Over the last several years there has been much discussion in policing on the terms warrior and guardian or I should say, warrior verses guardian. The political climate and or political correctness from both inside and outside policing has clouded and created much uncertainty, that puts both police and those they serve in danger. For generations, police have trained, fought crime and violence and died because of what some men did contrary to our way of life. The American way of life. In the name of progress somehow it became believable that the warrior mindset is no longer needed in modern day society. The term guardian is the “new name” in vouge, and has seemed to taken out or neglected the importance of both persuasion (guardian) and force (warrior) in policing.
My thinking has always been the warrior and guardian are one in the same. It has always been a police officers and their agencies main focus of effort to “protect and serve” the people in their communities. Police are peacekeepers first. Always have been and always will be peacekeepers. This is especially so, in policing a free society. At times, and I mean rarely (1.4% of all police contacts annually result in police use of force) police must use force to protect those we serve and our way of life. Conflict, crime and violence have always been part of the human condition. Most conflicts are resolved peacefully (98.6%) of police contacts are resolved with little or no force being used at all. Yet, there still remains amongst us those who will make efforts to resolve conflict with violence. Police officers must be prepared to deal with these people and this requires the physical skills and mindset necessary to prevail as they protect and serve.
Conflict unfolds in three dimensions the physical, the mental and the moral. The physical are the techniques, tactics and procedures used by both the adversary and the police. The physical skills sets are relatively easy to learn, although they take much time and practice to master. The physical skills of fighting and shooting are examples. The mental dimension is more difficult to learn but it entails ones cognitive abilities to observe, orient, decide and act under the pressure of conflict. Again both adversary and police are impacted by the mental dimension. The moral dimension requires we know who we are, what we are duty bound to do and why we do it. The moral is the most powerful dimension and impacts, the police, the adversary and the people we serve. Its based on the moral standards of what is right and wrong, legal and illegal, legitimate or illegitimate, respectful or disrespectful and is based heavily on peoples perceptions of what took place. I believe this lack of understanding in these three dimensions and how they tie together is where the “warrior verses guardian gap” gets exploited on both sides of the argument.
The police are protectors and guardians. What connects them is a common ethos. Ethos, is a Greek word meaning “character” that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, ideology or a police force. We must address the realities of policing that include conflict and violence, and the use of persuasion and force and the physical, mental and moral conditioning necessary to not only prevail in a fight but to win in the yes of the people we serve. In policing a free society the strategies and tactics we use must be seen as legitimate. This is a complex and emotional topic but my goal is to attempt to bridge the warrior verses guardian gap that has created so much turmoil throughout society. My premise is that policing and those we police must understand peacekeeping requires both the warrior spirit that is rooted in the protector and guardian ethos that makes up the American way of life.
Building on the symbols and traditions of the force, the policing indoctrinates its ethos into recruits during basic training. A “police academy” certainly challenges men and women fresh from high school or college, and brings them, firmly and quickly, into the police culture. But does this indoctrination into police culture actually build both the ethical framework , those value and traits (strength of character, courage (moral and physical), respect, honor, integrity, trust, justice, dependability, discipline, selfless service, etc.) to tie in with the physical and tactical skills necessary to carry out police duties effectively while at the same time building trust throughout our communities?
“Placing ethics first, ahead of physical, tactical concerns, isn’t simply more difficult because it requires more training, more study, and skill. It’s more life threatening because it forces us to risk our lives for ourselves and others and thereby requires greater fortitude of will for the courage to act.” ― from “The Protector Ethic: Morality, Virtue, and Ethics in the Martial Way”
This quote, speaks to what I believe is the often forgotten or perhaps I should say overlooked attribute of moral courage, which is a key component to strength of character. Strength of character is the bedrock of which an ethos is built upon and connects the philosophical beliefs we must hold true with the physical and tactical skills necessary to influence the physical, mental and moral categories of conflict. Leaders in policing must ensure they not only develop an officers physical skills, they must as well develop the mental conditioning to decide under pressure and the moral dimension that our ethos is built upon.
“A leader that seeks out responsibility and has a fondness for responsibility as well as the making and standing by their decisions in the face of the enemy, peers and superiors.”
Police officers and their leaders must demonstrate the courage, strength of character, physical and mental toughness, and values required to succeed as an police officer before they can even begin to know why and when to apply the tactics and skill sets necessary to protect and serve effectively.
- Lives a life that complies with the honor code and policing values
- Displays the police ethos
- Physically fit and mentally tough, with habits and knowledge to lead a life of fitness
- Demonstrates consistent sound judgment
- Overcomes peer pressure to make difficult right choices
- Demonstrates self-confidence
- Considered by peers and seniors as a team player
- Demonstrates self discipline and personal accountability
- Performs successfully under stress
- Spiritually and emotionally balanced
- Demonstrates commitment to personal and professional growth
These attributes are subjects we should revisit daily (am I doing the right things?, setting the example?) and leaders should consider as well in the development of their officers (how to develop their strength of character and moral courage? what good examples can I give or show them to continue their development?).
One of the tools (among many in the adaptive leader methodology) that I use to help develop character is Tactical Decision Games (TDGs). In TDGs students would have to demonstrate their character by justifying and defending their decisions in the face of their peers (other students) and superiors (teacher). This is just one, but an effective tool when facilitated correctly to build strength of character in our emerging young police officers.
“The best definition of ethics I ever heard did not come from some inscrutable ancient philosopher or religious exponent or secular concern, although each of these has contributed in some capacity to its historical meaning. It actually came from a US Marine Corps captain, a mentor of mine, who stated that ethics is nothing more than our “moral values in action.” ― from “The Protector Ethic: Morality, Virtue, and Ethics in the Martial Way”
To be effective as a police officer requires knowing, understanding and living and breathing our ethos before we can even begin to implement the core competencies necessary to do police work and demonstrate interpersonal communication skills, strategic and tactical knowledge (Problem solving abilities) and the ability to apply strategy and tactics in context (operational art) with linear (technical problems and non linear (adaptive challenges) prevalent in policing. An officer must be able to demonstrates mastery of the fundamentals of the handgun and other weapons, including shotguns, patrol rifles, tasers, less lethal alternatives in context with evolving acts of violence. While at the same time an officer must also be proficient at street lifesaving skills, first responder and CPR qualified and use these life saving skills, to render aid to not only innocent victims, but very well is duty bound to render aid to that same person whom he just stopped with lethal force.
Moral courage and strength of character, living and breathing our ethos, means we have gained a perspective of policing and its role in U.S. Society. Are we teaching our officers what the ultimate purpose of policing is? What does protect and serve mean? Can all crime and criminals be stopped? How do the answers to these questions influence the term guardians and warriors or better yet, how does it tie them together in our efforts to evolve policing within and throughout our communities? Do the answers to these questions not fall on police leaderships lap, in how we teach and develop our people?
Discussing these ideas openly I feel is necessary if we are to bridge the gap. Yet, there are almost insurmountable barriers to institutional change. When the discussion of persuasion or force, warrior mindset verses the guardian mindset come up in policing there are polarizing views within policing and throughout our communities, that lead to riots and violence, at its worst, and at best confusion and misunderstandings that lead to protests and fundamentally changing policing methods that have included calls all levels of force into question, in our communities. Within police organizations, to include professional police associations these discussions get so heated that police are attacking one another and the worst cases destroying reputations and careers. At its best it has policing grasping on to the status quo with little or no change taking place.
It is clear society is changing as they are seeing more police tactics, they do not understand or actual unethical behavior by police via social media they have never seen before as videos go viral and their perceptions (right or wrong) fuel emotions that lead to discord. This means we must do more than swear our oaths, we must live and breath these oaths so the become part of who we are and how we police. The become our ethos.
The 5% mindset (warrior mindset) has been written and talked about in policing for decades. What the 5% mindset eludes to is that 5% of police officers possess the moral, mental and physical abilities to do this job effectively. Why? because they take the time to continually learn and develop themselves to become better, more effective police officers often on their own time and dime. This learning and development is not just focused on the physical, they take the time to develop their cognitive abilities, and their values. They reflect daily on their strengths and weaknesses, in an effort to continually learn, so that the values they hold are deeply engrained and become part of who they are and how they police. We are at a place and time, where police leadership must take a more robust approach to developing their people. It is no longer good enough for the 5% to do it on their own. Policing must reflect and take a deep look at itself and ask are we doing all we can to prepare our officers in the moral, mental and physical dimensions required in policing today?
In his book Leadership the Warriors Art, Christopher Kolenda, eloquently explains why the term warrior has become obscured in American culture ( I have taken liberty here and replaced the word he uses “military” with policing as the same arguments are made in the context of policing):
Leadership is indeed the warrior’s art. And like leadership, the definition of “warrior” has also become obscured. The term is contested tested in contemporary discourse. Those who believe policing is suffering through a sort of “moral crisis” and loss of martial spirit it lament that the hard edge of the fierce and courageous warrior has been blunted by the forces of political correctness. They point to the numerous “chain-teaching” mandates about sexual harassment, equal opportunity, homosexual policies, and consideration of others, as well as inadequate performance at police training centers, as evidence of such softening. They argue that America’s police must recapture the warrior spirit.
On the opposite side of the argument are those who believe the notion of “warrior” to be inherently savage and antithetical to policing befitting 21st Century America. They see the celebration of a warrior ethos in terms of unbridled, bloodthirsty machismo, and the perpetuation of such ethos as responsible for sexual harassment, racism, hostility to and violence against homosexuals, domestic violence, etc. In peacekeeping and high risk missions, they argue, the ethos will result in crimes and violence against our communities.
Each side points to the other as part of the problem. The first group regards the second as misguided social engineers with little to no police experience who have placed the readiness of the policing at risk. The time spent on hours of human relations training will have severe consequences on the streets, they claim, resulting in needless casualties and the potential jeopardy of community interests and security. A “soft” policing approach, the argument goes, cannot measure up to the ferocious “barbarians” of the world. The second regards the first as angry critics at odds with society and contemporary reality. Policing cannot protect society if it is divorced from its values. As the police are called increasingly to social and peacekeeping operations, consideration and gentleness are more desirable than ferocity and martial ardor. If the police cannot not protect its own officers and families from violence within the ranks, how can it possibly protect our own society and others?
What is really at stake here Kolenda argues, is more than the definition of the warrior – it is the identity of policing both in the eyes of itself and society. Recovering the true idea of the American warrior is thus part of the answer to the question of identity. Plato, perhaps, put it most simply and most eloquently when he spoke of the “guardian” in the Republic:
The guardian, he argued, must be fierce toward the republic’s enemies and gentle toward its friends. The guardian must at the same time be gentle and spirited. The true guardian, he claimed, is philosophic, spirited, swift, and strong.
The simplicity and wisdom of Plato encapsulates the idea of the American warrior. One who possesses the highest ethics and morals, who is kind, respectful, and caring toward society, fellow police officers, and non-combatants, and yet fully trained and ready to fight and win against any adversary who threatens our interests, our Constitution, and our way of life represents the American warrior.
This misunderstanding of what an American Warrior is, leadership and politics are not solely to blame, as John Poole explains in his book “Guardian Joe: How Less Force Helps the Warrior explains:
“Despite our proud heritage and traditions, policing is still heavily bureaucratic. A Bureaucracy is more than just a type of institutional structure; it is also a way of managing institutional members. The western version entails so many echelons that the highest seldom receives any input (positive or otherwise from the lowest. Within this strict a hierarchy of “top-down” direction, some level invariably short stops any attempt to delegate enough authority downward to achieve peak performance.”
A system of administration marked by officialism (lack of flexibility and initiative combined with excessive adherence to regulations), red tape (official routine or procedure marked by excessive complexity which results in delay or inaction), and proliferation (organizational expansion) ~definition of “bureaucracy,” Webster’s Dictionary
This type of bureaucracy stifles individual and organizational initiative. Officers on the street have little discretion or at least feel they do. This leads to policy and procedural led policing that actually overrides any cultural ethos and the values we have written are not lived and breathed and instead die in individuals in the name of, do what your told, follow the procedure, SOPs or checklists. We have seen this play out recently in too many police agencies responding to critical crisis situations where officers hesitate, waiting to be told what to do, that in their aftermath have those first responding officers labeled cowards or fools and has leadership scurrying for answers as to why or shirking any responsibility. This does not build trust throughout our communities, it destroys trust!
In the last chapter (Some Forgiveness Required) of John Poole’s book Guardian Joe: How Less Force Helps the Warrior he asks what I believe are critical questions. Does hatred for the foe in any way help the warrior? When might less frontline animosity actually help him? I believe this chapter has powerful lessons we in policing can apply in keeping with our warrior/guardian ethos:
The contorted visage of hatred. Hatred most easily achieves a foothold where only partial knowledge of ones enemy and his beliefs are available. With regard to Americas wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that blind spot has too often been with the Islamic religion. Suffice it to say, the miniscule percentage of radical Islamists do not speak for the worldwide Muslim community. Most mainstream followers of the Prophet Mohammad think of the Koran as a historical document. They are no more likely to follow to its violent passages, as a Christian is to act out those in the Old Testament.
Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are all Abrahamic religions. That means they share man of the same precepts. For example, all respect the teachings of Jesus, and effectively adorate Mary. A good way to defuse some of the most recent animosity between their respective followers might be to recall a story from the Crusader period. It involves the interaction between Francis of Assisi ( a famous Catholic Saint) and the Sultan of Egypt.
A former soldier turned priest. Before becoming a Roman Catholic Priest, Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone had been a soldier for the Italian city state of Assisi. In a military expedition against Perugia, he was captured at the battle of Collestrada. Upon his release a year later, he attempted to join the papal forces against the Emperor Frederick II in 1205. On his journey to Apulia, he had a vision or dream that bade him return to Assisi and await the call to a new kind of knighthood. After joining the priesthood as Francis, he eventually traveled to Egypt. There, he made a major contribution to the Crusades and war-making in general.
During a lull in the fighting for Damietta, Egypt, on the 5th Crusade in 1219, Francis and a fellow Catholic priest slipped across the Nile and a grisly battlefield to confer with Sultan Malik al-Kamil. Exactly what happened at that meeting is a matter of conjecture. All that is known for sure is that a humble Christian and prominent Muslim engaged in a reasonable public discussion of their religious differences under the worst of circumstances. However, what eventually resulted from that brief interchange is almost beyond belief.
Nether man… converted to the others religion. But, the encounter deeply moved them both. One contemporary chronicler wrote “… the ruler of Egypt privately asked (Francis) to pray to the Lord for him so that he might be inspired by God to adhere to the religion that most pleased God.” ~ The Ligorian, July/August 2016
The Crusader siege of Damietta subsequently succeeded. The conference had no apparent effect on how Church officials viewed Islam, and possibly how Muslim leaders viewed Christianity. Francis had not only preached the gospel but also listened to the Sultan and considered his questions. By doing so he may have sensed some of the goodness and beauty within the Egyptian rulers traditions. (Those who still doubt any existed need to experience the call to prayer at sundown in Jerusalem.)
Francis, later writings show a deep respect for Islamic practices, such as prostration before God and the public call to prayer. In his last years (Francis was to die seven years later), he recommended that rulers and monks adapt these practices to a Christian context, displaying an openness to learning from other traditions that (now) stands at the heart of interfaith dialog. ~ The Ligorian, July/August 2016
After taking Damietta, the Christian army marched on Cairo but was cut off by the flooding of the Nile. The campaign ended in disaster with the papal legate Pelagio Galvani being forced to surrender with what was left of his army.
Al-Malik al-Kamil (nasar ad-Din Abu al-Ma’ali Muhammad) was the fourth Ayyubid sultan of Egypt. During his tenure as sultan, the Ayyubids has this defeated the Fifth Crusade, and he became known to the Frankish Crusaders as Meledin. Then in 1228, the Sixth Crusade was launched by the Holy Roman Empire. Upon leaving Cyprus, its Christian forces carefully avoided any outright combat with the powerful armies of still sultan al-Kamil. That’s when the former acquaintance of Francis of Assisi was unexpectedly to cede Jerusalem to them in exchange for a ten year truce.
How do these events pertain to modern warfare John Pool continues to explain. The papal emissary’s visit to the Muslim ruler has no apparent effect over the Fifth Crusaders victory at Damietta or its later defeat due to the Nile flooding. Yet, it was later to garner the primary objective of the Sixth Crusade without any Christian soldiers ever having to fight the more powerful Muslim army.
Of course, warfare may have been conducted somewhat differently in the Middle Ages. While there was a lot of blood being spilled at close quarters, unit leaders seemed to take a more active role in preventing it. Some scholars think they were just following the advice of the Roman military manual Epitome Rei Militaris. It advised commanders only to venture directly into battle if they were confident of victory or had no other option. But others believe more humanistic emotions were at work. During the wars between city states of Italy, the side that could outmaneuver the other was sometimes declared victor without any further contact. Elsewhere, the respective heads of opposing armies would occasionally fight so that their subordinates wouldn’t have too. At still other places, one side would quit as soon as their leader was killed or captured.
Why didn’t any stories like “Francis and the Sultan” come out of the 20th Century? By the time of its worldwide conflagrations, what was later to be called “total war” had apparently been necessary. Nothing short of total surrender was ever considered, and the polarity between sides always too extreme to permit any local negotiations.
So far, conflicts of the 21st Century are not like that. They have been lower in intensity with the loyalty of the civilian population primarily at stake. Whole tribes can sometimes shift allegiances after nothing more than a momentary payout to its chieftain. That’s why the U.S. Army Special Forces village methodology worked so well in Afghanistan. That very insightful Sergeant First Class drank tea with all village elders, including those who were pro-Taliban. After explaining his role as only to provide a governmental presence (as opposed to killing or arresting anyone), he dutifully preached the Kabul policies. But then, like Francis at Damietta, he listened to the other tea drinkers and carefully considered their words. Before long, he was able to see through the double-talk and occasional insert a rebuttal. A local armistice of sorts was thus reached that allowed a town deep in enemy territory to be outposted for over six months. Had his tiny legation not been replaced by one from a more traditional combat outfit, the local politics might have eventually swung over to Kabul’s point of view. That’s how Fourth Generation Warfare 4GW was are successfully concluded, and among the very few ways that Afghanistan will ever be pacified.
The primary mover in this contemporary success story had been the American sergeant in charge. Among his many skills were not only mantracking, but also the ability to recite key portions of the Koran (should the need arise). As a multitour veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, he had almost certainly lost friends to enemy fire. But, as a consummate 21st Century warrior, he never allowed himself the luxury of hating his enemy counterpart.
I added this story from John Poole’s book Guardian Joe because it speaks to polarities “the rule of opposites,” yin and yang, cheng and chi, direct and indirect, centralized and decentralized, love and hate, persuasion and force, etc., that ebb and flow throughout police interactions. As these interactions take place between the people (good and bad) and police (ethical and unethical) there are opportunities that open up, if observed and exploited can lead to police winning at low cost. Winning at low cost means we influence the moral, mental and physical categories of conflict.
As Col. John Boyd has explained; the Moral represents the cultural codes of conduct or standards of behavior that constrain, as well as sustain and focus, our emotional/intellectual responses. Morally we interact with others by avoiding mismatches between what we say we are what we are and the world we have to deal with, as well as by abiding by those other cultural codes or standards we are expected to uphold. Morally our adversaries isolate themselves when they visibly improve their wellbeing to the detriment of others (allies, the uncommitted), by violating codes of conduct or behavior patterns that they profess to uphold or others expect them to uphold.
Warrior’s codes can be construed in a wide variety of ways to reflect the core values of diverse cultures, In Shannon French and Joseph Thomas’s book “The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present,” Chapter 1, “Why Warriors Need a Code,” they, argued that the purpose of a code is to restrain warriors, for their own good as much as for the good of others. Therefore, the essential element of a warrior’s code is that it must set definite limits on what warriors can and cannot do if they want to continue to be regarded as warriors, not murderers, cowards, or monsters. For the warrior who has such a code, certain actions remain unthinkable, even in the most dire or extreme circumstances.
For example, and as you will see, contrary to what is portrayed in movies, books and other forms of media; American police are not allowed to preemptively fire at any suspect. Assumed to be innocent, that suspect cannot be harmed until he or she makes some life-threatening action toward the officer or some other human being. Another example also portrayed unrealistically in the media is the police interview of suspects. The most successful police officers do not maltreat those they have detained. police have learned over the years that information obtained from coerced or forced interrogations is generally a fabrication. The idea in accords with a police ethos and the principle of “justice” is a suspect is innocent until proven guilty, and should shape a police officers every action. The police ethos and the warrior and guardian mindsets are both prevalent in these to simple examples/ They don’t make much for movie scenes but both illustrate the importance of understanding the balance of persuasion and force and how the warrior and guardian mindsets tie together.
In his book, “Anatomy of a Warrior: The 7 Virtues All Warriors Must Live by to Successfully Protect and Serve” by Alexander Lanshe, explains, “Beginning with the foundational concept that a protector and his tactics are only as good as the virtues that give life to his actions, this book codifies the seven most important virtues that a protector must strive to live by in order to prevent, prepare, and protect from violence. To protect not just individuals, but to protect our very way of life.” The virtues he lists are fortitude, love, justice, humility, prudence, faith, and temperance and all that these virtues underlie and mean to ethical, fair and impartial, procedurally just, policing. Alex goes on to say:
“Virtue is a way of being; the perfect combination and harmony of action, wisdom, intention, reason, and will working towards bringing about the greatest good in accord with ultimate truth. Virtue is lived. Virtue is the noblest expression and manifestation of human nature.” ~Alex Lanshe
In another great book just released and I am currently reading (quoted above), “The Protector Ethic: Morality, Virtue, and Ethics in the Martial Way” by James Morganelli explains:
“The way of the martial is moral. Whenever we use it, train in it, or teach it to others, we deal with the ethical, the moral in action. And the protector ethic is the outstanding bond, the summit of its endeavor, why it all matters in the first place. Believe it or don’t—the martial way is ruled from within the realm of ethics. Every physical technique and tactic, every philosophical and strategic conjugation of use, is contingent on this singular point. It is the self-evident, undeniable way of the martial way.”
Once again this comes down to understanding how the strategy and tactics, we use influence, the moral, mental and physical categories of conflict as we police a free society. Understanding the martial way means understanding maneuver (outthinking, persuasion) and attrition (strength on strength, force). Officers who are proficient at both maneuver and attrition tactics will use the style that best suits the situation which ebbs and flows throughout the interaction. They will use deception and surprise, via attempts at persuasion and threats of force, to set the adversary up and shape and reshape the situation as they learn and operate from the bottom up, under decentralized control. It’s crucial to understand both warrior and guardian mindsets are viable options and are dictated by the situation. Another benefit to maneuver is that it may spare lives of all involved, bystanders, innocents, police and adversaries alike.
“When we depict and participate willingly in a so-called killing art, we revoke training’s ethical standard. And even if we acknowledge the standard, if we don’t train, articulate, and rely on it, we leave it to the misinformed and uninitiated to use its absence against us in a court of public opinion. And, worse, perhaps one dark day in an actual court, where the fearful among us will state the argument for its abolition. It wouldn’t be the first time.” ~ from “The Protector Ethic: Morality, Virtue, and Ethics in the Martial Way” by James Morganelli
The only way for police to get society to understand what we do and why we do it is to live and breath our ethos. To tie our ethos in with all that we do. Personally I do not give a damn about what its called “Warrior Mindset”, “Guardian Mindset” or just plain old Policing!” They are all one in the same! What I do care about is how confusion and misunderstandings impacts the cops working the streets and those good people they protect and serve. Having police hesitant because of risk averse ideology, or on the other hand having cops trained in only the physical skills is not only dangerous to them, but dangerous to the innocent public as well. How they all tie together is the key!
The only way to get there is through hard disciplined development (education and training) in the physical, mental and moral dimensions that conflict unfolds in, on the behalf of police. This, as well as open candid dialog from police leaders to the public when events influence their perception of policing. Leadership with knowledge and strength of character is crucial here as it affects the street cops who do the work and the publics perception of them, and policing. Buzzwords, used to pander, falling back on linear policy and procedures, masked as training or to shirk responsibility are no longer good enough! Its time to train and develop police officer’s to a high level of professionalism that include living and breathing our ethos. It all ties together! It will also take an open mind on behalf of the public who are also willing to question “fairly” when they believe police actions have violated our American ethos and our way of life.
Great integrity is required by those who serve in policing. Police have been given great trust of authority and responsibility. It is important to understand as police you don’t operate on your own behalf; you are under a greater authority that requires great integrity and strength of character. Let your training blend your physical abilities, and the mindset necessary to police and keep the peace using persuasion and force, with integrity, based on the actual conditions unfolding on the street.
As John Boyd believed as I mentioned above. “The moral level of conflict is the most powerful.” This implies the edge goes to the side with the most moral objectives and ways of achieving them. In policing we must always take the moral high ground. Yes, this requires more risk but calculated risk, which is much different than being rash. I would argue that despite our efforts in policing to be risk averse, in trying to single out specific mindsets (warrior/guardian) as if taking one out of the equation will make us better, more effective and safer, we have actually created a climate, perhaps unintentionally where inaction or turning a blind eye prevails. Going from a warrior mindset to a guardian mindset each separated from the other is in my humble opinion treading on dangerous ground. Yet, this is all too often what we do in policing “go from one extreme, to another” only to find out later we missed something important, something critical to protecting and serving our communities safely and effectively. Policing a free society requires we understand and must avoid moral errors as we do what needs to be done with honor, integrity and strength of character. What say you?