The Law Enforcement Professional: A Thorough Overview

Course Preview

Course Author(s)

Randy Means J.D. - Randy Means & Associates (

Course Summary


Law enforcement is under a microscope. Law enforcement immunity has been removed. In the U.S., the profession is the most litigated against and pays out the most settlements. These circumstances make understanding the core elements of a good law enforcement officer very important.

Officers sometimes make mistakes, citizens bait them into making mistakes, and citizens make mistakes. In every case, it is a good bet that a lawsuit will follow. Lawsuits against police are ruining careers and are costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. In New York City alone, taxpayers paid out $175.9 million in civil judgments and claims for police-related lawsuits.

In today’s very politically charged environment, a professional law enforcement officer must keep “at the ready” key emotional and cognitive management concepts and techniques such as:


  • Emotional Intelligence- Officers are taught to think rationally not emotionally. They are given tips to help keep their emotions from controlling their professional actions. Policing can cause mental and emotional challenges in the most even keeled of officers. Do not shy away from counseling and regular mental health. It can save your career, or your life.
  • Bias and Implicit Bias- Word choices and responses to people of color or of other nationalities can trigger an issue. The way we think about people and events affects the way we feel toward people and events. The way we feel about people and events affects the way we behave toward them. Bias, then, is likely to affect behavior even when we didn’t wish for it to do so. We all have a variety of biases, positive and negative, caused by a lifetime of socialization. Can we ever truly control our emotions and their visible outcroppings? The answers will be rooted in our self-awareness and our willingness to take steps to control – “manage” – our emotions, long before the critical moment in which they will otherwise “leak” into our behaviors, without asking our brain’s permission. Otherwise, we will be less patient, worse listeners, less empathetic, quicker to anger and more volatile. None of this is good. But with self-awareness and effort beyond just our good pre-incident intentions, we can bring about better outcomes in contacts with each other, and with our service clientele – our community.
  • Community Policing Working with the public will always be more effective than working against the public. Community Policing is not as much about community relations as it is about problem solving – solving the problems of public safety and security. It is in and of itself an effective model of both leadership and risk management. Community Policing requires relationship and engagement with the community, of course, which is an application of the long-valued notion of government of the people, by the people and for the people. Naturally, government works best when it is with the consent and involvement of the governed. Community policing is democracy – applied to policing. It is the people, a community, policing itself in partnership with its police service, co-producing public safety.
  • Physical Fitness- No one can deny that law enforcement work requires some level of physical fitness. The physical demands of the job may be infrequent, but when an officer is in a situation that requires some physical readiness, the inability to perform can have disastrous consequences – for the public and its members, the individual officer, his/her work-partner, and the agency itself. Doing something is so much better than doing nothing in this vital area. With the benefit of expert advice and scientific guidance, it is easily possible to create and implement a successful physical fitness routine. Doing so will increase officer and agency effectiveness, improve odds of officer safety and survival, and reduce a wide array of costs and liability exposures. Most importantly, we can better assure that all officers can actually do their jobs, especially in those infrequent but highly critical moments.
  • Constitutional Policing- What are your Constitutional duties? What are citizens’ Constitutional rights? Remember, some individuals may know the law better than you do, so be sensitive to such individuals. Constitutional Policing is a “most important” core competency for law enforcement officers. The federal Constitution underpins the proper function of government, and therefore policing, in our society. It establishes some of our almost sacred personal rights and freedoms. Violations of the federal constitution can cause evidence suppression in major cases, massive civil liability, criminal prosecution of law enforcement officers, career devastation and, of course, loss of public trust, legitimacy. But avoidance of these awful negatives is not the best reason for an officer to follow the Constitution. The best reason is a shining positive – keeping faith with the oath of office.

This course is comprehensive. It will give every officer an overview of their duties, responsibilities to the public, and tools to safeguard their emotional, spiritual, and physical health.

Course Syllabus

  • Module 1 - Introduction

    • Overall Course Goals and Learning Objectives
    • Introduction by Randy Means J.D. - Part 1
    • Introduction by Randy Means J.D. - Part 2
  • Module 2 - Constitutional Policing

    • Introduction to Constitutional Policing
    • General Principles
    • Seizures of Persons
    • Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause
    • Searches of Persons, Consent to Search
    • Vehicle Stops and Searches
    • Entry Into and Upon Private Premises
    • Interview and Interrogation
    • Non-Testimonial Identification Procedures
    • Use of Force
    • Voluntary Contact, Terry-Stop
    • Investigative Detention, Weapons Frisks, Arrests, and More
    • Brady Material, Consultation with Counsel, Affected Memeber, and More
    • Assessment
  • Module 3 - Bias-Free Policing

    • Minimizing Bias and Perceptions of Bias
    • The 3 Challenges
    • Implicit Bias in the Medical Profession
    • The Pygmalion Effect: Self-Fulfilling Expectations
    • Shoot, Don’t Shoot Studies
    • Diversity Reduces Bias
    • Policy and Training Against Bias
    • Strategies for Eliminating and Reducing Bias-Based Behaviors
    • Conclusion
    • Assessment
  • Module 4 - Human Relations and Interpersonal Communication

    • Human Relation Skills by Randy Means J.D. - Part 1
    • Human Relation Skills by Randy Means J.D. - Part 2
    • Why is All This So Important?
    • The Problem and the Solution
    • Policy - Part 1
    • Policy - Part 2
    • Positive and Negative Behaviors
    • Nonverbal Behaviors, Paralanguage, Listening
    • Empathy, Anger Management, Communicative Tactics
    • Closing Thoughts on Interpersonal Communication
    • Assessment
  • Module 5 - Physical Fitness

    • Introduction to Physical Fitness
    • The Physical Requirements of Police Work
    • Legal Challenges to Physical Fitness Standards
    • Adverse Impact on Women and Older Persons
    • Gender-Adjusted and Age-Adjusted Standards
    • Assessment
  • Module 6 - Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Fitness

    • History of Policing and Mental Health
    • Foundations of Current Practices
    • Participation in Counseling
    • Need for Written Policy
    • Emotional and Spiritual Well-being - Part 1
    • Emotional and Spiritual Well-being - Part 2
    • Emotional and Spiritual Well-being - Part 3
    • Assessment
  • Module 7 - Community Policing

    • Introduction by Randy Mean, J.D.
    • The Seven Lessons
    • The Community: Its Culture and its Diversity
    • Culture
    • Procedural Justice
    • Legitimacy
    • Fairness: Avoiding Bias and Stereotyping
    • Respect - Part 1
    • Respect - Part 2
    • The Importance of Getting Out of the Car
    • Trust Building Through Engagement and Relationship
    • Social Media
    • Partnerships
    • Problem-Solving and Models
    • Measuring Successful Community Policing
    • Conclusion
    • Course Conclusion
    • Assessment
  • Module 8 - Final Assessment

    • Assessment