Leadership Style Earns OP Public Safety Director Statewide Award

GallowayCollensTOPsunsetREVISEDLeadership SaharaAd_04Style Earns Oak Park Public Safety Director Statewide Award

(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 29, 2016)

Oak Park, MI – Oak Park Public Safety Director Steve Cooper has been in charge of Police and Fire services since 2012 and has been with the department since 1990, working his way up the ranks from a patrol officer.  To him, the 61 employees of the department (50 sworn officers, 11 support staff) are like family.  And the best honor he could receive was having that family submit a winning nomination on his behalf for Police Administrator of the Year.

“Any time you work with a group of men and women and you earn their respect to the point they feel confident in you to nominate you, such an award is humbling,” Director Cooper said.  “I’ve been fortunate through my career to receive a number of awards, and as I said yesterday when I accepted the award, that none – and I mean none – mean more to me than the one I received yesterday.”j and d ad

The award was given by the Police Officer Association of Michigan, a labor organization that advocates for and supports police officers.

The nominating letter sent to POAM referenced “The Six Traits Today’s Cops Need in their Chief,” and explained how Cooper had them all: experience, supportive, honest, forward thinking and open minded, transparent and inspiring.  They credited Director Cooper with uplifting the department, stating that “Director Cooper’s management style and personality instantly began to restore employee morale within the Department. Grievances and Jacks Addiscipline began to decline.”  They added that “When Director Cooper begins to tell a story, a group will form because it is known that it will end in laughter.”  They also noted that in 2012 “Director Cooper personally went out door to door in the community and gained support for the Public Safety Department.  This was a result of recent layoffs and Director Cooper’s support and efforts were essential in re-hiring of several officers.”

For Director Cooper, sincerity is a key factor in employee morale, stating that people know when you truly care or when you are being superficial.

“My personality is my personality.  You have different leadership styles.  I’m very open door policy, hands on, very concerned about the men and women who work Pledge_side_bluewith me on a daily basis.  I totally understand that morale is something from within, but as a leader of the organization I felt the responsibility to set a positive atmosphere that would facilitate a positive morale.  It does not mean you run a laissez faire type of operation, but then again there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to come in and laugh and enjoy your work while you’re actually serving and protecting the residents of Oak Park.

Oak Park Public Safety handles both police and fire services for the city. The oc115 sat down with Director Cooper to talk about what makes his department unique, about his history in law enforcement, and about his philosophies of leadership and policing.  Check out the video below to learn more of what Director Cooper had to say about his work:


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