find their light source, nor is it to give them my light source. My job is to simply walk with those who are alone in the dark, sharing the light I carry, so that they can find their own light. It’s much like having a neighbor who is alone at home, in a storm, in the dark, whose power goes out and they loose their light. The neighbor probably has a flashlight (but the batteries are dead and they can’t find the spares), or a lantern (but they can’t find it in the dark mess in the basement), or even a cell phone with a flashlight app (that they left in the car that the kid took to work). The light we all need to survive is there, our personal light is there, but sometimes we just can’t find it. We need our neighbor with a light to help us see where it is.
So as these days of darkness come upon us, do an inventory of your light sources. Take some time this holiday season to get together with family, friends and neighbors to share some light. And take the time to experience the joy in hearing someone (or even yourself) say “Ahhh… and there’s the Light!”
Take Care, Pastor Dan