The Public Safety Stock Exchange

As most of us know well, England voted and chose to leave the European Union in what became known as “Brexit”.  An immediate reaction to that decision was an immediate and significant decline in the financial markets around the world.   Yet, in just the few weeks after that worldwide reaction, those same financial trade indexes showed unprecedented growth and new all-time highs.

This unique experience caused me to wonder as to the very same fragile and reactive culture that public safety professions, particularly those in law enforcement, experience with their local and regional constituents as well as the more distant views and confidence levels of those across the country and around the world who become deeply affected by the events involving our nation’s police.  While both arenas most certainly react to events and set the tone for the future, the difference of course is that while the NYSE, Dow Jones, NASDAQ or S&P indexes provide a value in the form of money, law enforcement’s rating is all too often based upon lives that are irreparably altered.

Unlike what may transpire on Wall Street where the focus is on money, earnings and profit, the commodities traded among law enforcement agencies, their members and leaders, and the communities they serve are trust, confidence and credibility.  Yet the gains that can be made by law the enforcement community, and in particular those serving higher education, are limited when compared to how much we can all lose when we fail to care for the past investments our communities have made in us.

This may very well be the most important common thread for us to understand in the ‘PSSX’, or Public Safety Stock Exchange:  That, we too, are investors; that we are also brokers; and we are all profiteers.  While we most certainly can also experience indescribable losses, it is imperative that when we succeed, we must find ways to share that success as widely as possible.  And when we fail, we must provide the examples of active accountability that serve not merely as assurances to make things better, but more importantly to offer demonstrative acts of self-governance that are transparent and candid and courageous that also inspires others to follow.

We know well that blame arises when accountability seems to have evaporated, and we also know that punishment only becomes necessary when discipline is absent.  The trust and confidence that are available to all members of a community can be enjoyed, I believe, if we can develop the habit of giving without losing and taking without gaining.

The Public Safety Stock Exchange has one other odd but important distinction from our money markets, in that while we all participate in our communities with the sense that we possess ‘preferred stocks’, what we really need to actively, regularly and demonstrably trade among ourselves are the ‘common stocks’.  The common stocks are the ones that represent the much wider, more frequently-shared valuables in our lives:  Family, community, health, security, safety, and good schools for our kids, to name just a few.  Every member of every city, town or community wants these things and while they rarely come in the same shape, form, size or volume, we should all deeply want the opportunity to acquire them and to make them available on what should be an open market for others to acquire.

It matters less that we are speaking in terms of being part of a country, county or campus—so long as we are speaking and acting in a way that shows we understand that when it comes to what we have to share and to solve, ours is indeed a global market.  No neighborhood is free from the effects of another area that is at risk of failing, and no group can ignore another whose members need support.

It’s been said by many that the most valuable of all the things we have to spend is our time, and, that may be more true today than ever before.  Like many budgets with far too little to go around, we need time to act, listen, come together, and to rebuild.

And we need to accomplish these things before the trading stops.

This article was originally published at