Inside View

Teamwork to Keep the Wolves Outside
By Anthony Mikatarian

Teamwork in law enforcement is the oil that makes your agency run at an optimal level. With optimal teamwork, your agency will develop such things as synergy, comraderie, equity, equality and most importantly organizational success. The teamwork within the ranks is so essential in today’s law enforcement because of all the negatively exaggerated, unrealistic and unfair positions we find ourselves in because of pot stirring folks on social media, like entertainers, government officials, so-called activists, and others, who either are misinformed, think they know the career, have agendas, and/or have no idea or don’t care to know what we officers face day in and day out in our profession. These folks have a contrived sense of purpose and often reject facts or arguments contrary to their engineered platforms.

Therefore, law enforcement officers must unite and strengthen their team-working ability. Operating on smooth-running teamwork can be challenging, with all the different and unique personalities and beliefs that make up the individuals in your agency. However, in this profession, usually trying to go through it alone and not as a team member will probably end up being detrimental to the individual and the agency as a whole. There are plenty of wolves out there attacking our profession from the outside. It is imperative to find common ground where everyone buys into the system, and we keep the wolves outside departments—rightly where they belong.

Knowing specific pitfalls that can hinder proficient teamwork will help us. As author Patrick Lencioni describes in his book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” Lencioni explains that as difficult as it is to create a cohesive team, it is not complicated. He describes that no matter the size or type of agency you are focusing on, it is critical to take a simple approach. He offers that in most organizations, genuine teamwork remains elusive. He lays out five distinct dysfunctions that could damper effective teamwork.

Absence of Trust
The worries of being vulnerable with team members avert the process of building trust within the team.

Fear of Conflict
Maintaining the need to preserve pretended balance hinders the achievement of productive ideological discord.

Lack of Commitment
Without translucence’s or investing in decision-making, team members will find themselves making decisions that they will not stay with.

Avoidance of Accountability
Intentionally avoiding interactional discomfort with team members hinders the process of holding one another accountable.

Inattention to Results
Individual goals and personal status chasing gnaw at the core of collaborating successfully.

We, brothers and sisters, now more than ever have to prioritize our teamwork effort because until a real loud voice or voices of reason who understand and support our profession comes around, this hill we are climbing will only get steeper and more dangerous. The mainstream media and others are once again attacking us while they ignore the ultimate sacrifices officers make every day. Our officers are bleeding in the streets while the mainstream, self-serving politicians and others cast our profession in a negative light. My heart goes out to all the many officers who are being unfairly criticized for doing actual good police work, or those who were seriously injured or made the ultimate sacrifice.

We must stand united. We must strengthen our team-working ability to protect each other from the perils that our profession faces continuously. And remember: Even though the media coverage of these events and tragedies are minimal and are suffocated by the negative attacks, there are many others out there who do support, understand and appreciate us. As always, stay safe, and God Bless.

Anthony Mikatarian has been a police officer for over 17 years. He is currently assigned to patrol in a northern NJ municipality. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I., and another degree in Mortuary Science from the American Academy McAllister Institute in New York City.