I recently had a very interesting interview with Gordon Graham. Gordon is a 33 year veteran of California Law Enforcement. His education as a Risk Manager and experience as a practicing Attorney, coupled with his extensive background in law enforcement, have allowed him to rapidly became recognized as a leading professional speaker in both private and public sector organizations with multiple areas of expertise.
In 1973 Gordon was selected as a candidate for a major west coast law enforcement agency. Thereafter, he proudly served as a motorcycle officer for most of his first ten years in the Los Angeles area. In addition to his patrol work, he helped design the first DUI task force, assisted in the development of the DRE (drug recognition program), was an instructor in the initial “Mod I and II” Haz Mat program, and wrote his first of many technical papers: “PCP–An Officer’s Survival Guide.”
Simultaneously he was furthering his formal education during his off hours. Spending two years at Long Beach State College under the tutelage of Dr. Richard Kaywood led to his receiving a Lifetime Teaching Credential.
Following this degree, he attended University of Southern California in their Institute of Safety and Systems Management.
After completing his Masters, his off duty time was then spent at Western State University School of Law, where he was graduated in 1982 with his Juris Doctorate. He passed the California Bar Exam the same year and opened his law offices in Hollywood, where he focused his efforts on family law, immigration and personal injury work.
In his law enforcement life, Gordon was promoted to Sergeant in 1982 and supervised his former unit–the motorcycle cops of his agency assigned to Los Angeles. He and his fellow Sergeants on “B” shift stressed the values… and beliefs and built the most productive team of motorcycle officers in the history of the department.
During this time period, he saw deficiencies in how officers were trained, and revolutionized law enforcement training in California with his SROVT program: Solid, Realistic, Ongoing, Verifiable, Training. This daily training bulletin concept resulted in his later being awarded the California Governor’s award for excellence in law enforcement training.
In 1992 Gordon was transferred to a staff position and assigned to headquarters where he continued his work in law enforcement training. He also sharpened his focus on how his education and training in systems and his legal background could work together to improve the quality of law enforcement operations by incorporating real risk management into police operations.
During this time window he commenced delivering his training programs to private sector organizations, including those involved in commercial real estate, hospital operations, manufacturing companies, aerospace operations, nuclear power plants, auto racing operations and many others.
In 2002, along with Bruce Praet and Dan Merkle, Gordon became a co-founder of Lexipol–a company designed to standardize policy, procedure and training in public safety operations. Today, most of the law enforcement agencies in California are using the Lexipol Knowledge Management System and nearly half of the States are now using this approach to law enforcement operations. This effort has greatly improved the safety of police personnel while also influencing a dramatic reduction in claims, settlements and verdicts adverse to law enforcement agencies.
Gordon held his law enforcement headquarters assignment until his service retirement in 2006. In 2008, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from California POST.
Today, Gordon divides his time between study, research, writing, speaking, and consulting in the discipline of risk management. His innovative programs, based on the values and beliefs he learned as a child along with a passion for continuous improvement, are the standard for any organization that wants to improve existing operations and prevent things from going wrong.
During our interview we talked about things that could get you fired or ruin your career. They included:
Improper Vehicle Operations
Wrongful Use of Force Issues
Kicking in the Wrong Door
False Arrest or False Imprisonment Situations
Improper Jail Operations
The Creation or Violation of Special Relationships
Problems with Ethics & Integrity
Job Based Harassment
Some things Gordon suggests you as a police officer, sheriff’s deputy or trooper focus on are:
Improving your Technical Competence
Working Outside Your Patrol Vehicle
Leftside vs. Rightside Vehicle Approaches
A complete understanding of the Proper Use of Force including your departmental policies.
Depravation of Liberty Issues
Ethics & Integrity Issues
The Importance of Discretion
An Understanding of Dignity & Respect Issues
Respect for Chain of Command Issues
These are all issues that effect every law enforcement and police agency worldwide.
We covered a lot in our conversation that lasted just over and hour and If you would like to listen to our interview please click the replay button below or RIGHT CLICK HERE to download (that’s CONTROL CLICK if you use a Mac then SAVE LINK AS…) a copy of the mp3 file.
Please visit Gordon’s website:
Gordon is also a partner in Lexipol a company designed to standardize policy, procedure and training in public safety operations.
CopsAlive.com was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence.
We do this by Helping Law Enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful lives on the job and beyond. We think the best strategy is for each officer to create a tactical plan for their own life and career.