Mentorship vs Misconduct – Balancing the Scales of Conduct for Public Service

Life is a constant act of finding balance, professionally and personally. In your career, depending on what stage you are in, life will test you and throw you a curve when you least expect it.

The question is when you’ve been tested (at work or at home)… did you seek help from a mentor or counselor? Or did you walk around an angry ticking time-bomb, creating problems and misconduct?

Like two sides of a coin, your public service career may have seen two sides of various situations. Do any of these sound familiar?

1. In the Academy

Did you have good instructors, that you loved, and you still talk about how much you learned from them?
Or did they brag about what they used to do 10 years ago, and you learned very little from them?

2. In Field Training

Did you learn from a progressive FTO that helped you see many options of how to handle calls?
Or did you have an old school FTO that said, “You’re going to do it my way rookie… forget what you learned in the Academy!”

3. Supervisors

Have you ever worked for a supervisor that took the time to mentor you?
Or did your supervisor put every idea you had down, and make you feel worthless?


In Public Service this balance is called The Scales of Conduct.

One side of the scale are professional hard-working public service employees who help mentor others and bring Value to everyone in the organization.

On the other side live toxic employees, who cause misconduct and bring agency morale down. It is the toxic environment and continued misconduct that will cause good employees to leave.

people quit their bosses


RITE bad applesBad apples in a bunch of Good ones

There are many more professional employees that do their job everyday, who don’t complain, and who give extra help without being asked. Unfortunately, it only takes a few toxic employees to cause the most harm inside an agency.

These bad apples can cause severe problems for the public service agency, bring down community trust, add costly litigation, and stain the public service profession.

 Examples of bad apples in agency cause bad behavior:

Rodney King, March 3, 1991 – Police Abuse during an Arrest
George Floyd, May 25, 2020 – Lack of Duty to Intervene during arrest Neck Restraint

“One act of misconduct can weigh heavier on agency morale, than 100 acts of kindness”

 The Scales of Conduct should be continually be looked at, improved on, and strengthened with a Professional Workplace culture foundation for all in the agency.

The Scales of Conduct

Mentorship, and a Professional Workplace

  1. Set up SOP on Professional Workplace Conduct
  2. Reinforce supervisors address unprofessional behavior
  3. Set up mentorship programs (include sworn and non-sworn)
  4. Include EDI standard operating procedures – ALL treated fairly
  5. Emotional and Social Intelligence Awareness – Build Value Inside and Out
  6. Duty to Intervene – Step In, Tap Out, Take Over
  7. Provide Peer Support Groups for employees

Each side of the Scale humanizes the true weight of the Agency. Does your agency balance its Scale of Conduct with more Mentorship, or Allow Misconduct to continue from Toxic employees?


In the heat of the moment, you don’t HAVE to FOLLOW another person’s Misconduct…

Misconduct Weighs Down the Scale

  1. Expressing Verbally Negative Banter
  2. Block-Out Syndrome
  3. Spreading Rumors and Gossip
  4. Self-Service Actions against the departmental policy
  5. Contagious shooting – a combination of reflex, panic and trust
  6. Unprofessional social media posting
  7. Toxic employees – the heaviest weight of misconduct

Misconduct RITE

“Misconduct will typically strike, when emotional intelligence gets blocked.”

Mentorship Value Scale:  The Professional Employee  

  1. Always personifies Professionalism
  2. Employee knows their OWN VALUE The RITE Model
  3. Understands Emotional Intelligence Vital Signs
  4. Willingness to help others with mentorship
  5. High Ethical Standards with Integrity Ownership
  6. Building a Wall of Trust
  7. New Day Attitude to move agency forward.

RITE mentorship


Even though there is a tough balancing act for the Scales of Conduct, the public service profession continues to improve with the help of progressive executive leaders, the commitment of all public service professionals (including sworn, and non-sworn, police, fire, ems, and corrections), and every communities commitment to help support these professions.


The Scales of Conduct takes everyone’s commitment to bring VALUE to the public service profession, and the community for which it serves and protects.


Training Classes

At RITE Academy, we provide training to fire, police, EMS, 911 operators and corrections officers. Emotional Intelligence exercises and EI Tools help each person personally be in control of their emotions.

It’s a huge Ah-ha when students ‘wake up’ and realize they have been holding themselves back… and maybe they are the toxic employee that’s been causing the misconduct.

With every class, the LADDER, Stop-Light, and NEW DAY Tools and Banners are included in the training, and left behind for the agency to use. RITE is not a one and done class!


RITE Academy Stats

  1. Trained 950+ agencies on Professional Workplace Culture
  2. Created over 930 RITE train-the-trainers
  3. Gave out more than 550,000 RITE Tools for employees
  4. Provided over 100 newsletters for agencies to give to their employees
  5. Helped agencies reduce their use-of-force incidents by 65%
  6. Educated local governments, state, and federal representative on public safety reform

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