Three Questions With: Harvey Hedden – May 30

Law enforcement officers from Roosevelt and Curry counties gathered at Eastern New Mexico University Tuesday and Wednesday to attend a training seminar aimed at improving their customer service.

The classes were instructed by Harvey Hedden, executive director of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association.

Hedden, a native of Wisconsin, has been a law enforcement officer for 32 years, serving in ranks from patrolman to chief.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

Portales Police Chief Doug Jones, left, introduces International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association Executive Director Harvey Hedden. Hedden held a customer service training Wednesday at Eastern New Mexico University for local law enforcement officials.

1 What is ILEETA's role in law enforcement?

There have been several law enforcement training associations. They've all come and gone but the biggest problem is they became too bureaucratic. What we try to do is extend resources to trainers and network with them. Everything from forums on Facebook, to articles. It's all directed to getting more resources to trainers.

I think everyone in every job wants to do a good job. To make that better, a lot of what we talk about is communication. The most important aspect of communication is listening. When someone calls the police, they're calling because they want someone to listen to them, but sometimes officers are so report-driven, they're not listening.

2 Law enforcement jobs are typically considered service jobs but not necessarily customer service jobs. Who are the customers to law enforcement officers?

Everyone we deal with is the customer; the public, the citizens, even the people we arrest. If you treat the people as customers, you do a better job. Since nothing is done by yourself in law enforcement, we need to make sure we treat each other with respect too and then it reflects outside of the organization.

3 Talk about a time your customer service made a difference.

I came across a boy looking for his lost dog in 1977. He asked me to help him. This is not a typical law enforcement mission but he looked heart-broken so I told him we'll put a BOLO (Be On the Look Out advisory notification) for his dog.

I asked him if his parents knew where he was, then I offered to take him home. His parents were frantic when he got there and of course his dog was back home.

No big deal but years later I went to shake a young officer's hand after a speech he gave and the officer asked me if I remembered helping him with his dog.

He felt he was well-served and after that it translated to a trust for law enforcement and to his career.

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