Gordon Graham is a 33 year veteran of California Law Enforcement. His education as a Risk Manager and experience as a practicing Attorney, coupled with his extensive background in law enforcement, have allowed him to rapidly become recognized as a leading professional speaker in both private and public sector organizations with multiple areas of expertise.
Mr. Graham is a product of “The Greatest Generation.” Raised in San Francisco in the 1950s, he not only learned that love of God, love of Country, and love of family was critical, but he was also taught the immense value of continuous learning, hard work and the importance of always doing the right thing. These beliefs and values have become a constant and a catalyst in his busy life.
After his first twelve years of formal education in the Catholic school system, Gordon began his undergraduate work at San Francisco State College during the tenure of S.I. Hayakawa who further reinforced those basic values and beliefs. He was graduated in 1973 with a B.A. in Business.
In 1973 Gordon was selected as a candidate for a major west coast law enforcement agency. Thereafter, he proudly served as a motorcycle officer for most of his first ten years in the Los Angeles area. In addition to his patrol work, he helped design the first DUI task force, assisted in the development of the DRE (drug recognition program), was an instructor in the initial “Mod I and II” Haz Mat program, and wrote his first of many technical papers: “PCP–An Officer’s Survival Guide.”
Simultaneously he was furthering his formal education during his off hours. Spending two years at Long Beach State College under the tutelage of Dr. Richard Kaywood led to his receiving a Lifetime Teaching Credential.
Following this degree, he attended University of Southern California in their Institute of Safety and Systems Management. He will quickly tell you that this was the best education he ever received from the best and the brightest people in the field. His professors included Chaytor Mason, Ted Ferry, Bill Petak and Harry Hurt. His relationship with Professor Hurt led to his being selected as a team member collecting data for The Hurt Report. Published in 1980, this report on motorcycle fatalities was and is recognized as the single greatest treatise on motorcycle safety.
After completing his Masters, his off duty time was then spent at Western State University School of Law, where he was graduated in 1982 with his Juris Doctorate. He passed the California Bar Exam the same year and opened his law offices in Hollywood, where he focused his efforts on family law, immigration and personal injury work.
In his law enforcement life, Gordon was promoted to Sergeant in 1982 and supervised his former unit–the motorcycle cops of his agency assigned to Los Angeles. He and his fellow Sergeants on “B” shift stressed the values and beliefs and built the most productive team of motorcycle officers in the history of the department.
During this time period, he saw deficiencies in how officers were trained, and revolutionized law enforcement training in California with his SROVT program: Solid, Realistic, Ongoing, Verifiable, Training. This daily training bulletin concept resulted in his later being awarded the California Governor’s award for excellence in law enforcement training.
His personal life took a definite change for the better when he met his lovely bride, Reneé, and they were married in 1983. In 1992 Gordon was transferred to a staff position and assigned to headquarters where he continued his work in law enforcement training. He also sharpened his focus on how his education and training in systems and his legal background could work together to improve the quality of law enforcement operations by incorporating real risk management into police operations.
During this time window he commenced delivering his training programs to private sector organizations, including those involved in commercial real estate, hospital operations, manufacturing companies, aerospace operations, nuclear power plants, auto racing operations and many others.
He also expanded his efforts to assist other public safety organizations and in 2002 worked with Chief Billy Goldfeder to develop FireFighterCloseCalls.comwhich is now recognized as “the source” for information about fire fighter safety. This effort led to his assisting the International Association of Fire Chiefs with a similar effort–and the development of their FireFighterNearMiss.com safety site. In 2005 the IAFC awarded Gordon with the Presidential Award for Excellence for his lifelong work in improving firefighter safety and performance.
In 2002, along with Bruce Praet, Gordon became a founder of Lexipol–a company designed to standardize policy, procedure and training in public safety operations. Today, most of the law enforcement agencies in California are using the Lexipol Knowledge Management System and nearly half of the States are now using this approach to law enforcement operations. This effort has greatly improved the safety of police personnel while also influencing a dramatic reduction in claims, settlements and verdicts adverse to law enforcement agencies.
Gordon held his law enforcement headquarters assignment until his service retirement in 2006. In 2008, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from California POST. In 2015, he received the Lifetime Dedication Award from the International Public Safety Leadership and Ethics Institute. In 2018, he received the James Oberstar Sentinel for Safety Award for his lifetime work in improving aviation safety internationally.
Today, Gordon divides his time between study, research, writing, speaking, and consulting in the discipline of risk management. His innovative programs, based on the values and beliefs he learned as a child along with a passion for continuous improvement, are the standard for any organization that wants to improve existing operations and prevent things from going wrong.
He and “Mrs. G” are the proud parents of two adult children–who hopefully will take the values and beliefs along with them in their personal and professional lives. A resident of Southern California, he enjoys spending every possible moment with Mrs. G “cruising the coast” either in their vintage wooden boat or their wooden car and finding new adventures and new places to enjoy a great meal.