Natalie Hiltz is an Acting Inspector and veteran office with the Peel Regional Police in Ontario, Canada.
[00:00:02.710] - Intro
Welcome to the CopDoc Podcast. This podcast explores police leadership issues and innovative ideas. The CopDoc shares thoughts and ideas as he talks with leaders in policing communities, academia, and other government agencies. And now please join Dr. Steve Morreale and industry thought leaders as they share their insights and experience on The CopDoc Podcast.
[00:00:32.330] - Steve Morreale
Well, hello again everybody. Steve Morreale coming to you from Boston again. And this is the beginning of another episode of the CopDoc Podcast. Looking back, we're seeing that we've been at this for a year and a half and continuing to chug along. And today as I sit in Boston, I'm speaking to somebody outside Toronto, Natalie HiltZ. Natalie is an acting Inspector for the Peal Regional Police Department out in Ontario. On the other side of the border - our Canadian friends. Good morning.
[00:00:56.580] - Natalie Hiltz
Good morning. How are you this morning?
[00:00:58.090] - Steve Morreale
I'm doing fine. So you were starting to tell me that you're getting back to midnights and adjusting to those midnights. Tell me about that. When you have been off of midnights for so long.
[00:01:08.180] - Natalie Hiltz
I was off for a year when I was working in Intel Intel and then when I got promoted, I went to what we call the duty inspector's office. So I've been doing the midnights for probably about seven months now. So it usually takes me about six months to adjust to new schedules. So I'm just starting to feel relatively normal, even though I realize I'm a bit of a vampire, right? We all know what it feels like working shifts, but they're not too bad. I mean, I'll be 52 this year. They're not getting any easier, I'll tell you that. I'm surviving.
[00:01:35.090] - Steve Morreale
So tell us about yourself. It came to me as I was scrolling through LinkedIn some of the good things that you were doing. You've been active in evidence based policing up there in Canada. I heard you on some other podcasts and we connected and you just came back from the UK. But tell us about your trajectory. How did you end up in policing? How long ago? What have you been doing since then and where are you at now?
[00:01:55.230] - Natalie Hiltz
Oh, I love that question. Well, it all started when I was probably four or five years old. My father was a police officer, so I had a great girl, dad police officer. The son rose and sat on my dad's head and really idolized him. I wanted to be a police officer. Every cell of my being since a really early age and that was my trajectory. I never had to go find myself. I never had to take a year off, go find myself in Europe somewhere now. Very driven, very goal driven. My degree, my undergrad at Carleton was in crime. I joined the army when I was like 18. I did my basic military training out in Ottawa and joined the rugby team, really doing hands on sports, trying to get me ready for entry level into leasing. So I got hired in December 1995, just a few days after my 25th birthday. And what a wonderful moment, right following my dad's footsteps. He was in the RCMP for just over 21 years. So I applied to the police service in the town that we lived in. My dad was stationed in a division that's shut down now on Jarvis Street in Toronto, moved to the suburbs in Peel region.
[00:03:02.900] - Natalie Hiltz
I grew up in Brampton, which is one of the communities that I police right now. So I really am very lucky to be able to get hired in my hometown police service, which I've now been. I'm in finishing off my 27th year in policing. So really fortunate. And at 25, I started off like everyone else, doing the hands on uniform control. And I think anybody listening to this podcast that's around the same age as I am knows that policing was a little bit different than it is now. Pre computers, pre cell phone, a little bit more edgier policing than it is today. Today is a lot more community integrated and policing by cassette and police friendly back then, a bit more edgy, not a lot of women. And so started off in uniform patrol. I did a significant amount of time in undercover operations for life, drugs and also homicide. And then during those years, I went into what we call our neighborhood police unit, which has since been disbanded, and then went into our first ever gang unit. I was one of the original members of the gang unit, one of the pilot project, which is now obviously a really integrated area of police services across the country.
[00:04:09.220] - Natalie Hiltz
And let's see from there, it's kind of just a whirlwind. Had a couple of kids in between. Then I went into recruiting a bunch of uniform patrol as a Sergeant, a staff Sergeant speed it up to being DS and Natal, taking care of our technical support.
[00:04:21.730] - Steve Morreale
All right, Natalie, you and your DS. What is that?
[00:04:24.440] - Natalie Hiltz
Oh, DS is a Detective Sergeant, and I'm not too sure what the equivalent would be in American language. Maybe a captain. It's one rank above a Sergeant. So if you guys have patrol sergeants out there, I think a captain is one step.
[00:04:37.910] - Steve Morreale
Lieutenant, probably sometimes Lieutenant.
[00:04:40.350] - Natalie Hiltz
Lieutenant. And then from there just got promoted again to Inspector. Very lucky, very fortunate. Which now I'm in an acting position waiting to fill a full time position. And here I am now, within that very important posting that I had that I'm saving. The last year I'm saving the best to last was after I had my children. I came back, I got promoted to Sergeant. They put me in the youth section. We called it the Youth Bureau of Community Support Services, which at the time that I was transferred there, wasn't seen as really valuable work. So I think I spent probably about two days crying myself to sleep at night, going like what has happened to my career, where I went from the gang unit, and
[00:05:16.060] - Natalie Hiltz
Now you're a Kiddy Cop.
[00:05:18.890] - Natalie Hiltz
Now I'm a Kiddy Cop. Like, where have I gone wrong? Like, who did I piss off? Right? Yeah. It was really traumatic to get put in there. I thought, Is it because I'm good with kids? I'm awful with kids. So it couldn't be that. I'm like, Why am I here?
[00:05:32.830] - Steve Morreale
Is it a punishment?
[00:05:33.970] - Natalie Hiltz
It is a punishment. I got to tell you, though, that's the perspective a really immature officer that really doesn't have a lot of worldly experience. That posting ended up being one of the most pivotal, most transformational chapters of my career. It really connected me very deeply to my community in really meaningful and impactful ways. And it made me see, luckily for me or unluckily, I have a really critical mindset. I'm always taking things in and soaking it in. But then being really critical, I'm always asking the why question. And when I got posted there, I really didn't understand why this area of policing existed. I didn't understand its connectivity to our bottom line. I think I did a random sampling of officers from that unit, and I sat them down and said, what are the objectives of this area of policing? And 100% of the people I asked had no idea. So, I mean, it was a tumultuous time, but a very beautiful and wonderful time. And the fact that I could really do that critical assessment and start tying in some of this work to policing, which would be safe, to promotion violence and victim prevention services, started to develop a mandate, a mission statement, got a bunch of programs, started to realize that none of the things we're doing, they were based on anything.
[00:06:44.830] - Natalie Hiltz
It was just kind of stuff somebody somewhere had kind of dreamt up and we're just towing the line on it. And that's when I started questioning and redoing my own research and reaching outside of policing to try and find really big answers. Like, why, Natalie?
[00:07:01.050] - Steve Morreale
I just wrote that down. Why? And I'm thinking, purpose. What's the purpose? What's the mission? And so that critical thinking that I'm hearing from you is pretty special because I think most people just kind of go along to get along. And it sounds like you were saying, If I'm going to spend some time here, let me make a difference. Let me try to move the organization that I have. You can't control all of the Peel Regional Police, but you can control that little sphere of influence that you have. That's what I'm saying and I'm hearing. But it also says to me that you may represent a different mindset, but I really want to go back to what you said before, because I want to draw this out of you. The fact that you were in the military and thank you for your service, that's an unusual step for a woman. In many cases, you must have had some sexism, some difficulties in trying to find your place in the military. And I'm not suggesting I don't know that, but I do know that it continues in policing to a point. And yet you've become so successful, what has happened over time?
[00:07:59.100] - Steve Morreale
What have you had to put up with and what have you had to work towards changing the perspective of the importance of women in policing, never mind in military?
[00:08:06.550] - Natalie Hiltz
Well, that's a really brave question. I don't see a lot of people asking me that and I have all this experience under my belt. I honestly don't think, Steve, anybody's ever asked me that question. Let me think about that. So, yes, I think that I joined the military. I think it was one of four women that year. It was a reservist. I was very young. I had my hair down in my waist, I shaved it all off and I said, I'm going to make this work. And it was really eye opening. I think it was the first year they allowed women to not elect for clerical and I elected infantry. I did my basic military training and, yeah, there was sexism and I laughed because there's a lot of it. But I think in seeing that being my entry position into maledominated sector work, Luckily I had very strong dad. I didn't really know the difference between being a man or a woman. It was just me. I think that when I jumped in and I dove into that type of work environment, I think I was really emotionally and mentally prepared to take on whatever the world was ready to throw at me.
[00:09:07.470] - Natalie Hiltz
And I used to think to myself at a very young age that they just weren't ready for me, like they just weren't ready. But luckily for me, I got gift of the gap. It can be a little bit charming, a little charismatic. I know how to make friends. And so I'm still friends with some of those young men that I met in like 1989 or 1990. I'm still friends with them today, which is, I think it might be a bit of a testament to what I bring to the table in terms of being a relationship builder, realizing that people are complicated and accepting people for who they are and being able to, I don't want to say, manipulate my work environment kind of has a negative connotation being able to control my work environment and make it the best for me.
[00:09:48.040] - Steve Morreale
Again, I don't mean to interrupt you, we're talking that Hilts up the Peel Regional Police Department. She is an acting Inspector at this point in time, what I'm hearing too. And I asked that question because I was in the army and I was a police officer and I was with DEA and that's non-consequential, but I have three daughters too. And so I came up during a period of time where, like you, your experience the first MPs allowed to be females were in my class and it wasn't pleasant for them. It wasn't pleasant. And I watched and I'm not sure that I wasn't a player. Like, they don't belong here. I don't even remember that far back. But I saw it happen in policing too. So the question I have here is, as you're saying, that that's a Noble step. That's quite a gutsy step to go into the military knowing that you are in the extreme minority. But how did that get you ready for a police Academy?
[00:10:34.590] - Natalie Hiltz
It gave me context, it gave me perspective, it made me prepared. I had to navigate relationships. Work relationships was obviously 100% male counterparts. So it was great. It was a great foundation that gave me even more validation of what I bring to the table. That I think would have made me a great police officer, which has made me a great police officer. So when I joined again, not terribly. A lot of women back then and a lot of the same work environment, I found military just to be a little bit behind where policing was, I guess socially or culturally. And accepting women. Peel Police was a bit of an improvement. But still, I think I had little things happen. Like I remember getting a radio one day and someone slapping me on my ass and saying good game stuff like that, or just like little comments. Not that I'm proud of it, but I got a potty mouth. I can roll with it.
[00:11:23.280] - Steve Morreale
You can push right back.
[00:11:24.330] - Natalie Hiltz
Not a lot hurts my feelings. I'm not going to curl up and cry myself to bed at night. I like to laugh, I like to have fun. But I like to build relationships and the context of those relationships. So I think those that early experience really gave me a lot of perspective and context on how to do that and do that well. I made a lot of friends with leasing. I did really well. It was a top performer on my shift. I still have all my performance sheets. I kept them all top two perform on my shift for a few years, consecutively drugs, criminal code, arrests, impaired, whatever. And that earned me a lot of respect for the people that I worked with at the time. Being a really hard worker and then also like to have a laugh very selfdeprecating. And I love people. So for better and worse, people are complicated. And I did have people telling me I didn't belong, but it was one of those older guys with the handlebar mustaches, those ones that we used to work with. As someone said, a beautiful girl like you should be at home, a couple of kids and go home and be a good wife to somebody.
[00:12:18.290] - Natalie Hiltz
Why are you here?
[00:12:19.460] - Steve Morreale
Old time thinking.
[00:12:20.130] - Natalie Hiltz
Old time thinking. Yeah, there was a lot of that, but I think that I was able to break their notion of what they thought a woman in policing should be like. And I really didn't think a lot about it at the time. I was really able to thrive.
[00:12:32.040] - Steve Morreale
But when you look back, clearly you had to prove yourself. But you also broke the mold, which has to have been very valuable to people who are coming on now where there are gender differences. You know, down here in the United States, we're starting a program of 30 by 30, by 2030, let's have 30% representation of women. And many departments, hundreds and hundreds of departments are saying we'll do that. We'll help draw more women to policing. I think they bring a completely different dimension to policing. There's no question in my mind it was much more prominent in DEA and at HHS, the Inspector General's office, where 50% of our workforce, in some cases were women in one case and 20% at DEA. So that's very valuable. You've gone to school in a bunch of places, Dell Housing, and obviously in Cambridge and in Carlton. And it would seem to me that you're a lifelong learner what is driving you? What the hell do you keep going back for more? You already had a master's degree. Why did you go after another one?
[00:13:29.110] - Natalie Hiltz
Actually, my Carlton degree was an undergrad. It was an honors degree, and I think it was lost those combined major with a minor criminology and criminal justice. So when I went to Cambridge, it really stemmed from the work I did in community support. And that's why I went to pursue that degree, because I realized that community support work and working with youth and more upstream initiatives in trying to promote safety and reduce violence was the golden egg of policing. And I remember saying this to my management team at the time. You mark my words, this might not be seen as valuable work right now. It might take a year, two years, five years, ten years, but this is the future of policing. And so what I did was after that posting, I got in with people that were thinking a lot like me. Through actually LinkedIn contacts, I was able to find people like, find my tribe, find people that were thinking a bit differently and feeling a bit differently about policing. And I had some mentors and some people that I consider really important people in my life who encouraged me to go to Cambridge.
[00:14:32.510] - Natalie Hiltz
I was already looking for a master's degree, and I heard of the Cambridge program, and I Dove in. And the reason why I pursued specifically the applied Criminology and police management program was because I wanted to get the skill set and the credibility and the experience to really apply myself and community based thinking and thinking about policing. So it's not that I just kind of decided and what's a really important part of this story is my agency at the time, under former leadership, they didn't support my application to go and do my Masters. So I actually paid for it myself, and I paid with two years of my own vacation away from my family and my children to do it. So I want anyone listening to just pause and think about what that feels like and the financial cost, the financial burden while you're working full time, you're a mum. It's quite significant. Cannot understand that just financially and then having to go and travel to Cambridge. I have a Saint for a husband and he was very supportive during this time. But I did it because I believe, I really, truly believe this is the future of policing.
[00:15:36.010] - Natalie Hiltz
And at the time, it was like 2017 when you weren't even allowed to say evidence based policing where I work and my name became associated with it. So at one point I heard that you weren't even allowed to say my name within senior officer groups because they just had such a distaste for evidence based policing, with our former leadership being a very ultra traditional philosophical approach to policing. So really now taking a sociopolitical route that is not popular but still really believing in it. And the one thing I knew to be true is I do know this is the future of policing and my career lifeline is a lot longer. So I figured I'd just wait them all out, which has kind of worked out for me. So we have a very progressive chief and chief management gribling organization right now. They're embracing community policing, which now ties into what I learned at Cambridge directly. So it's starting to pay off.
[00:16:23.110] - Steve Morreale
So you just mentioned sociopolitical. And I do some writing and sociopolitical risk that we have to understand that there are outside influences and we can't ignore them and a lot of police departments do. It's not your problem. You're not going to tell us how to police. Who the hell are you? You don't know what we do. It's just a ridiculous way of looking at things. But what I'm hearing too, is that this idea of evidence- based policing, and sometimes I listen and I do believe in it. I have to tell you, from George Mason University, I was probably one of the first to be on board and no longer now. But what strikes me is, is it the only way I think it moves us from data-driven using the data instead of ignoring the data to figure out what to do, where to put our time, our energy, our resources, and like anything else, and I think it's evidence based medicine is a terrific way to look at it. We're not going to do this until we try this, this and this. So I can see these kinds of things happening. But one of the other things is that you're talking about Cambridge University in the UK, and because you're a member of the Commonwealth States, that's one of the reasons you had Americans working with you.
[00:17:24.740] - Steve Morreale
Let's take a step back and you tell us about Peel Regional Police. It is the police agency that you say is responsible for public safety in your community. But how big is it? Where is it? How many different stations? And the other thing that I would love to have you help people understand is about the training process, the Academy process, how long? What are they doing? You must know what's being changed since you and I went through talk a little bit about this. So Peel and training.
[00:17:52.600] - Natalie Hiltz
Okay, so Peel Regional Police. Yes. We are a Commonwealth country, so we police by consent here. Pilorgional Police is named after kind of the godfather policing. So Robert Peele, where the whole philosophy is the police are the community and the community are the police, which is very important. So Peel Regional Police. There are three levels of policing. So we've got federal, the RCMP. We've got provincial provincial police. Yeah. Opt is our provincial police. And we're municipal. So we're municipal police service. We're around the third or fourth largest in Canada, I think, close to Edmonton. We have roughly around 3003, 100 membership. And we police the cities of Brampton, where I grew up in Mississauga, which is around 1.3 million people. So we have a mix of urban and suburban policing and a really big demographic mix, very multicultural and very high immigrant population. So that would be my best description.
[00:18:52.100] - Natalie Hiltz
May I ask you this? It's so large. Are there substations or their districts or there's a headquarters somewhere?
[00:18:57.730] - Natalie Hiltz
So we have five divisions. We've got two in the north and we have three in the south. We've got the airport division. The Toronto International Airport is actually not in Toronto at all. It's actually in Mississauga your way, and that's yours. You cover that, we cover that. And then we've got about 50, I think the last time I checked, we probably have about 57 million travelers traveling through that airport a year. So quite a big police population, if you put it on top of the 1.4 million. So we've got headquarters, beautiful new headquarters that was opened up a few years ago, and I guess the Special Services Division as well. So we do okay. We've got lots of new facilities, a lot of state of the art equipment. We're very lucky, very blessed in our region, for sure.
[00:19:40.160] - Steve Morreale
So let's talk about the Academy. Take me back to your time in the Academy. Do you remember how long you were there?
[00:19:45.190] - Natalie Hiltz
You're taking me way back.
[00:19:46.440] - Steve Morreale
You're not that old. Come on, you can do it.
[00:19:48.260] - Natalie Hiltz
Oh, my gosh. So let's see. I went to the Academy. My husband is also a police officer. He was hired just before me. So he did three months, and then I went right after and I did three months and I went there during the winter. It's in St. Thomas, Ontario, which is a real country sprawl out there. And I remember it being really windy and really cold. But we went there for three months, taught us all the basic stuff, how to shoot a farm, all our provincial legislation, criminal code. Back there, it was the Narcotics Control Act. It hasn't been that for quite some time. And how to pull over cars, he's a gun, all our police baton, our equipment, pepper spray and all that kind of stuff. So the basics to get us ready for a career in policing. And after three months, if you pass, they unleash you onto the world in your own police service. And then we received some more tailored training to our particular demographic and a particular work that we were doing. And then we went with a coach officer for a few months, and then we were on our own.
[00:20:44.170] - Natalie Hiltz
I don't know if you remember your first day on your own in a police car, but I know I do. And I was like, this is crazy. I can't believe I'm finally here. Such a long journey. Right.
[00:20:54.850] - Steve Morreale
Well, I'll tell you, you're drawing me and I'm supposed to be asking questions, but I will. But thank you for that. I do remember being set free and realizing the power that you have. And I'm not talking about but the power to pull cars over and hit that button and hit the siren and stop a car and be productive and be Proactive. And what I would continually find myself doing is, there's a car. Let me stop it. Let me write something. Oh, there's another car. Let me stop it. And then pretty soon you realize, hey, kid, you're in this for the long haul. You don't have to stop every car that is violating the law today. You can save some for the next 30 years. You understand? Because I'm sure I see you shaking your head it's or somebody says, hey, kid, slow it down. You're making us look bad. So we all go through that. We all go through that. I understand. But fast forward to training. Now you must see new people coming in. And I know that you have not been a shrinking Violet to understand what's going on, what has to change, what do we have to spend more time on in policing? Is it still only twelve weeks?
[00:21:57.710] - Natalie Hiltz
You know what? Recruiting is not my niche right now in policing, but it was. I was in recruiting for five years, and then obviously, I went through the training regimen. I actually still participate in physical testing for new applicants, but I don't know the entire process. I can tell you. I know it's changed a lot. Here's where the nexus is in our conversation is the fact that I do understand for me personally, and this is my personal insights. And no, I'm not a shrinking Violet, so I'm not afraid to give them. So I think that we're still covering off a lot of that kind of. I call it basic work, but it's important work to get people ready to embark on a really weird and wonderful colorful career in policing. We all know policing is a very messy business. It's a business of various degrees of imprecision. And we get that basic learning. Then we learn how to deal with people. They unleash us onto the world. And you learn try a bunch of different things and see how the public kind of reacts to you as we talked in that context. And then fast forward when you start getting around that four or five year mark, I wish that we had another layer to that training and education.
[00:23:06.130] - Natalie Hiltz
When I talk about community support being that golden egg of policing, I really wish we had you're, this young person, and you figure out what it is you're supposed to be doing. I really wish we had an extra layer to education and training to tie what you now understand into more of that community based work and what I'm talking about, too. And I was just on a webinar this past week talking about a cultural readiness for evidence based policing and a cultural readiness to start transforming into not simply bringing people to justice, but really trying to build a safer community together. And I don't think that philosophical approach that we've provided or created that time and space to provide that type of education and training to our people. And I just asked you, what if we did? Could you imagine?
[00:23:55.320] - Steve Morreale
Let me tell you what I'm thinking as you're speaking. And I wrote down the power of reflection. And I think the older we get, the more we reflect, even in my criminal Justice department, that's something we're going to do this week. Where have we been the last five years? We get so involved in the day to day that we never take the time to stop and say, what have you actually accomplished? Can we take pride in some of the things we accomplished that we completely forgot about? And my experience in Ireland is completely different than the experience here and maybe up there in Canada. But part of the process of bringing a person from recruit to student officer to probe, if you will, is to have them sit back and come back after they have done work and apply the learning, because you would never be of any value in your master's program if you didn't have experience. It would be of no value to you to sit there to think about, to have Larry and everybody else, Larry Sherman throw things at you when you thought, I have no idea what you're talking about.
[00:24:51.680] - Steve Morreale
So that application becomes extremely important. And I think we do a disservice not to bring people back and say, sit down, let's talk. What did you do? What would you do different? Go ahead.
[00:25:01.440] - Natalie Hiltz
Well, you are hitting on such an important point, and really, this is why the presence of academics such as yourself is so important, because all of the academia in the world, all of the theory, all of the opinions, unless you have police officers who've been doing the job and they've got the experience or at the table, you're not going to connect the dots. You just cannot connect the dots. And I think this is just a side note. I think that's why when I was able to look at victim offender research, when I was doing my degree under the guidance of Larry Sherman, I was able to see that there's a huge gap because I think police officers, you're reading or you're learning and you're applying that work experience, some of the stuff that might have been covered in parachute and the scholarship, no practical application doesn't work. So you're right, a lot of the stuff is really great. But if they throw it at you, it doesn't work unless you've got experience right. And so this is important, too, when it comes to any type of police work, including community based work, is you have to have that practical application.
[00:26:04.820] - Natalie Hiltz
And I think there are stages of that. You get that basic training to tie it back into that basic training. But then also too, once you become that competent, confident officer, let's create the time and space now to take what have you learned? Where are their gaps? Let's take that practical. They're experiencing our community with their own eyes, their own ears with all of their senses, and they're rich with this really hands on, boots to the ground experience. But we only see the value in that call response as we get into some of the other layers. And bureaus, especially bureaus, you have more of that preventative type work, community mining work, but there's some real benefits to having people, men, women, in all sorts of different diversity backgrounds to bring those lenses of experience to the table, to look at what we're doing and have a voice at that table. And that's why I think the evidence based policing in a segue into that conversation is so important, because if you are arming your people with that type of education and training or empowering them is a better word, you allow them and enable them to lead from exactly where they are right now.
[00:27:06.880] - Natalie Hiltz
And that's quite a profound thing to say. You can lead from where you are right now. Evidence based policing can give you the vision and the voice.
[00:27:15.370] - Steve Morreale
Excuse me for one second. I think the questions are never, rarely asked is when we sit back and do some reflection, where are we as an agency, as a group, as a unit? Sounds like that's what you did when you were over in the youth Bureau. Where have we been? Where are we now? Where can we go? Because when you start to have those kinds of questions, the way I see myself as I am not a teacher, but I facilitate. And so in a lot of ways, one of the things that I find myself and I find it effective. And I think you too, is posing questions at the right time. Thoughtful, thought provoking questions. Let them linger. You've just said a couple of times, no one's ever asked me that question. Why not? And I also think that we have people in power or positions of authority that have an ultra fixed mindset, status quo, keep it the way it is. And I think what we need to do is to have a growth mindset, to plant the seeds, to allow that to happen in our organizations. Policing is really need opportunity. We have its ups and downs.
[00:28:10.310] - Steve Morreale
There's some stupid asses that come into this business and make us look bad. They put a tarnish on our badge in our patch. Not group of people that I have any love for. But the rest of police, they need some guidance. They need to know where we're going. In my mind, they need to figure out how do we get through the noise and still create relationships. And Natalie, let me ask you this question. There's so much shit going around that we come into, whether it happened in the United States or in Canada or in Ottawa or it happened in the UK or it happened in Ireland. How do we better learn what happened there, what we would do under the circumstances? So we try to avoid it from replicating in our Department after action reviews, sitting down and doing situation reviews. What are your thoughts here? You are responsible for a group of people. Now what are you doing? What's your staff doing to have those conversations in the roll call rooms? So that the stuff that happened. Five towns away, three regional police organizations away can't or shouldn't happen here.
[00:29:08.710] - Natalie Hiltz
Okay, there's a couple of questions in there.
[00:29:11.810] - Steve Morreale
I know, I'm a compound question guy.
[00:29:13.900] - Natalie Hiltz
I love it. I love it. So first of all, I want to talk about leadership. Leadership matters. So I'm in my 27th year, I've had five different Chiefs. I can say what that looks like and feels like very different styles, some of them stronger than others, weaker than others. They can really propel an organization forward and they can really hinder an organization there's. Sometimes I see some agencies with maybe non progressive police leadership. I feel like they've been kidnapped and this chief is riding around with the police service in the trunk of his car, riding around town. And police service, in terms of the people don't have control over who their leadership is. The leadership matters. And to that note, I'm going to say that the leadership that we have currently at Peel Regional Police is the most progressive leadership team and the most progressive chief as part of a real small niche of really progressive-minded police leadership in our country. And you know what? Some people are going to hear this podcast like, oh yeah. Okay, Sander chief is really fantastic. So gross. I'm telling you, I will shout it from the highest mountain.
[00:30:12.660] - Natalie Hiltz
I'm talking about a police service in an agency where I grew up in, like, I grew up in this town. And I want my police service to be strong. I want it to be innovative, cutting edge, and moving us forward. This is the first management team and the leadership group that is truly embracing community policing in a really aggressive way and really trying to transform us and move us forward. So leadership does definitely matter.
[00:30:38.100] - Steve Morreale
Okay, Natalie, I'm going to stop you, because what I think is really important, just as if you would be on an oral interview board. And I'll say too many where your mouth is, how? What are they doing? What steps are they taking? How are they communicating? What's different? How do you tell me that this group of people is more progressive than the other?
[00:30:54.680] - Natalie Hiltz
I was going to finish the rest of your question, but now I forget. What the rest of your question I.
[00:30:57.960] - Steve Morreale
Will get back to who cares? Who cares?
[00:31:00.470] - Natalie Hiltz
Okay, well, here's the difference. So if I'm in a contrast, I think one of the most important things police can do is embrace tech. We need to embrace tech. If you're police leadership somewhere in the world, like, there's going to be a lot of different people listening to what we're talking about right now. Pull in the people that are strong in understanding tech and figure it out. Because tech is really important. Especially too, if I related back to evidence based policing and data science and data analytics, tech is really, really important. If you look at two tech with body worn video and just taking risk, we know that there is a real cultural readiness out there in public scrutiny and politics. So if you are not ready to embrace tech, you need to find out the people that are going to make you stronger in that area to make it more easy for you to understand what it's about. And then number two is again, that policing by consent mentality, which brings back to the name of our namesake of our police service being pilot and police is that transparency and accountability piece that is really important.
[00:32:00.720] - Natalie Hiltz
And we know around the world the carding and the street checks, an extremely invasive practice that was never tested, which I wonder if we were able to test that, no one would touch it. Now it's too much of a hot potato, what we would find. But really building in our police service, we're really community minded. We have embraced something called the community safety and well being planning framework. And in my country, because there will be a different countries. Tuning into this podcast, we really embrace the community safety and well being planning framework as our platform, which we're operating on, I would say, like philosophically. And so what's happening with our leadership team that's being led by our chief of police is in getting in line with community Safety Well Being planning framework is now structurally changing our organization to meet that mandate. So we've added a lot of different types of specialty units and bureaus. For example, we've pulled out domestic violence from the criminal investigations bureaus and the divisions. And we've created a brand new unit. And this brand new unit is so overrun with work they can barely keep up because our homicide there's a certain percentage of our homicide rates that are obviously TV related, domestic violence related.
[00:33:11.750] - Natalie Hiltz
And our services decided on the community safety Well Being planning framework. There's some adjustments we need to do to the structure in the business of policing. And so they're following that line of reasoning. Now, I'm just going to say that the community safety well being planning framework, you can access that online if anybody here wants to know what that looks like. And it's been quite a movement in policing. In 2007, it's actually the anniversary is coming up on May 23. There was a young high school student named Jordan Manors, and he was actually shot and killed inside of the high school, which doesn't happen very much here in Canada. And that was in 2007. And that really shocked us here in Canada. And it really was like the seed of an ideological transformation in policing and community health care. And from that moment, there was a call by the Liberal government at the time for a review of what are the seeds that are planted in the community that create the environment to make something like that happen in our community. So 2008, they came out with a Roots of Violence report and came out with nine roots of violence.
[00:34:13.970] - Natalie Hiltz
That report they built on with a series of three series documents. One came out in 2012, what was it called? Crime prevention Ontario Framework for Action. And really it concentrated on disadvantaged communities. Then they came out with another one. To me Safety Well Being, an Ontario snapshot of local voices. And they started to acknowledge that policing are really not the sole proprietors of crime prevention. Rather like it's a combination of several multispectoral systems and agencies that play a crucial role together. Now, the final document came out in 2017 and it's called the Community Safe and well being planning Framework, and it's a shared commitment on terrorist provincial document. And really that was the final push, I guess a holistic plan that was pushing that innovation lens and riskbased lens and again pulling in multispectorial approaches and trying to advocate for a collective service delivery model. So the thing that we're doing right now and structuring everything that we're doing in our police agency is bringing the community in to integrate in terms of identifying risk and prevention efforts, in terms of that safety promotion on victim and violence reduction within our region, which is a completely different focus.
[00:35:24.000] - Natalie Hiltz
And so now we're not again, simply bringing people to justice. We're actually building a safer community together. And we're focusing more on outputs. Focusing more on outcomes.
[00:35:33.270] - Steve Morreale
Outcomes rather than outputs. Right. I understand.
[00:35:35.380] - Natalie Hiltz
[00:35:35.740] - Natalie Hiltz
And you know what that means?
[00:35:37.007] - Steve Morreale
I do. I do.
[00:35:37.160] - Natalie Hiltz
That it is arresting and the mouth of arrest and criminal codes. Arrest and drug arrests. That is not those outputs are not giving us the success in reducing violence and crime.
[00:35:46.620] - Steve Morreale
[00:35:46.990] - Natalie Hiltz
[00:35:47.400] - Steve Morreale
Okay. So wait, I wrote a couple of things down and you spoke to them. And I think for me, if you're going to make some changes in the police Department, you have to change what you count. You have to change what you're a change what you count. In other words, if we're counting beans, that's what we're going to get. If we're counting community interactions, how do we do that? What I'm hearing you talk about is collaboration, that recognizing the police service cannot handle all of the situations alone. You have to engage other groups of people that have the specialty, whether it's mental health or domestic violence or it's Inspectional services or whatever it is. Don't take it on yourself because policing has accepted all social ills blamed for it. But we don't have the solutions because we don't have the manpower, we don't have the specialization. Let's talk about mental health in two ways, office awareness and mental health calls. Are you in Canada doing what we're talking about? When I'm going to Ireland to help with in putting clinicians together with police to deal with some of these potentially mentally disturbed calls that you go on so that we don't have to arrest our way out of it.
[00:36:44.420] - Natalie Hiltz
Yeah. And that's something that has come in with our recent management team here at my agency is MSRP. So we do put those, I guess, clinicians in the car with officers, and they do respond to the my rate of mental unwell related calls in our call volume, which has dramatically increased in my lifetime. They were extremely sporadic when I first started, and now they have really become a major part of our business. So, yes, we do do that. I'd say a very successful program.
[00:37:16.590] - Steve Morreale
It's very well received by the officers?.
[00:37:18.550] - Natalie Hiltz
[00:37:19.140] - Steve Morreale
[00:37:19.460] - Natalie Hiltz
Yeah. Those are challenging calls. I'd have to say that even too in the duty inspector's office, we deal with critical incidents, and you're dealing with barricaded people who are suffering from a host of different issues, mental issues who are violent, who can hurt themselves and others. Those are big calls. There's a lot of corporate risk and liability, a lot of personal risk and liability to officers as well. So they're big ones.
[00:37:40.820] - Steve Morreale
Well, you've said a couple of words that we don't use a lot of corporate risk. So we finish with Natalie Hiltz. Natalie is an acting Inspector at the Peel Regional Police in Ontario, Canada. Our conversation ran fairly long. There's a lot to say. Our conversation was about evidence-based policing and the value of using evidence, focusing on data and crime analysis to make decisions in the police Department. So what I decided to do is to split it into two different sessions. You've just heard the first session between myself and Natalie. Appreciate you listening and hope you will stay tuned for other episodes including the second session, an episode with Natalie Hiltz, Inspector at Peel regional police. Thanks for listening. Steve Morreale from The CopDoc Podcast.
[00:38:28.970] - Outro
Thanks for listening to The CopDoc Podcast with Dr. Steve Morreale. Steve is a retired law enforcement practitioner and manager turned academic and scholar from Worcester State University. Please tune in to The CopDoc Podcast for regular episodes of interviews with thought leaders in policing.