When officers engage in unethical and even illegal conduct, they are often protected by the blue wall of silence. This unspoken understanding says, “don’t challenge each other’s misconduct.”
When misconduct gets covered up by silence, it will ultimately lead to mistrust… inside the agency and by the public.
(3) Bricks that make up agency walls
- Misconduct – unacceptable or improper behavior
- Being Silenced – prohibit or prevent from speaking
- Building Trust – belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
The Blue Wall of Silence is a term used among police not to report on a colleague’s errors, misconducts, or crimes, including police brutality. If you reported it, you were considered turning your back on the Blue Wall.
When a witness of misconduct turns a blind eye rather than report it, that sweeping bad behavior under the rug, comes with a price.
The Cost of Silence
- Others can be harmed or killed
- Departments compromised by costly litigation
- Community trust gets broken
- Failure to Intervene – loss of jobs, and face criminal prosecution
“The Blue Wall becomes stronger when its mortar is made of Trust” ~ Linda Webb
Committing all the elements of the law enforcement oath of honor, is committing to the Blue Wall of Trust inside the agency and out.
The Blue Wall is a symbol of family trust, all swearing by oath and duty to serve and protect. This Blue Wall is built on TRUST. This Trust is made up of great public servants who are willing to STAND UP for what it symbolizes.
Elements of Trust Include:
Truth of Integrity – Blue Wall bricks represent each officer’s ability to stay true to their oath and duty.
RITE Response – an officer’s Duty to Intervene means to Step in, Tap out, and Take over when you witness unethical behavior.
Universal guidelines – Continued training on Professional Workplace Culture within the agency to uphold accountability standards.
Strength from within – all ranks MUST have the strength and fortitude to stand up to unprofessional behavior and misconduct.
Truth of the Badge – The ability to stand up for what is right knowing that is worth the risk to protect the badge in public service and The Blue Wall
The Blue Wall is the house of public service. Our house is only as strong as our members who continue to build it, as well as live in it throughout their career. Unprofessional Workplace Culture cannot be tolerated inside these Blue Walls
An unprofessional workplace culture will eventually break down Trust in the Blue Wall. Some come from:
- Toxic Employees who spread rumors and gossip
- Entitlement Complex (It’s all about ME)
- Mental abuse from The Workplace Bully
When agency Trust is high, everyone has reliability, truth, ability, and strength from within.
Officer Wellness, increases the health, well-being, and mindfulness, of everyone inside the organization. Emotional Intelligence (EI) helps build better EDI relationships inside the agency, and out.
Professional Workplace Culture
All employees deserve to work in a professional environment where everyone is treated fairly, and without fear of retribution. This means no matter the color of your skin or hair, your age or years on the job, your sexual orientation or preferences… you treat others as you wish to be treated.
Teaching the RITE Formula is as simple as EI+SI=RI or Emotional Intelligence (EI) + Social Intelligence (SI) = Racial Intelligence (RI)
The foundation starts with understanding your own Emotional Intelligence (EI). Learning what moves you from feeling JOY to ANGER in a moments notice, is step one.
Getting in tune with how you feel will help you can connect with others, Social Intelligence (SI).
In order to bring Value to others, you first must find Value in yourself.
Training to Build UP Trust and Value
Most agencies have a statement of values posted somewhere in the agency. Beyond posting on a wall, these values should be put into annual training of department policies and procedures.
Recruit training should include the department’s Blue Wall of Trust as the professional culture of the organization.
All in-service training programs should include professional workplace culture elements. First line supervisors should be afforded a special in-service training program on how these supervisors insure that departmental values are followed in every aspect of the organization.
Strengthen the Blue Wall of Trust, by committing your agency to a professional workplace culture program. Having Zero Tolerance for unprofessional behavior inside the blue wall, as well as a duty-to-intervene even when outside the blue wall.
It’s a new day in public service, and in order to move forward we all must commit to the Blue Wall of Trust.
“What I do today is very important as I am exchanging a day of my life for it!”
It’s a New Day to start building the Blue Wall of Trust.
Professional Workplace Training helps with:
- Building Trust from the Top
- Reducing Rumors and Gossip
- Implicit Bias and Hot Buttons
- 7-types of Workplace Harassment
- Use of Profanity
- Duty to Intervene – Step In, Tap Out, Take Over
- Improper Social Media Posting
- Building EDI inside and outside the agency
Change starts at the top. Leaders that establish professional workplace and accountability standards, and build racial equity, will improve the Blue Wall of Trust inside the agency and out!
About RITE Academy and Stats
At RITE Academy, we have provided training to fire, police, EMS, 911 operators and corrections officers, EI Tools and Exercises that help each person personally control their emotions. It’s a huge Ah-ha when you finally ‘wake up’ and realize that you have been holding yourself back.
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!
- Trained 950+ agencies on Professional Workplace Culture
- Created over 930 RITE train-the-trainers
- Gave out more than 550,000 RITE Tools for employees
- Provided over 100 newsletters for agencies to give to their employees
- Helped agencies reduce their use-of-force incidents by 65%
- Educated local governments, state, and federal representative on public safety reform
Together, we can change the perception of policing, to The Blue Wall of Trust!