Elements Of Community Ep. 13 Tells The Story Of How A Police Chief Used His Authority To Spur Lasting Change
Elements of Community, a podcast hosted by Fortune 500 Consultant & Coach Lucas Root, has launched its 13th episode. The Elements of Community podcast invites guests from all walks of life to investigate the factors that make a community thrive and bring value to its members and leaders.
Elements Of Community Episode 13: Elevating Authority Into Leadership brings in Mark Bustillos, Chief of Police for Concord, CA. Mark worked for the San Jose Police Department for almost 28 years. He has been serving Concord as Police Chief since April 2020. He holds a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University, a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Claremont Graduate School, and he is a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police through the Police Executive Research Forum.
The podcast begins with Mark talking about his efforts during his time in San Jose to get those living within his jurisdiction to trust the police. His challenge was to convince them that he and his colleagues were working tirelessly for their safety. To show his dedication to this goal, he began by engaging the community with small initiatives like collecting junk that was dumped on the curb. They even instituted a safety program to help school children walk to school without the oversight of their parents. These measures were part of a larger goal to change the perception of the neighborhood being transitional to a place where families could build happy lives.
One of the first setbacks that Mark experienced during his efforts in San Jose was a homicide that many children from the neighborhood witnessed. It wiped away a lot of the progress that his department had made. However, Mark says there was a silver lining to the unfortunate incident. The community showed to the police up in droves demanding a solution. This was in stark contrast to when they began their efforts. When they began, Mark says that they hardly had any engagement from the neighborhood’s residents. The homicide was solved within 48 hours and within weeks the children began walking to school on their own again.
Further in the podcast, Mark goes on to talk about how, as Police Chief, he set out to make the parks in Concord safer for leisure and recreation. Throughout the recounting of his efforts, Mark relates his efforts to Lucas Root’s framework. Lucas Root has identified four elements that are required for a group to become a community - Common Language, Project, Value, and Purpose. Mark mentions that, according to him, public parks are important because play can be the Common Language element from Lucas’s framework that spurs unity within a community.
Mark Bustillos also notes that the most egregious crimes in Concord, which are of high priority for the police department, are not the problems that are most visible to the community. Simpler issues, such as abandoned cars, which neighborhood residents walk by several times a day, are responsible for the most emphatic emails that he regularly receives.
Mark ends the podcast by commenting on how national calls for police accountability have changed the way he asks his team members to reconnect with the local population. He says that he uses the Purpose element in Lucas’s framework to remind young police officers why they chose this profession in the first place. He urges them to use that as inspiration to turn their authority into becoming assets that the community respects.
Lucas Root, the host of the Elements of Community podcast, talks about his interview with Police Chief Mark Bustillos by saying, “The years of wisdom and experience that Police Chief Mark Bustillos brings to be table are enviable. Moreover, his job is the epitome of building and nurturing a community. There is no better voice to learn how authority can be wielded for the greater good. He has managed to use the police’s authority in his precinct to make the community safer and bring it closer together. You can learn vital elements of community building and maintenance from Episode 13. here.”
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