How Chuck Ramsey Developed the Right Police Culture

“Personnel management…is one of the most difficult challenges you face.” – Chuck Ramsey

Over the course of a decades-long career, Chuck Ramsey influenced, defined and communicated police culture at two major agencies. First, as Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department, then as Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

When he left his leadership role in Chicago for Philadelphia, he anticipated the two agencies would be mostly similar, though he quickly realized the differences would have a bigger impact on his goals for the agency.

How can a police executive proactively shape police culture?

Leaders are likely to find that the universality of police practices can cut both ways. They should allocate sufficient time to understanding their agency’s culture. This is especially critical in circumstances where you’re coming from outside the agency. Ultimately, any time you want to change how an agency operates, you need to understand the why and how of its current state.

Regardless of its familiarity, if your agency’s culture is divisive or fails to support your intended policies and training – such as an increased focus on officer wellness – it’s not the right one.

Try to see beyond the traditional mindset of policing. Its culture can only change by identifying and recognizing the people who do things the right way while intervening to correct and support those who don’t.

During a recent Q&A with Benchmark’s CEO, Ron Huberman, Chuck shared what he learned about developing cultures of excellence and wellness – as both an insider and an outsider – to help today’s leaders better navigate the changing landscape of policing.

Watch the entire discussion below: