Leadership In Action: Sierra Meredith

Sierra Meredith, Junior, Metropolitan Police Department as a Detective Aide

This semester I am interning with the Metropolitan Police Department as a Detective Aide. This makes my main job function assisting the Detectives with their caseload. This can be anything from following up on a case, to watching surveillance footage, or writing arrest requests. I’ve learned so much over the last 8 weeks at my internship about law, public safety, and the hierarchy of the department. One of the most significant things I have noticed, that allows the department to function so well, is their leadership. They have a very concrete hierarchy to send information through and receive direction through; however, they also understand when to throw this chain of command out the window. 

When arriving on a scene, the officer or detective who arrives first is automatically in charge. They have this rule because the person who arrives first is the one securing the scene and accessing what is needed for the overall safety of the involved people. So even if a more experienced officer shows up to assist, the first responder remains in charge of delegation of tasks. Without this rule, there could be confusion as to who has seniority or the highest rank, or we could find the highest officer may know nothing about the current scene. Leaders in this situation know when to step away and give their control to someone else. I’ve seen this same concept occur in the office as well as the field. When there is an area that the lieutenants or sergeants don’t understand they ask those who do to lead. This way everyone’s knowledge, including their own, will be bettered by getting the experience from someone who has it, whether that be a new officer or decorated captain.

From this internship I’ve seen how leadership isn’t always being in charge. Part of it is trusting your team enough to let them lead when it is what’s best for the community. And by letting others lead, I’ve seen those leaders become more respected by those below them in the chain of command. It is more respected to understand when someone else’s leadership is necessary versus using your own when you are less knowledgeable. 

Read more Leadership in Action blog posts here.