What You Do Matters
The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Prescott partnered with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum when local civic and law enforcement leaders traveled to Washington, D.C. on March 16, 2006. The delegation attended the Museum’s widely acclaimed community program: “Law Enforcement and Society: The Lessons of the Holocaust”. As part of a pilot program for the Museum, Greater Prescott was the first small community in the United States to have its law enforcement leaders experience this dynamic and interactive program that emphasizes ethical leadership in law enforcement.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has developed a variety of community programs designed to enhance the understanding of the Holocaust and related issues, including those of contemporary significance. In 1999, the Museum, the Anti-Defamation League, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Judicial Center joined forces to develop a training program in ethical leadership for law enforcement personnel. The resulting program examines the history of the Holocaust and encourages law enforcement officials to reflect upon their personal and professional responsibilities in a pluralistic democracy.
Because Prescott was representative of many rapidly growing and progressive small cities, the Museum hoped to obtain valuable insight and input from the Prescott area’s participants as to the relevance of the program to smaller communities. What the Museum got was a new idea of how to expand their program to teach ethical leadership to prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement professionals throughout the country. After participating in the program, Sheila Polk, working with the Foundation and the Holocaust Museum developed programs for these criminal justice professionals. Today, Museum educators and historians have taught the judges’ program to more than 20,000 judges and court personnel teach throughout the nation. In addition, a new course, What You Do Matters: Lessons from the Holocaust, is being taught to more than 100 different police and sheriff agencies throughout Arizona by specially trained law enforcement facilitators. Over 6,500 law enforcement professional have received this training.
What You Do Matters: Lessons from the Holocaust
Nine Years of Stunning Results
The very first Leadership Mission sponsored by the Jewish Foundation occurred in March of 2006 when a group of law enforcement and civic leaders from greater Prescott traveled to Washington, D.C. to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) to participate in a program entitled: Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust. What has happened in the ensuing nine years is nothing other than extraordinary.
As one of the leaders who participated in the 2006 trip, Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney, quickly recognized the value the program could have for judges, prosecutors, and sworn law enforcement officers in Arizona. Knowing it would be impractical to send the state’s 800 judges, 1,00 prosecutors, and 15,000 sworn officers to Washington, D.C., Polk set out to reproduce the programming in Arizona. Over the past nine years, Polk has collaborated with the USHMM, the Jewish Foundation, the law enforcement agencies of Yavapai County, the City of Cottonwood, the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZPOST), and Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council (APAAC) to accomplish the following:
- In 2007, the staff of the USHMM traveled to Tucson to present the course to those attending the Arizona Prosecutors Annual Summer Conference.
- In 2008, the staff of USHMM presented the program, How the Courts Failed Nazi Germany: Justice in the Nazi Era, to 800 Arizona judges at their Annual Judges Summer Conference in Tucson.
- The staff of USHMM successfully presented the judges’ program to the Chief Justices of the fifty states and six territories of the United States at the 2009 Annual Conference for State Supreme Court Justices held in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
- With a $1.0 million gift from Jewish Foundation trustee Don Hecht and his wife, Susie, USHMM has been able to expand the judges’ program – reaching more than 20,000 state judges and staff over the past 8 years.
- In 2010, Polk turned her attention back to Yavapai County and began to strategize how the original program she had seen at USHMM in 2006 could be brought to Yavapai County. Working with Doug Bartosh, City Manager of Cottonwood, Polk created a program called: What You Do Matters: Lessons from the Holocaust. Using law enforcement professionals instead of USHMM educators and historians, and using portable posters instead of the USHMM’s permanent exhibits, Polk developed a program that allowed police officers and prosecutors to experience the Lessons from the Holocaust without traveling to Washington, D.C. First presented in February of 2012, What You Do Matters: Lessons from the Holocaust has been taught to law enforcement professionals throughout Yavapai County.
- For the past seven years, a group of dedicated facilitators from across the state of Arizona have been teaching the program, What You Do Matters: Lessons from the Holocaust, to law enforcement professionals throughout the state and the nation.
- The Foundation would like to thank the people and organizations that have made this project possible. Our community and our state are fortunate to have this type of educational programming available to the members of the criminal justice system.