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Being a Confident Leader

March 2, 2009

In one of our recent blog posts we talked about some of the traits a police officer needs to be a good cop. Those traits are prized and respected, and are traits that your police examiners will be searching for when you take your exams. The first two we covered were honesty and trustworthiness.

In this post we will be looking at two more traits – confidentiality and leadership. Now you might be thinking “confidentiality?” Of course I would keep my mouth shut about work. However, if this weren’t an issue, then it wouldn’t be something that is required on the job, right?

Your examiners want to know if you realize the ramifications of confidentiality and how it’s used in policing. More particularly, they want to know if you are trustworthy enough to NOT give out confidential facts to people who don’t have the right or the need to know about a certain case. The worst thing that could happen is if you talk about a case with people outside the department. The other side of that coin is: do you have the smarts to relay confidential items to the proper people when the time is right?

You may be thinking that you wouldn’t tell anyone things that aren’t any of their business, but you’d be surprised how many recruits find themselves in awkward situations where their friends, spouse, family etc. keep asking them details about a case. In many instances, even a good cop will let something slip.

Another trait that you need to have is leadership, and while this may sound like a no brainer, leadership is more than you may think. Leadership is not always something YOU choose, but it may choose you. Cops are naturally looked upon as leaders because of their role in the community as problem solvers.

Your examiners will want to know if you are willing to take on that role and extra responsibility or do you limit yourself in where you work because you don’t want the responsibility? Think about this now, because at some point in the future you may find yourself in a situation where you have to choose to lead, follow or get the heck out of the way.

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