The Space Between Police & Community

When it comes to dealing with conflict and violence, we talk a lot about tactical space.

What is it exactly and what does it have to do with the recent situation of the death of Grand Rapids resident Patrick Lyoya, who was killed by a GRPD officer after a traffic stop and altercation. 

Simply put, the tactical space holds the place of advantage, the place of relative safety. 

Ok, so what does this have to do with any of this exactly?

Stick with me here a minute, because it's important that you understand this. 


Before I go on, I want to back up a second to recognize that we are talking about the lives of real people here. 

My condolences go out to Patrick's family and loved ones. No matter the circumstance, it is heart breaking losing someone you love, especially to violence. 

I also want to extend my thoughts to the officer and his family. 

This situation is surely going to affect all of us, obviously, some more greatly than others, but make no mistake, it's ripple effect will be felt by all in some way.

We don't know all of the details of the situation yet, regardless I foresee a rough road ahead not just the people and families involved, but for our entire community. 

How much so will be determined by tactical space.

Did I Just Make a Jump There!?


No, I didn't.

Like I said, hang with me here a minute.

Most people have no clue what we are talking about when we bring up Tactical Space, To many, it just sounds like a psudo-military buzz word uttered by someone trying to sound cool. 

It's not.

It's actually a powerful concept that once understood, can help you to navigate a situation more effectively... 

Even situations like this.

The idea of tactical space is have the place of advantage. The safe place.

We often talk about this place in physical terms: Stand here you are safe, stand there, you are not.... Stand here and you have an advantage, stand there and you don't.

Well, this concept is not limited to only the physical aspect of an encounter. 
What Am I Getting At Really!?

Gaining the advantage and controlling the 'tactical space' is physical, emotional, psychological, verbal, social, etc.

Think of winning a debate or de-escalating a situation... Imagine diplomacy or 'psyching' someone out. How about reconciliation?

All of these are examples of tactical space, just in another context.
So, what's the 'Tactical Space' of a relationship then?


And it's this space that will be tested here in Grand Rapids. 

Trust between the black community and law enforcement. 

Trust between the black community and the white community. 

Trust between law enforcement and the citizens.

Trust between officers.

Trust with our leaders.

Trust in one another.

Trust Takes Courage

It's going to take a lot of courage on everyone's part to navigate through this. 

There'll be difficult conversations that need to happen in the days, weeks, months, even years ahead. 

Some of these conversations will not be easy. 

You and I are not immune to this. As a matter of fact some of us reading this email will be on the front line of these discussions. 

Stay clear, calm, empathetic...


These conversations will come from different perspectives and are just as likely to occur between you and friends and family. They will happen in public, private, at work, on line, and sometimes sneak up on you unexpectedly,

You can win the argument, but lose a lot more. It depends on how you communicate as much as what you communicate. Remember, it's not just what you do, but also how you go about doing it. 

You have to be able to find the balance point inside of the static and emotion. 

Separate the Life Value of the Person while you approaperately discuss beliefs and deal with behavior.

It won't be easy, but it is an opportunity to build a trusting relationship, rather than just win an argument or make an enemy. 

Think of a Marriage...

It's like any relationship, good ones are built on trust. 

Trust is established in the good times and bad. 

The more trust you have, the easier it is to successfully navigate the bad times. 

Well... bad times have come a knocking here in Grand Rapids and many of us represent factions of our community that will need to heal and build.

Stay Strong. Stay Clear.

We have to keep moving forward in order to forge trusting relationships. 

There's mending to do on both sides of our fence.  

Let's try not to get in our own way. 

Want More?!

Check out my free home study course:

Keep going,


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