From organizations like the National Police Association (see their Facebook) to cinema, there’s a reason why it’s widely acknowledged that the police are something to aspire to. Cinema in particular is full of aspirational police protagonists who are rightly beloved.
Here are 3 of them and what we can learn from them.
Detective Olivia Benson (Law & Order: SVU)
If you want to get to the heart of effective law enforcement, look no further than Detective Benson, who often emphasizes the critical role of empathy, recognizing the real impact of crimes on victims.
Benson is skilled at building connections with victims, making them feel heard and understood. This approach means gaining trust and cooperation during investigations. In fact, in one episode, Benson connects with a survivor of assault, encouraging the victim to come forward and assist in the investigation, showing just how powerful empathy is in building rapport and obtaining crucial information.
The takeaway here is pretty straightforward—empathy is not just a soft skill but a potent tool, according to Indeed.
Sergeant Joe Friday (Dragnet)
If you want to talk about the nitty-gritty of solving crimes, Sergeant Friday is your guy. His character often underscores the importance of thorough investigation and sticking to procedure.
Friday is consistent in following police protocols. This means making sure that evidence is collected meticulously and investigations are conducted with precision.
And so in many cases, Friday’s commitment to procedure pays off when it results in the discovery of a crucial piece of evidence that might have been overlooked by a less methodical approach. This example showcases how diligence can really be the key to uncovering critical evidence.
What Friday teaches us is clear—meticulous attention to detail and adherence to established procedures are really essential.
Sergeant/Captain Terry Jeffords (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
If you’re into leadership with a human touch, Sergeant, eventually Captain, Jeffords is your guy. His character really represents leadership through emotional intelligence, recognizing the importance of a positive and inclusive work environment (see here).
Jeffords is good at empowering his team. He fosters a supportive atmosphere, acknowledging individual strengths, and addressing concerns openly. This means creating a work environment where everyone feels valued.
In plenty of episodes, Jeffords shines in resolving a conflict within the team. He does it by promoting open communication and understanding. This example shows how a leader’s emotional intelligence can really enhance teamwork and create a healthy work environment in law enforcement.
Terry Jeffords leaves us with a valuable lesson—leadership involves more than just giving orders. A leader’s emotional intelligence and the ability to create a supportive team environment are often the difference between failure and success.
Law enforcement is a serious job that attracts competent people, as many TV shows have rightly represented. So really, why not learn a thing or two from them, starting with these characters?