Policing the Future

Maureen Seaberg
8 min readJun 15, 2020

A procedural and visionary book written ten years ago could show the way forward

By Maureen Seaberg

Jack L. Colwell and Charles “Chip” Huth tried to tell us a decade ago. Policing is about building relationships in a community and having respect for all citizens, regardless of whether they’ve “earned it.” We were not listening closely enough.

Their book, Unleashing the Power of Unconditional Respect: Transforming Law Enforcement and Police Training was what the two veteran law enforcement officers hoped would be a solution to strained relations between the police and the wider community. Today, they see the fabric fraying even further from the vantage point of The Arbinger Institute — a 45-year-old organization headquartered in Farmington UT. Arbinger is dedicated to advancing humanity and establishing community building through teaching an "outward mindset." Their hope has changed to a sense of urgency.

The book was very prescient. Both men have served the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department with distinction. Colwell is now retired and Huth is a major in its traffic division. Missouri is hardly a flyover state when it comes to law enforcement (or anything else). It is, rather, a foxhole with much to teach. Departments everywhere should pay attention.

“With a crime rate of 59 per one thousand residents, Kansas City has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes — from the smallest towns to the very largest cities,” according to www.neighborhoodscout.com. “One’s chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is one in 17.”

I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Colwell more about how he thinks the book’s principles could be applied today after a college friend now working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) introduced us. The following is our Q & A.

Could your book be even more relevant today than when it came out ten years ago?

Jack Colwell of Arbinger Institute.

Here is the general hypothesis Chip and I wrote the book to explore:

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Maureen Seaberg

Coauthor of Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel (HMH). Published in the New York Times, National Geographic, Psychology Today.