California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 17

CPCA: What role has your education - and education of officers in general - played in the city’s success? Walters: Education has played a key role in helping me be a better leader and understand the latest strategies and tactics. The same is true for my staff and officers. They don’t want to be under utilized. They want to make a difference. Our job as leaders is to give them the support and training along with a culture of excellence and innovation that allows them to be the most effective. The master’s degree in public administration and the command college helped me greatly through my career deal with complex problems and be an influential member of the city’s executive management team. I believe you never stop learning. I read a tremendous amount of books about leadership and current events and issues. I can’t seem to get enough knowledge. It helps me every day make decisions that I have to make as chief - and for the past year as city manager. Leadership and our challenges today are probably more difficult than they have been in the past 30 years. Being a safe city is key to any city’s success. I have pushed to make sure everyone that is involved with or lives and works in the city knows the Santa Ana success story and the people who made it possible. CPCA: What advice would you give to a police chief on how to navigate the tricky political aspects of the job? Walters: My advice to any new chief is ask someone who has been there to get their insight. When you are immersed in an issue someone that is not connected to the problem or the department can see things you cannot see while you are in the everyday mix. Above all use your best judgment to lead and guide your leaders to do what is right for the community and always for the right reasons. I have been fortunate that I always worked for very ethical leaders that believed in me and what I was trying to do. You have to be happy doing what you do, and you have to feel good about every day. Being a leader requires making difficult decisions It is not about giving orders. It is about building a culture where others can be successful and make a difference. • City of Santa Ana - FBI Crime Index (per 1,000 Population) Spring 2012 | 17