Risk management books to help identify police department problems

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This is the fifth in a year-long series where I share my top risk management reading recommendations. These are the books I regularly consult regarding the discipline of risk management and related issues. Each of them gives you guidance on how to recognize, prioritize and mobilize solutions for the risks you face in your organization.

I’ve previously shared some tips for taking notes and summarizing key points from books I’ve read, as well as some recommendations for other publications that will help you keep up with trends. Let me know what works for you, then check out my reading suggestions for May:


Field command

By Charles “Sid” Heal

I met “Sid” Heal in the 1970s when he worked for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. He retired as Commander of their SEB (Special Enforcement Bureau) and during his tenure there he also remained active in the USMC Reserve. This guy is a genius – and this book on “how to make things work in the field” is just brilliant. I highly recommend to all supervisors and law enforcement – and those of you trying to promote – this book will be of great help to you.

Listen to an interview with Sid Heal on Police1’s Policing Matters podcast about his new book, “Concepts of Non-lethal Force: Understanding Force from Shooting to Shooting”:

Wait: The Art and Science of Delay

By Frank Partnoy

If you’ve attended any of my talks, you know that I try to separate events into two types: “time to think” and “no time to think.” Those events that do not give us time to reflect are those that require constant and rigorous training. But most events give us time to think – and my recommendation for years has been – if you have time to think, use it! . Portnoy has done a ton of research on this and goes even further. If you have time to reflect, use every moment. If you have an hour, use 59 minutes. If you have a year, use 364 days. A very good book with lots of practical examples.

Think, fast and slow

By Daniel Kahneman

Most of you have heard my thoughts on “NDT” and “DT” events (non-discretionary time vs. discretionary time) and how the brain works and the difference between fast and slow thinking. I’ve been annoying you with thoughts like “never make a split second decision if you don’t have to” and similar type statements.

So here’s a question for you: You buy a bat and a ball for $1.10. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much did the balloon cost? If you’re being honest with yourself, many of you have found the obvious answer 10 cents. Well, the correct answer is not a penny, but a nickel. Many of you got the answer right, but you had to think a bit to do it.

What if I asked you this question while you were driving a car in the rain? What if I asked you this question when you were tired? Does it make a difference in how we process information? I talk about these things, but Dr. Kahneman received a Nobel Prize for his work on brain function.

That’s all for this month. Let me know what you think of these books and share your leadership and risk management reading recommendations. Email [email protected]

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