Mike Broadhead Has The Chief Skills to Lead
Mike Broadhead remembers vividly the moment he felt called to be a policeman. He was in third grade and watching as a police officer waved to him from his patrol car. From that moment to this, Broadhead has explored the role of law enforcement officer for almost 33 years.
From Westminster, Colorado, he joined the U.S. Army in 1984 at the age of 18, where he served as a Military Policeman for 3 years. After being honorably discharged in June of 1988, Broadhead entered the police academy at Columbia College in nearby Denver, Colorado.
He was hired by the Littleton, Colorado, Police Department where he served for 21.5 years. In Littleton, Broadhead worked his way through the ranks of the police department serving in just about every capacity.
“I did everything from training to dispatch records. I was always open to the opportunity to do something different,” said Broadhead.
Broadhead served as the Police Chief for his last seven years in Littleton before retiring after putting in over 20 years of service there.
“Working in traffic and as a detective and then chief, I learned that there is a right way to do the job. I believe the Chief sets the tone of how an agency will operate. It’s my responsibility to make sure we do the job right,” he said.
Broadhead has been on the job long enough to see a change in how the public perceives law enforcement officers.
“The job of policeman is complicate because people are complicated,” said Broadhead. “There are people you meet who may be under the influence of drugs. There may be dynamic perps that challenge you, but there is a way to set the tone of how to treat and interact with people. And our goal will always be service.”
Broadhead is philosophical about the role of law enforcement in society as a whole.
“Police have moved away from communities. On the other side, the public expects the police to solve problems that they are not willing or able to solve,” Broadhead said. “There’s poverty, the lack of good parenting, mental illness, those are problems that the police deal with every day, but we’re not equipped to solve. Some police departments have withdrawn from their communities to assess how to best serve and create a safe community even on the ugliest day.”
To alleviate those social problems, Broadhead believes constant training of the force and establishing a culture of service with protocols in place for how situations will be handled, will create a way of doing business that is focused on the community.
His motto is “Duty, Honor, and Community.” To him, that’s what policing is all about.
“With Duty, you ask yourself, ‘What are my responsibilities? What are we trying to accomplish?’ he said. “With Honor the question is ‘How do we do it?’ Then comes Community, and that’s the whole reason why we are here.”
The idea of constant training of officers is especially important to Broadhead.
“In July we will have a change of schedule and there will be a full time Training Officer for Statesboro,” he said. “We will give incentives for extra training obtained by our officers, for example we’ll pay overtime to those who spend extra practice time on the gun range.”
He thinks it will serve to bring everyone up to the same level. “We need to have all our officers fully trained to the same standard,” said Broadhead. “How an officer uses force is a function of good training. We will train properly and implement new policies so that all officers understand the spirit and effectiveness of the department.”
With a very young force, Broadhead believes through professional training, the officers will always default to the highest level of training attained. Broadhead would like to also send officers to training in Forsyth at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, who can return to share their training with the department back home.
Broadhead sees his greatest challenge in the recruitment of officers, what he calls finding the right people. “Because of the national mood towards law enforcement in general, we’re finding fewer and fewer candidates.” Keeping officers motivated and respected, while only being able to offer low wages is challenging also.
“I’m looking for the right person with a spirit of service and a sense of duty. We must pay them a rate where they can make a living,” he said. “Officers are hired on behalf of the public to take care of problems.”
In December of 2009, he left Littleton to accept the job as Chief of Police for the city of Riverton, Wyoming, where he served for seven more years in law enforcement before moving to Statesboro in April of this year.
Broadhead’s wife Kristen, and sons Jack (16), and Cole (13), have moved to Statesboro this summer after school ended for the year. This fall Jack will be a junior at Statesboro High School and Cole is enrolled at William James.
Broadhead credits his family and God with influencing his career and his commitment to his calling. “My wife and my boys have been a great influence on who I am today. We’ve been married 20 years and I know that I want to lead a life of integrity so that I never embarrass my family. I am a Christian man, and I believe that this job is a calling,” he said.
He also gives credit to his parents for the way he was brought up. “I grew up in a stable home environment with good parents who always encouraged me to do my best.”
Broadhead also had a mentor, Ray Richert, a friend of his father’s, on the force in Littleton, who he credits with teaching him how to be a real policeman.
Other inspiration comes from his faith. “I believe in prayer and spending time in reading the Bible,” he said. “You don’t pack up everything you own and move 2,000 miles away unless you have faith.”
There are some things about law enforcement that Broadhead is certain about. Officers need on-going training throughout their careers. Officers need encouragement to go back to school, because as society’s problem solvers, they need a large toolbox. Police are a tool in solving those problems, not the answer. Broadhead hopes to give his officers the confidence to always ask for help.
“I think if we can have a well-trained police department, giving them the skills to do a good job, and if we teach service to the community and have our officers connect with residents, then we will have gone a long way in establishing a good relationship with our residents based on trust and community service,” he said.