Blue Line

Features Editor’s Commentary
Adaptability: the key to success


April 5, 2021
By Brieanna Charlebois

Topics

Adaptability. The personality trait that determines how well individuals adjust to change to best meet the needs of the situation or environment. Adaptability is made up of two main components: flexibility and versatility. Flexibility refers to attitude (how willing one is to adapt), while versatility refers to ability (how capable one is to change in the face of adversity).

While all Canadians were forced to adapt in response to COVID-19, this was not a new skill for law enforcement officers. From reacting quickly to changing (and often high-risk) circumstances while on shift to adjusting to new assignments or units, adaptability is built into the job description.

Interestingly, this month’s theme is mobile communications and IT in policing. It focuses on how officers readily adapt to new technological advancements to streamline and aid in police work. A recent example is the adoption of the Child Search Network as an official component of Canada’s national strategy for missing children. The implementation of the ‘Rescu’ app aims to aid in missing children investigations for cases that don’t meet the strict criteria for the Amber Alert. Featured in this month’s technology section, the Child Search Network was endorsed by the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs on Feb. 25.

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“Adaptability allows for more seamless adoptions of technology, easier transitions into new roles and allows us to bounce back faster in the face of adversity.”

An ever-evolving field, technology can both aid and challenge new users. For this month’s cover story, contributor Sherri St. Cyr, an 11-year member with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, uses her department as a case study to assess the merits of texting as a means to communicate with police. The benefits and challenges it poses exemplify the many issues departments must consider when implementing new technology.

Technological advancements and the increased reliance on these connected systems has pushed the topic of cybersecurity to the forefront in the policing world. Protecting computer systems and networks from information disclosure, theft of or damage to their hardware, software, or electronic data has become a hot topic among law enforcement services worldwide. Contributor Gavin Daly addresses the issue of cybersecurity, embracing the old adage that “the best offence is a good defence”.

In the Back of the Book, retired Inspector Lance Valcour provides tips for implementing new technology successfully. The most important aspect of the process, he writes, is putting an information management strategic plan in place first. He provides an eight-step check-list for success.

While being adaptable may not come naturally for some, we can consciously decide to be flexible in our ideas and expectations. Eventually, this shift in
attitude will allow us to better adjust to inevitable life changes. Isabelle Sauvé tackles this subject in her column. Failure is opportunity, she writes. It allows for personal and professional growth and encourages adaptability when faced with similar situations in the future.

It is clear that adaptability is key—maybe more now than ever before. It makes us better leaders and teammates. Adaptability allows for more seamless adoptions of technology, easier transitions into new roles and allows us to bounce back faster in the face of adversity. When it comes to development opportunities, focusing on the two key areas of adaptability showcased in this issue (new technology and leadership/ people skills) can result in tangible benefits.

Working to develop your understanding of new technology and learning how to use it can increase effectiveness and productivity. Communication is a critical component in proactively engaging with your team and the public. While technology automates certain processes, the more complex, ‘human’ elements of project management is where you, as law enforcement professionals, add real value.