The Dante S. Stephensen Memorial Leadership Conversations
The Dante S. Stephensen Memorial Leadership Conversations professional training series is named after GILEE Graduate (2000) and Supporter Dante S. Stephensen (1935-2020). Dante was an Atlanta icon as a prominent restaurateur and served his country as a Navy Seal. At Dante’s Down the Hatch he was a gracious host who promoted an enjoyable culinary entertainment along with great live jazz music. He was a supporter of law enforcement and a generous benefactor to a number of charities such as Fernbank Museum and the African Wild Animals Preservation Group. He was an avid researcher and an amateur anthropologist and geologist; his annual letters described his world travels and brought remote corners of the world closer. Dedicating GILEE’s Leadership Conversation series in his memory is a fitting tribute.
Each meeting of the Lunch & Learn series features law enforcement leaders who engage in a moderated conversation about key issues that touch upon their insights, concerns, innovations, dilemmas, experiences, solutions, and their visions of policing. These monthly conversations are designed for law enforcement leaders, corporate security chiefs, and civic leaders. They provide an opportunity to discuss policing and public safety issues, challenges, and solutions, to foster better public-private partnerships. They are also intended to serve as educational training tools for law enforcement agencies for their own professional development.
In the first session of the series, three GILEE graduates discuss policies and procedures and their implementation that benefits not only law enforcement but also the community served by their police departments. The discussion also focuses on the internal departmental issues such as officer recruitment and retention as well as internal culture and confidentiality of communication. The complexities of the pandemic have brought forth unique challenges that have called upon innovative solutions
State agency leaders discuss how they have been able to utilize pandemic adversity to their advantage by leveraging and building on available technology. The discussion also focuses on how to address crimes that have proliferated during the pandemic, proactive communication, and engagement with the community in shaping police reform.
How has the sudden and complex adversity of the pandemic affect jail operations? Sheriffs discuss new procedures and layers of protection that were implemented to mitigate the risk to the inmate population, as well as the law enforcement personnel. Discussion also focuses on current challenges and trends in recruitment and retention of deputies in metro Atlanta and rural Georgia, and the value of mentorship and leadership that leads to greater transparency and accountability to the local communities.
Developing and nurturing collaborative relationships with your community. Addressing officer mental health by strengthening peer support programs and implementing early intervention systems. Police chiefs from Georgia, North Carolina, and Kentucky discuss navigating tumultuous 2020 and building a more diverse, more balanced, and more respectful profession.
Reimagining policing through self-reflection and self-audit to bridge gaps and drive change. Encourage and empower officers to think outside the box and bring their talents into the profession to connect with people in the community, Discussion also focuses on the gradual meticulous process of building partnerships with the community to achieve common goals of truth, justice, and fundamental fairness.