This presentation focuses on one challenging question: “Would you rather be right, or would you rather be okay?” It benefits us all to hear the role that law enforcement plays in the personal story of those that we encounter. From gang members to community members, and from media coverage to roll call gossip circles; law enforcement faces a constant flow of judgement and accountability. And so how do those individual contacts that you have with individuals add up over time? How do we understand that a passing encounter between a law enforcement officer and a civilian can be a disinteresting moment for the officer, while being a life-affecting encounter for the civilian? The contacts that the police make, can become as significant to them as any other life contacts that they have. In fact, it can be eye-opening to view our community’s perception of us, through the lens of our own actions. And it can be career-ending when one negative interaction is able to eclipse a lifetime of honor and hard work.
We are aware that we face the challenges of the ubiquitous camera lenses and an often unsympathetic media, however, we can often lose sight of the purpose behind these over-zealous judgments upon the police. We have to accept the reality that perception IS reality; even when it’s not. And we have to work within the confines of this new reality: to continue to provide the necessary services that are expected of us; while making sure that we aren’t just “right”, but that we are also “okay. Ask any cop what the number one stressor is for law enforcement and they’ll tell you that they fear administrative trouble far more than any 911 call. Yet all of our training focuses on the street, rather than the reputation and credibility of the profession itself. How can we maintain a balance between what law enforcement should fight for, versus what we have lost, and we need to get back with slow earned credibility? The Honor Game is for cops who seek more than just a few accolades. They seek to return this profession to a status of honor.
Presenter Tommy Brooks began his career in law enforcement after his honorable discharge from the United States Marine Corps (non-combat) in 1998. He started as a Transit cop then became a member of the Boston Police Department. After working primarily in plain clothes units, Brooks joined the Boston Gang Unit as a detective and later, as a Sergeant. While in the gang unit, he has worked making gang cases via informants, undercover work, search warrants, and other investigative means. He has also maintained a working role as an Academy Instructor for many academies throughout Massachusetts. During his career, he has had the opportunity to work with the best cops in the nation, and he has received the George L Hanna Award for Bravery from the Governor of Massachusetts, two Medals of Honor, a Medal of Valor, and an Award of Merit from the Governor. He currently holds the rank of Lieutenant in the Boston Police Department.