Today, it occurred to me that the game of golf and the practice of law enforcement have one very important similarity. Let me explain. In the game of golf, you can play 17 flawless holes (approximately 68 shots) and have one errant shot on the 18th hole that costs you additional strokes. So instead of that magical par score of 72, you now have a 72+ score. So, what do we do? Most of us, because we are human will focus on the one bad hole and forgot about the 17 good / great holes of golf play (AKA negative bias).
Put this in a law enforcement perspective. We can have 68 good / great citizen contacts and for a number of possible reasons, that 69th contact does not go as planned. So, what do you focus on? What does your department focus on? The one bad contact or the 68 good / great contacts?
Keep in mind, we are responsible for our golf shots and our citizen contacts. Regardless of the outcome, we should always strive to remain professional and in control of our emotions. If we do that, we will persevere and perform better in the future!
- There is very good possibility that your one bad citizen contact will be videotaped and posted on social media outlets. Your errant golf shot is not likely to videotaped and/or posted on social media.
- It is very likely that the “bad-contact” citizen will file a complaint with your department. It is not likely that your errant shot will be reported to the PGA (Professional Golf Association). In fact, your golf partner will probably buy you a beer for “screwing up” and giving him/her the opportunity to win the game!
I would love to hear any similarities and/or differences that you have noticed!