Mind on the Job | Police Prof

Mind on the Job

April 11, 2014

I was reading a very pertinent article the other day about how crucial it is to keep your mind on the job. In fact to be exact it was keep your mind on one job at a time. A guy called Ron Borsch, who is a manager of a regional in-service academy in Ohio, says he sees a lot of distracted officers in briefings or training classes. As a result of this he came up with the acronym MAWOL – Mentally Absent Without Leave.

I like this acronym and it is a clever play on the military AWOL. Some officers will say they can finish reports or check their email while listening to instruction. They call it multi tasking. Borsch rightly points out that this is folly. Science clearly shows that you cannot fully concentrate on two or more things at the same time. Fully concentrate is the key here.

You may think you are taking in information while doing something else but there could be a critical point that you have missed. Borsch asserts that switching off or taking your mind away from where it should be while on the streets could potentially cost an officer his or her life. MAWOL can be used as a gentle reminder to yourself or amongst fellow officers to stay mentally focused all the time.

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