TOPEKA, Kansas (WIBW) -- Topeka Police Chief Ron MIller lead a state-wide webinar Wednesday morning discussing how to improve departments' leadership skills after a tragedy.
December 16th, 2012 is still fresh in Topeka Police Officers' minds - the night two of their own were gunned down.
Chief Miller sat down to lead an hour-long webinar to more than 40 agencies in the Kansas Law Enforcement Leadership Academy about how to react in times of chaos, and used the December incident as an example.
"What was learned afterward that can help other law enforcement executives prepare their departments for this kind of thing," Miller said.
Miller said it is the executives' duty to lead, to be able to communicate internally, notify their personnel when something goes wrong, delegate command positions to capable people. It's important to establish relationships with grieving families, the community, media and other departments.
"You have to build these relationships when nothing's going on," Miller said. "You have to go to lunch and get to know people so that when something is going on, you can reach out and get help."
What happened on December 16 was a tragedy, but it also called to light the need for more leadership education.
The KU Public Management Center runs the Kansas LELA, and Executive Director Charles Jones facilitated the webinar.
"We did a poll and out of all the law enforcement agencies that answered, about 100, 70% said that leadership training was very important but only fewer than 10% had gone through leadership training."
Miller said many officers don't think about estate planning, wills, insurance policies or pensions in case of an emergency. He said many millenials don't think about what would happen to their families if something were to happen to them. He called for departments providing more information on those policies.
"There are different kinds of lifestyles and relationships that exist in the 21st century and we have to be prepared for how to deal with those situations as well."
Jones said this is the first of a series of law enforcement webinars to come. He said the Kansas LELA chose Miller to lead the first one because he is a respected and well-known leader in Kansas.