Crisis Communication Expert Eric Kowalczyk: Changing Public Policy Decisions the Key to True Reform of Law Enforcement
BALTIMORE: It's a fact: Changing public policy decisions, along with strong leadership and community involvement, will reform the role of law enforcement.
On April 12, 2015 Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American resident of Baltimore, was arrested by Baltimore Police Department officers, suffered a broken neck during transport in a police vehicle, and subsequently died on April 19. The Freddy Gray Riots in the streets of Baltimore were seen around the world.
Along with changing public policy, community engagement and leadership strategies need to change, adds Kowalczyk, author of The Politics of Crisis: An Insider's Prescription to Prevent Public Policy Disasters (2018 www.indiebooksintl.com).
Drawing from his vast background of law enforcement and public affairs experiences, Kowalczyk's book depicts the critical need for law enforcement, as a profession, to change in fundamental ways. His book offers solutions for the next generation of police officers to help be better partners and problem-solvers in their communities.
John Iannarelli, a retired FBI Special Agent, law enforcement author, and former chief spokesperson for the Bureau said, Former Baltimore Police Department Captain Eric Kowalczyk's book The Politics of Crisis helps to diminish the divide by offering alternatives to the business as usual approach.
Kowalczyk, as a part of the Baltimore Police Department's leadership team, was in the room each time a crucial decision was made during the riots. That experience, along with his role as a police Captain and law enforcement instructor, gives Kowalczyk a perspective few have when it comes to the future of police-community relations. His book details how reform in law enforcement will only come when both police departments and communities come together to find common solutions to the issues that impact small and towns and large cities alike.
Police officers are the front line for most of society's ills, says Kowalczyk. They are the touchpoint for those in crisis, those who are distressed, those who are committing repeated criminal acts. If we give them time and resources to start examining what the real, underlying cause is for so many of these repeat arrests, we give them the opportunity to start breaking the cycle.
Officers need more time, but equally important in this process is the role elected officials and departmental leaders play, continues Kowalczyk. It means leadership has to shift the culture of an organization and communities need to work with law enforcement to enact change.
Kowalczyk has talked with thousands of officers throughout the United States about the issue of time. According to Kowalczyk, any officer who takes the amount of time necessary to start digging into the root causes of the issues plaguing so many cities runs the risk of admonishment by supervisors and peers alike. The Politics of Crisis, offers a prescription to change that thinking, that everyone in the country needs to hear.
Kowalczyk has trained more than 1,000 communications specialists in 40 states and 65 cities across the country. He has presented at numerous national conferences.
Kowalczyk retired from the Baltimore Police Department in 2015. Today, in addition to his role as a public speaker and educator, he is vice president of Strategia Consulting and works with clients specializing in critical incident mitigation, strategy development for crisis resolution, crisis communications, public affairs, municipal communications, internal/external communications strategy, and media relations/training.