Mentoring

So this is gonna be different from what I usually post but here it is. I put in for Sergeant at my work and as part of the process I was told to write an essay about being a mentor. Full names have been redacted for the privacy of the individuals.

To mentor someone does not necessarily that the person you are mentoring is younger or of a lesser rank than you are.  Anyone more knowledgeable can mentor someone as long as both parties are willing.  Mentoring can be as simple as showing someone how to do something or a better way to do it. However,to be an effective mentor you need to not only encourage but support the people you are helping.  Tell them when they’re are doing a good job and be as kind as you can when you correct them while still making sure the issue is properly addressed with as much seriousness as it requires.  Too many times in our current day and age when people correct each other, it comes with condemnation and talking down to the other person.  This happens far too often and has the exact opposite effect, especially when that is all the person hears.  An effective mentor should point out both the good and the bad and recognize the achievements the person has made therein.

To effectively mentor someone it requires that you provide a good example. It also requires that you make yourself available to those who need help, as well as making yourself approachable.  By no means do you have to provide all the answers for them.  Doing so will not lead to mentoring someonebut instead treats them like a child. One of the main goals when mentoring someone should always be to make them more self-sufficient.  Especially when mentoring subordinate Officers since one of the main goals of mentoring both subordinate and younger officers should be to mentor them in such a way that they may one day replace you.  So instead of simply providing them with the answer you should show them how to find out the answer for themselves as well. To give an example if a newofficer constantly calls you asking questions about policy and you just give the answer every time, whereas if you had shownthem how to find the answer it would show them how to be more self-reliant and accomplish so much more.

During my time as Field Training Officer I have done my best to teach and advise both my own trainees and new employees. I have done so by teaching and advising others more effective ways to deal with situations and questions as they arise. Which in turn shows them more effective ways to deal with pods and Inmates. During my time as a Training Officer I have had the privilege of watching people that I have trained go on to receivepromotions and advance in our agency. One of my former Trainees I am most proud of is J. Nevarez, after Officer Nevarez completed training he decided he wanted to go to Admissions and Release. After he had worked in Admissions and Release for some time he went out for Sergeant but did notreceive it, however he did not let that deter him. He later on transferred to a new position under Alyse Ferguson and helped pioneer a new position and write the policy for that position. He achieved all of this after being employed with the Sheriff’s Office for less than 4 years. He has since promoted to Programs Coordinator and trained his successor for his former positionwhom I am proud of is also one of my former trainees J. Hill.

If I am given this opportunity to continue being a mentor in new ways as a Supervisor I will continue to learn more about my job and other leadership skills so I can continue to improve and help others improve.   To be an effective mentor you have to continuously try to improve.   I do so both by reading books about leadership, as well as taking every training class I can.  In the current training cycle, I have completed 306 Training hours, learning more about various aspects of being a jailer, how to better deescalate situations, how to interview sexual assault victims, how to objectively classify inmates, and many other things as well.  I have utilized my own money and my personal time at home to take the majority of these classes that I have taken during this training cycle. I constantly tell both Trainees and new employees alike “You must constantly continue to learn, and improve.  If you do not continue to learn you’ll think you know everything and that can get you and others hurt. I’ve been here for 8 years and I continue to learn stuff all the time.”   I do my best to teach this attitude to my trainees and my fellow employees to enable them to be better at their jobs and to be more self-sufficient, and to always be a student of their trade.  

To be a true and effective Mentor it takes more than just being a mentor at work.  In my personal life I strive to be a mentor to my younger brothers and my coworkers, both at work and outside of work.  I try my best to be approachable to people and let them know they can talk to me about anything.  In the last couple of years both through my own struggles and from watching others I have seen a need for mentors when it comes to mental health. Law enforcement is a hard job both on the street and behind the walls.   Our job can take a serious toll on people, which has only become more apparent over the last several years. Over the last 2 years I have continuously put myself out there to friends, coworkers, and family as someone people can come to when they’re struggling mentally. By doing so I have personally helped several officers to get the help that they sorely needed.   

I cannot go into details about who I have helped or exactly how I have helped besides getting them the resources that they needed. These Officers that I have helped came to me with the knowledge that it would be confidential. However when they did so I informed them that if I thought they were a danger to themselves or others that I would no longer be able to keep it confidential because I will not risk their own safety or the safety of others. It will suffice it to say that they were going through issues that if they received help they would most likely not be working with us anymore, not because they didn’t want to but because they would not have properly been able to continue without getting the help that they needed. Whether or not I receive the position of Sergeant, it will not change the fact that I will continue to mentor others. I will always continue to do all that I can to improve our facility and agency. I will continue to do all that is within my power to enable my coworkers to better live their lives, and perform their jobs.

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