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Crisis Response: Professionalism and Grace

Crisis Response: Professionalism and Grace

Senator Ernie Chambers may have gone too far this week when comparing the Omaha Police Department to ISIS; now, fellow senators are calling for his resignation and pulling their support from his legislation. But professionalism and grace are shown in how these comments are handled when they’re directed at you, and those traits are precisely what Police Chief Todd Schmaderer showed this week as part of his response strategy.

Chief Schmaderer and the OPD upheld several PR principles when crafting a response strategy:

  • Quick thinking. A press conference was scheduled almost immediately after Chambers’ remarks gained momentum. While we don’t always advise such a fast response, this story wasn’t going to die down as time passed, so getting out in front of it quickly was the right move.
  • Defined messaging. He defined a clear message, and stuck to it, denouncing the senator’s comments as “unbecoming” of a state senator and having no value in police community relations. He ended by declaring that he stands by his officers, describing them as “hard-working professionals”.
  • Command performance. Calm, collected and confident are all words I would use to describe the Chief’s appearance during the press conference. It would be easy to let the vitriol of Chambers’ remarks rattle you, but our Chief is known for his calmness under pressure; this press conference was no exception.

We commend the OPD and Chief Schmaderer for their response strategy, which shows that when you take the time to develop a clear message, you can effectively manage unforeseen issues. #SupportBlue