Published: June 2, 2022

What’s on your summer reading list? CU Boulder Chief of Police Doreen Jokerst recommends Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek. She recently added her pick to the University Libraries summer media list, and it was the inaugural read for the new CU Boulder Police Department (CUPD) book club.

Author Simon Sinek speaks virtually with in-person CUPD members

Author Simon Sinek speaks virtually with CUPD book club members during their May meeting.

Jokerst said campus stakeholders will be able to see firsthand how police are putting the book’s key messages into action as they interact with community members. 

“I subscribe to the author’s philosophy and strategic mission to help people understand their “why” and wake up every day inspired to do their best work,” Jokerst said. “This translates directly into how we interact with members of our campus and wider Boulder community.” 

Sinek, who appeared virtually for a live Q&A session to conclude CUPD’s spring book club, said he was proud to help encourage self-reflection, leadership and team building. “The policing profession is years behind private sector organizations in terms of this type of professional development. It’s encouraging to see CUPD embrace a new kind of leadership training and help lead the way for the rest of the profession,” he said.

Book club member Muskan Ghimire, a CUPD community safety official (CSO) who has been with the department for a year, said the reading helped him learn to lead more effectively in a fast-paced, high-contact environment. (CSOs logged more than 8,000 miles patrolling campus on foot in 2021, encountering countless campus community members.) 

Ghimire said author Sinek’s explanation of what drives people to act in certain ways resonated with him. “Putting people first is critical. Our world is dynamic, and we must accept that individuals will function in different ways than we do.” 

Jokerst plans to lead another CUPD book club next academic year, and is eyeing Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family, by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia as the next selection. Chapman paid CUPD a visit earlier this month and is behind the intensive listening and communication course that many police department members have engaged in. 

Chapman says CUPD can set an example for other police departments by putting listening first. “Police officers spend hundreds of hours learning how to enforce the law, and this class gave them the equally important skill of listening to understand, not to judge or debate. These skills are critical when interacting with the community.” 

CUPD members from commanders to commissioned officers to professional staff participated in the inaugural book club. “I’m so pleased we could take this time as a department to better understand our mission—our ‘why’—and continue to refine and improve the way we interact with our CU Boulder and community stakeholders. I know they’ll notice a difference.”