At the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT), Shenandoah Assistant Police Chief Bryan Carlisle personifies the professional face of media relations, especially in times of disaster like a hurricanes or toxic spills.
Carlisle is the lead instructor for LEMIT’s media relations classes, which are featured in the new chief program, incident command training, and Project EnCriPT, an initiative to train officers, code enforcers, sanitarians, industry inspectors and others in the civil and criminal aspects of environmental investigations and enforcement.
Carlisle teams up with Beth Albert of the Texas Center for the Missing for a child abduction program.“We should move away from “Why should we give them anything?” to “Why shouldn’t we give them something?” said Carlisle. “If you’ll look at almost any case, be it a law enforcement investigation or an environmental disaster, in almost every single case there is something that we can discuss. If we don’t choose to speak, we know what the outcome of that is and that is someone else speaks for us. You can rest assured that when someone else speaks for us, it is probably not going to be the message that we intend.”
Carlisle practices his craft in Shenandoah, where he oversees emergency planning and response and handles media and public relations. He has taken the city through hurricanes and other emergencies and engaged the media to promote the department through professional certifications and a program assigning officers to specific neighborhoods to improve quality of life issues and reduce crime.
Carlisle has traveled the country to help reduce line-of-duty officer deaths.He brings those lessons into the classroom – both in person and online – to share his experiences with other agencies across the country.
“Although you can’t control the media, you can control how you interact with the media,” Carlisle said.
During his public relations class, Carlisle addresses many aspects of dealing with the media, such as managing the image of the department, day planning for media, press releases and press conferences. He also prepares public information officers on how to handle media in an emergency, particularly in an ever-evolving situations.
After graduating from Sam Houston State University, College of Criminal Justice, Carlisle began his career with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, where he served in patrol, crime scene investigations, the training academy and the hostage negotiation team. At crime scenes, he noticed reporters lurking around, anxious to be the first to get the story. It was then he was often thrust in the spotlight.
In 2005, he joined the Shenandoah Police Department, a small suburb of Houston which fronts on a major interstate, bringing big city problems and issues to his doorstep. He has been involved in all facets of operations in the department and now oversees its daily operation, recruiting, internal affairs and professional standards. Carlisle led the department through two major designations recognizing best practice in law enforcement, including the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and the Texas Police Chief’s Association Foundation, Best Practices Law Enforcement Recognition.
Carlisle is active with LEMIT and Below 100.In 2004, he founded Crisis Training Solutions to provide practical training and consultation services to crisis managers in law enforcement and private industries. In addition to teaching at LEMIT, he also has been an instructor for “Below 100,” a national initiative to reduce police officer deaths in the line of duty by providing training on areas of greatest susceptibility, including wearing bulletproof vests, reducing speed, wearing safety belts and improving situational awareness.
“There are things we cannot control,” said Carlisle. “We want to address those issues that officers can control to reduce line of duty deaths.”
In addition to serving as an instructor for diverse training opportunities, Carlisle is a student pursuing his Master’s degree in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management through the weekend program at Sam Houston State University. He also has taken many courses at LEMIT, including Leadership Command College
“It seems like I never really left Sam Houston State University,” said Carlisle, who also earned a bachelor’s degree here. “It is all relevant. I truly believe that it has made me what I am today as a police officer and a leader.”