Courtesy, Formality, and Command

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Although this is not a military organization, the structure and hierarchy is based on a military command structure. As a volunteer organization, no one is compelled to be a part of it, everyone's skills and input are valuable, and a paycheck is not an incentive, so off-the-field, many of our activities may be relatively informal. On-the-field, however, we are an emergency response team: actions must be taken quickly, decisively, and correctly. We must move, act, and function as a team. We must obey orders from the licensed Peace Officers who are supervising us promptly. Doing our jobs on the field requires hierarchy and clear chain of command.
Hierarchical chain of command only works when goals are well defined, subordinates bubble up the information necessary for leaders to make informed decisions, and leadership listens to their subordinates. Subordinates advise; superiors decide, order, and commit; teams communicate and coordinate with one another. This does not happen magically. Team skills are built through planning, training, and exercises.
During an emergency is not the time to work out personality issues, test boundaries, build trust, or establish communications. It is time to follow orders based on a structure, procedures, and doctrine which has already been worked out. The organization evaluates each action to determine what went right, what went wrong, and how procedures or structures must be adjusted. Changes are tested in training and exercise. That is how one team member can move decisively, knowing from experience that the other team members will do their jobs in a timely and competent fashion.
The structure and formality we integrate creates a sense of belonging and pride in who we are. Respect showed to rank and office reenforces the roles we take on the field and the responses which must become automatic. Formality in communication ensures that critical aspects of what is happening are understood: who has responsibility from moment to moment, what the goals are, and how the action is being coordinated. It is no different from 'calling the ball' in a sport activity to avoid either everyone or noone acting at the same time.
Formal Acknowledgements: Throughout your involvement in the Auxiliary, we will train and practice the formality and courtesies expected. One example is that accepting or relinquishing a post is always formally acknowledged. Changing from one Watch rotation to the next involves the outgoing Officer of the Watch briefing the incoming, logs for the shift are signed, and then authority is formally relinquished: "I relieve you, Sir." "I stand, relieved," and is punctuated by a salute. This makes it very clear to all involved and all observing who is responsible at each moment and becomes critically important, for instance,  when an incident during a Watch causes an off-rotation officer to resume command for the crisis. Many formalities exist because they carry a legal or operational significance.
It is critical to acknowledge formal commands formally, with a "Yes, Sir," or, upon leaving to execute orders, "With your permission, Sir," a brief coming to attention and salute. Where the orders are complicated or legally significant, they can be acknowledged by repeating them back (usually summarized), as in, "My quad is ordered to accompany Deputy Smith on a search of this neighborhood: yes, Sir."
In many instances, especially where command or responsibility for the action is transferred, it is best to do so face-to-face in order to ensure that it is understood clearly. This is especially true in the chaos of a disaster where usual communications may not be functioning correctly in any case. We will cultivate an older, more formal courtesy which has often fallen out of use: "Mr. Smith, my compliments, please take your team into the site to scout it for safety concerns." Politeness and courtesy does not take substantially more time, it ensures that participants do take the time to acknowledge each other and their respective duties, and it defines what we intend to be as an organization. In message passing, this takes the form, "Cadet, please give the Sheriff my compliments and tell him: my men are deployed and ready for duty." (trot... trot... trot... trot...) "Sheriff, Major Smith sends his compliments and says: his men are deployed and ready for duty, sir."
Sir, Ma'am
Who is "Sir" or "Ma'am"? In general, a commissioned officer (whether officer of the Auxiliary, the Sheriff, or a Deputy, but not an NCO) is "Sir," or "Ma'am." We extend the same courtesy to leadership of the agencies we serve, and to members of the general public since they, ultimately, are the object of service. It is better to inadvertantly extend respect than disrespect
A male officer (or member of the public) is "Sir" and a female officer (or member of the public) is "Ma'am". If a woman or female officer/deputy indicates a preference for "Sir," as is now custom in some services, honor it, but there is no need for male officer to try to guess or female officers to take offense. 
As a rule of courtesy, when a woman and a man are walking together, the woman goes first, unless there is a need for assistance, or moving through a crowd where the man (usually larger) can clear the way. In the same way, male officers should offer to hold doors for female officers and courtesy should be shown to the public as well. This is not done as any indication that a woman is weak or incapable, but out of respect as a formal courtesy. If a woman indicates that this courtesy is not desired, simply politely acknowledge and stop doing it.
Volunteers, especially officers, are expected to display respect at all times, in all places. The goal of courtesy is to take the time to stop and demonstrate respect due to someone's service, station, or simple status as a fellow creation and does not depend on liking the recipient of the courtesy. Comporting yourself with dignity also demonstrates self-respect and respect for the uniform. Short of a need for physical conflict, there is no need to be discourteous--- and no point after: "Please drop the weapon, Sir." Show courtesy, restraint, and firm resolve as necessary, especially when someone else is being rude or combative.