Chief Steven Mazzie is from the Everett, MA Police Department. Steve has been the chief for nearly 20 years. He was the president of the Massachusetts Major Cities Chief's Association and was a DARE officer. We talked about community, culture, leadership, and having officers build trusting relationships with a diverse community. A very interesting and engaging chat on The Cop Doc Podcast.
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If you'd like to arrange for facilitated training, or consulting, or talk about steps you might take to improve your leadership and help in your quest for promotion, contact Steve at email@example.com
[00:00:02.290] - 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.
[00:00:32.510] - Steve Morreale
Hey, everybody, welcome back. Steve Morreale, The CopDoc Podcast coming to you from Boston, and we're staying local today. I have a colleague who I have known for many years, but you know how it is, part ways, and you come back, and when you get back on the phone, it's like we never left. So Steve Mazzie is the Chief of Police in Everett, Massachusetts. Good morning, Steve.
[00:00:52.150] - Steve Mazzie
Good morning, Steve. How are you doing?
[00:00:53.640] - Steve Morreale
Doing fine. Thank you so much for being here. You've got so much to add, and I would easily say that you are certainly a leader among leaders. So thank you. I was looking, knowing Everett and having worked in the Boston area, but Everett is a city that has about 500 people adjacent to Charlestown, which is one of the villages of Boston. So, Steve, tell us about yourself. Tell us about your city. Tell us about how long you've been policing. You've been chief for an awfully long time.
[00:01:18.330] - Steve Mazzie
Sure. Yeah. So I grew up in Everett. I've been there my whole life. Raised the youngest of four kids. You probably know, I'm a third generation Cop. Followed in the footsteps of my grandfather, my father, my two older brothers, my older sister went on to marry a cop. My sister married a cop. So we've been policing, most of us, with the exception of my brother in law, my ex-wife. Now we've been policing the streets of Everett since 1926.
[00:01:38.910] - Steve Morreale
[00:01:39.260] - Steve Mazzie
And fortunately, my dad is alive. My dad will be 91 this fall, and he's of sound mind. He's been trying to get me to stay until 2026, which would be 100 straight years from when my grandfather started. Since everyone else is billed the last three years, my siblings have all retired. My dad's been off the job since 1986. But I've been basically committed, my career and my time in life to ever at every PD. I have a couple of children. I have a 19 year old son and a 20 year old daughter. Try to stay active, not only in the community, but I try to stay active in my personal lifestyle. Love to ski in the winter. One thing a lot of people don't know about me, in recent years, I started dabbling. I think it was more for mental health, my own mental health. Little hobby. I took up creating stuff from driftwood and become a driftwood artist, so to speak. A lot of people, when they hear that, they're like, what? Yeah. I said, yeah, I collect wood from the ocean, try to repurpose it and make things out of it. And I'll tell you what it makes a lot of people happy.
[00:02:33.510] - Steve Mazzie
Started giving things out. Now people want to buy things. Can you make this, can you make that? And I say, hey, it's a hobby right now. But who knows? It might be part of my retirement.
[00:02:41.790] - Steve Morreale
Well, you just told me that you had lived in Newburyport, which is a beautiful port city, and certainly it's a very artsy fartsy place, probably a place that you could do some work.
[00:02:50.350] - Steve Mazzie
Well, that's what happened. I used to late at nighttime, I walked my golden retriever, who I just lost last summer. But he walked the shores late at nighttime, taking him out in the winter, winter months. That's when you get on a good driftwood. The storms roll in and they push all kinds of stuff up. But yeah, that's just a little side thing. I wish I had more time for it, because when you're working on a piece of wood, there's nothing else in your mind except what you're working on, which is great. Back to everything. Everyone was a great place growing up. The city you mentioned, the city has changed. It's going through changes for a while, but now I guess it's on the map next to Boston, as you noted. Charleston. We like to go on a trip to Charleston, South Carolina.
[00:03:26.160] - Steve Morreale
Yeah, it's a great place. But talk a little bit, because one of the things that may have put you on the map, good or bad, is that you ended up catching a major casino.
[00:03:34.700] - Steve Mazzie
Yeah, that big town, I think, put the city in terms of awareness of its proximity to Boston. It's an old industrial city, so some of those businesses are turning over right now. ExxonMobil, which is one of the largest sites of land left, is 97 acres that just is being sold right now by Exxon. But, yeah, the casino came in and I was involved. I got to be involved in watching that process now, help police the area. And it's been interesting to see that Ever is becoming a destination. Imagine that people have come to.
[00:04:01.760] - Steve Morreale
So, Steve, let's talk eleven years. I'm looking at your bio. Thanks for sending it. Eleven years. You were in the business before you became a chief. You were very young chief, which is admirable. But what I want to try to talk about, and you understand, one of the things is about innovation. This podcast is about innovation. It's about leadership. And I'm sure without throwing anyone under the bus, as you were sitting in meetings, as you rose through the ranks, there were some old time mindsets that I'm sure that you did not necessarily adopt and that maybe you brought in a new point of view. So talk about the change, your growth in leadership, your approach to leadership and how you evolve.
[00:04:42.730] - Steve Mazzie
Yeah, so I used to joke around, Steve, that I learned more around the kitchen table than I did at the police academy. And I say that jokingly, but there's some truth to it. And I did pay attention to my grandfather, I paid attention to my father, and both of them were old-school traditional bee cops. And I saw the connection I had with people and that's what kind of appealed to me as a police officer. So as I continued my interest and got on the job, what I like to do is combine some of that old school traditional policing, but also learn about ways that we can do things better. I remember when I first got the job, there was more of that us versus them, it was the police versus the community. I didn't necessarily care for that and that's why originally, early on in my career, I had mixed feelings about it, but I was on about two years and I got asked they were trying to do some more stuff with the youth in the city. The DARE program, that's where we met. Yeah, that's where we met back in the day.
[00:05:30.330] - Steve Mazzie
And that appealed to me because I grew up with a lot of sadly, even now there's a lot of kids I grew up and they're not here. A lot of kids ended up with destroyed lives, drugs, alcohol abuse, et cetera. So that stuff kind of appealed to me to help out kids. It's not easy being a kid, being a young kid in the city. So I kind of went down that path. And then the other thing, Steve, is, you know, if you want to be good at anything and you want to grow I'm a lifelong learner, so I'm constantly trying to learn from people, borrow ideas where I can and create my own. And a lot of what I try to do, what I like to do is I try to connect offices with people and I like to do it in an adversarial setting because a lot of times people pick up the phone to down nine one only when they have a problem. Hey, we have contrary to what some people may believe are saying in our profession, we have downtime, and in that downtime.
[00:06:15.440] - Steve Morreale
Most of it is downtime, really Steve.
[00:06:16.180] - Steve Mazzie
Lot of downtime, really, there's an emergency, but it's not as much a lot of people don't realize we're not doing murders, rapes, robberies on a consistent basis. They happen, but that's not bread and butter. I always looked at it as, hey, if we can make connections with the community, they know us, we know them, we have an understanding, and so on. Things will go smoother when we do have emergencies or any other problems. The other challenge that's happened in my community is it's happening either in the early 90s, but it happened really quick. In the mid ninety s, the demographic started changing and today Everett is one of the most diverse cities in the state and it's not one ethnic group. There's people from all over central America, south America, Caribbean, Middle East, Southeast Asia. They are from all over the world and it's kind of neat. And the thing I'm proud of is the city for the most part gets along. I mean, my headquarters is right across from the high school and where I spend a lot of time. I'm always poking my head in and out of the area. It's a melting pot. They stay in the little groups, the jocks stay with the jocks and so on.
[00:07:11.070] - Steve Mazzie
But it's nice to see kids mixing together. Obviously we try to mix in with them and get to know and build relationships with them. So that's where I tried to go and it has changed. Changing a culture is not easy. So I got on, I was young and as you alluded to my kind of fast track, I didn't really plan on being the chief at 35 years old. It just kind of happened. And when it did happen and I said yes, obviously I was not failed or quit as much as some people. Some of the old times didn't really want to see many new ideas and like the way that business was done. The thing about it today is it's a change culture. We're very responsive to the community. We're part of the community. We do a lot of people, we know our people and we'll continue to do that.
[00:07:48.010] - Steve Morreale
Part of what I'm hearing too is there's an awful lot, even to this day, of community outreach and getting to know people and getting to know the communities and the different cultures that they have. So that you give trust to earn trust. But what I'm curious about is how you set the table for that change. Because anytime I've tried to make some change, it's incremental at best. It's slow going. You can't just turn a switch. You can't point to your caller and say you're going to do it because I'm the boss. Because that doesn't earn respect. It takes time. So how did you begin to set the expectation?
[00:08:21.810] - Steve Mazzie
Well, Steve, lead by example. You have to lead by example. The one thing I did do out of the gates and I communicated it to my people is that we slowly raise the bar. I said, guys, the bar is pretty low right now, expectations here. I want to raise it, but every time I raise it, I also bought from my offices same type of contract talks I fought for whether it was raised, equipment and training and so on. Things that were interested in in recent years, I got them a more favorable, friendly shift that's more favorable and better on their bodies, better than their families and so on. So while simultaneously doing that, leading by example, by going out, I spent a lot of nights, a lot of weekends in basements of churches and community rooms meeting with everybody. And I started doing it. And then I slowly started dragging staff and then lower levels, mid-level, lower-level staff and I remember one of my sergeants, a fellow guy, grew up with, he just retired in the last two years. We were going to meet an immigrant group, and his impression was, they're just going to complain about us and they don't like us, and blah, blah, blah.
[00:09:17.900] - Steve Mazzie
And he comes to the meeting and he listens and the meeting ends and he walks out and goes, well, those are really nice people. They really like us. And I said, yeah. I mean, they're regular people. They want the same things that you want for your family. They want to know that they pick up the phone and call us. We're going to show up. We're going to treat them like human beings. We're going to be professional. And that kind of spreads. And when people realize, hey, you know what, this is what we get paid to do. And yeah, we might have done a little bit more. I was out and about everywhere. But that's how you get to build relationships, build trust. And when you have so many different groups of people the other sad part thing, Steve, is most of the people that came into Everett, they came from places where policing and law enforcement was really not professional and trustworthy and so on. So that was another issue.
[00:09:56.620] - Steve Morreale
We had to build the trust.
[00:09:58.390] - Steve Mazzie
Yeah, we talk about people who interacted with the police, where the family members were disappearing and so on.
[00:10:04.040] - Steve Morreale
Not every place is democratic, right?
[00:10:06.000] - Steve Mazzie
The funny thing is, you learn I remember one day I was meeting with a group of people. We have a large pocket Algerian and Moroccan folks. And one night at a meeting, a fellow asked me why the police get so upset when they get pulled over at a car stop, they go out, they get to go out of the car to go back to see the officer, and the officers get upset at them and yelling to get back in the car. We don't want you to get out of the car unless they ask you
[00:10:26.800] - Steve Morreale
Where they're from they want you out of the car.
[00:10:28.100] - Steve Mazzie
Where we're from, we have to go back and we have to pay homage to the offices and maybe pay them off.
[00:10:33.570] - Steve Morreale
I know. I've seen that.
[00:10:34.980] - Steve Mazzie
Pay them off. And I said, no, no. I go, if you do get a ticket, you don't pay anybody on the street. There's instructions and you mail it in. There's no cash. We didn't know that. Those are things, little things we had to learn. And then that sharing. We had to tell them, hey, please don't do that. And then I tell our folks, hey, keep in mind these folks might come out because that's their culture.
[00:10:49.820] - Steve Morreale
Yeah, it's interesting. I was in Russia and I saw that happen. And they get out of the car and they open all four doors and the trunk, which just blew my mind, but that was the culture, and that's the way they did it. And there was a little payola there, which is crazy. So as bad as people see policing to be, we certainly in a lot of ways, we do it the right way, at least in my estimation. We're talking to Steve Mazie. He's the Chief of Police in, Everett, Massachusetts, an old time colleague that we're back at. I want to ask a couple of questions. There's so many things that it seems that you have brought to the table. You said you're a lifelong learner, you're also very active, you're not afraid to roll up your sleeves and get involved in the profession. But I want to go back to one thing you said that sergeant that you brought to the meeting and his mind was changed. And I think that's exactly as a leader, what you have to do is to try to help people understand, break down the barriers. And once you have the hearts and minds of a few, it begins to spread.
[00:11:43.040] - Steve Morreale
Is that your experience?
[00:11:44.220] - Steve Mazzie
Yes, it can spread. I knew there were some people that probably wouldn't buy in. They were late in their careers and then that's fine. I mean, I try to isolate those people so they can't do any damage. But at the end of the day, most people nowadays, everyone buys in because that's our culture, that's how we do business, that's how we're going to continue to do business. And they see the rewards and the benefits from it. Because at the end of the day, who wants to go out and buy.
[00:12:05.760] - Steve Morreale
The heads and be hated by everybody?
[00:12:07.650] - Steve Mazzie
Yeah, be hated by everybody. In the last couple of years, as you know, it's been a tough couple of years, but I'm always constantly trying to keep in touch with my people and ask them how they're doing, how they're feeling, what's the feedback in the last couple of years? The one thing I know in our city and on streets of every, my officers feel good about the people that the police and the community and the relationships they have, because the feedback they get from people is extremely positive. People banking them respect to them, saying, hey, this isn't about you guys. And that's because a lot of people got defensive and they got concerned about, hey, if I start doing traffic enforcement like we're doing them, I got to get jammed up, I stopped the wrong person. I get accused of something. My message is like, hey, do your job. Obviously, you have to do it within our policies and procedures and obviously within the Constitution and respecting people's civil rights. If you do that, everything's fine. A lot of what we do to Steve is over the years, we've become more data-driven.
[00:12:54.170] - Steve Morreale
Yeah, I have that. That's great.
[00:12:55.460] - Steve Mazzie
We don't just randomly the old days like, hey, go out and do some enforcement. We don't care where you do it. Get us some tickets, show you doing something I'm not really a bean counter. I'm more interested in outcomes. And if I can get positive outcomes from having an officer stand on a street corner neighborhood and it prevents crime for the next six months, then that's what we'll do. I don't need a bunch of arrests. I don't need a bunch of citations, field interviews, those are all tools to get different types of things done. But that's the other thing is the officers know it's more about outcomes. A lot of times we can get a lot of positive stuff done that really doesn't involve enforcement. I'd rather have targeted enforcement on the small group of real bad guys that are out there.
[00:13:28.870] - Steve Morreale
Well, that's where your data can come in. One of the things that I'd like to ask is it seems to me that you're beginning to do the older you get, you're beginning to reflect. And I saw something that you had written which drew me to reach out to you on LinkedIn. But the idea of data driven analysis, who does that analysis for you?
[00:13:45.810] - Steve Mazzie
I was fortunate enough I met a young lady years ago. I brought her in. I think she was originally like a volunteer intern, and then we were able to get some grant money for a part time.
[00:13:55.260] - Steve Morreale
This was a civilian that had data background.
[00:13:58.550] - Steve Mazzie
Civilian with the background. She's been with us over a decade plus now.
[00:14:02.580] - Steve Morreale
Do you hired her?
[00:14:03.460] - Steve Mazzie
Ultimately we hired her, yes, we hired her. And I try to keep her happy and keep her there, supported it. We showed him what her capabilities were. Because we have all this data, we take in a ton of data and it's in our system, but doing something with it is another whole story. So she started showing us what we can do. And then it grew from one full time we got it to full time. I got a second full time. So over the last it's probably been close to more than 15 years, but I've had two full time analysts. Right now we have two full time analysts. Brought in another young girl in the last year and a half. And I compared Steve. Right now, if you took my analyst away, it's like driving a car at nighttime with no headlights on. You really don't know where you're going, what's in front of you, what you're going to hit. But they do a great job. And then the offices, anything else, anytime, something new roll. Wait a minute. Civilians, what's their role?
[00:14:48.330] - Steve Morreale
You're taking a job away from a cop. I know. And you'd say like, you want to do data analysis, buddy. Right.
[00:14:55.970] - Steve Mazzie
So that they learned quickly that, wow, they are a huge asset and they work great together, they're great contributors and help us solve a lot of crime. And the thing I love is they put out so much great reporting and data that officers are looking at their information on a regular basis to see how they can help solve a problem, whether it's scrap, theft, breaks, you name it.
[00:15:14.260] - Steve Morreale
Well, you know, it's interesting because my time at DEA, we always kind of held at least when I first came in, we held at bay these intelligence analysts, these non enforcement people. And as I became a manager or supervisor, you realized these people are very, very valuable. So I began to understand, go and sit with them. Tell me what you do. Tell me how you do it. Tell me what I can do. Tell me how I can use your material. Tell me how I can ask you questions and what you can give me back. And I'm here to tell you that I became an absolute believer on intelligence analysis and data analysis.
[00:15:44.730] - Steve Mazzie
Yeah, they have a place that I've had meetings. They have a spot at the table. They have the right to say what they want to say when they want to say it. And they've been embraced. I think they've been embraced now for years and just a regular part of our team.
[00:15:55.390] - Steve Morreale
So over the years, Steve, what I think you have come to realize putting words in your mouth I don't mean to do that is that it's of no real value to operate independently on a vacuum. And so you became involved in the major city chiefs of Massachusetts, the IACP. I see that you have had relationships with academia both at Harvard and MIT, which is terrific stuff, but I want to hear about that. And by the way, we're talking to Steve Mazie, who is the chief of police in Everett, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. Did you change what you measure? Because I know in the past, we used to measure how many stops, how many citations, how many warnings. We were counting beams, and you're talking about moving to outcomes. How do you measure that? Because the politicians want to know, what are you doing with your people's time? And I also know what I'm hearing from you is relationships are so much easier to create before there's a crisis than after there's a crisis. So please talk about those things.
[00:16:51.850] - Steve Mazzie
Yeah, absolutely. So what I found was, if we can show good results and deliver them, for example, to the people we work for, the elected officials. I know the mayor I've worked with now, I've been with him for quite a few years, and I think he kind of realized that, hey, I'm happy with we get good results. I don't care how you're doing. As long as it's legit and legal and doing it the right way, it's good for the community. So what we realize, Steve, is we started seeing a drop in crime. We moved away from really the bean counting thing, and simultaneously, city government made an investment in the police department. So my department was growing as we were driving the crime rate down. And the one thing I told them from the get go is I'll deliver, make an investment in the PD, and I will deliver results. And they made the investment, and we delivered. And we had successive years of crime rate going down, top of it. We're doing a better job, obviously, with the analysts on board. We're obviously doing a better job of counting crime the way it's supposed to be counted as well with neighbors.
[00:17:46.580] - Steve Mazzie
And I try to authorize the word in the department that big things are community outreach and engagement, getting to know people, focus enforcement, not just random, willy nilly, go wherever, stick with the data. When we do traffic enforcement, we want to be in certain neighborhoods. The great thing about that is we tell people, if they say, like, why are you in this neighborhood? We're in here because the data tells us that this is our highest rate of car crashes off. This is our highest rate of overnight B and E of cars. That's why we're hanging around here. And it's backed up by data. So there's really no neighborhood that's a particular minority group or immigrant group ever. It's kind of a melting pot. It's just mixed in everywhere. But we want to be able to explain that to our people that we serve, and it's gone really well. Even years ago, when we started seeing a lot of new immigrants in the community, they were showing us driver's licenses from the country of origin. And then it would look at like, hey, your visa has expired. You've been here for like a year and a half in two years.
[00:18:36.960] - Steve Mazzie
So some of the officers really didn't know the law, what the deal was. So we went from doing nothing to then they were arresting everybody. And then at some point, I ended up meeting with immigrant groups, and they thought they were being targeted. And I'm like, Listen, they're driving cars without a license. You commit in a fraction, you get stopped, you're going to get uncovered. But then what we did is I found out the court prosecutor at the time, actually it was my brother John was a Sergeant. I asked him what the outcome was, but I'm not duly licensed fence. And he said, that's a fine, $200 fine, and altogether. So I went back to my people and said, hey, you guys, if there's a minor motor vehicle infraction involved, no other criminal offense, do you mind if we start looking at ways of different ways to handle that? For example, some is in the court, and everyone was like, yeah, why not? Because at the time also, we were going through some budget cuts, and things were getting tough financially. To bring someone in, house them, feed them, transport them, it takes an awful.
[00:19:23.690] - Steve Morreale
Lot of time off the street, too.
[00:19:25.090] - Steve Mazzie
It's time off the street. That's what we did. And so our arrests that were like this for that type of offense went like this. But it also wanted some good credibility in the community, because at the end of the day, we're still getting the job done. They still had to show up for court. They still had to pay their fines, which was what the outcome was or something like that. I always tell them, hey, I can't tell you can legally go drive a car. If you can't do it, you can't do it. But it was just a better way of handling it.
[00:19:47.920] - Steve Morreale
You don't have to treat it like a felony. It wasn't right. It wasn't a felony violation.
[00:19:54.710] - Steve Mazzie
So that was another just a decision to just do something a little bit different. My folks got it and went over much better in the community while also getting the job. We're still keeping our road safe. Traffic is a huge problem in our city. Every city, it's a push pull city, pushing traffic through the morning into Boston in the Mana here, and then it pulls it out later in the afternoon. So we do get a lot of complaints from residents and business people and so on. So we have to do it. But just looking at alternative ways to do it.
[00:20:19.170] - Steve Morreale
I want you, if you would, to take me into your evolution, your growth as a leader, your leader missteps, and how you learn from them.
[00:20:29.260] - Steve Mazzie
Sure. Well, yeah, I'll be the first to admit that I've made a lot of mistakes over the years. You obviously learn from me, too. You learn from mistakes, and it can't be, hey, guys were doing it this way, and that's it. I learned to become a salesman. One of my lieutenants, a guy who worked with for a long time, he's got a great line. He says, You've become very good at helping me, to help you to help me, and that's good. You presented something to us that you want to get done. You did it in a way that we want to help you get it done, so we're going to get it done. I've learned that if you sit down, you explain to them what you want to get done, why you want to get done, why it's important also that on the Frisk, I have no problem rolling up my sleeves, getting my hands dirty, try to, again, lead by example, be involved with them, and then show them again the outcomes, why this is a better way to do it.
[00:21:09.720] - Steve Morreale
It's interesting, Steve, because one of the things you say I do so much training at many different levels in policing, and one of the things I'm always saying to sergeants and to lieutenants and to future chiefs is when you can start with explaining why, when you can explain why. And I say to them, don't you want to know why the chief wants you to do something? Doesn't it make it easier for you to sell if you understand why the freaking change is happening? So speak to that a bit.
[00:21:36.200] - Steve Mazzie
So I spend a lot of time. With roll calls and a lot of time on the for the why. And even today pop by the roll calls because if they see something up, we have a digital roll call. Everything gets put on digitized, and it gets updated and saved on a nicest SharePoint site. But if it is a new director patrol out there, Steve, a lot of times it will be enough information, but I like to go in and say, hey, guys, this is why it's important for us to go here. This is the feedback I'm getting. These are the concerns. I just think it's so much more appreciated by them and to have a better understanding. And the fact that I'm taking the time to also explain it. Some of the stuff I used to get a kick out of that. I would say my good leaders would present something that came from me, and they say, hey, guys, this is what we have to do and why we have to do it. The bad leaders would say, yeah, the chief wants us to do this. It's not popular to the chief. It's not me.
[00:22:20.980] - Steve Mazzie
It's the chief. And those guys don't impress me. And the funny thing is, I don't think they realize their troops aren't impressed by that either, because they know they're just passing the buck.
[00:22:28.870] - Steve Morreale
It's hard for them to respond to that because what you're hearing the leaders say, it may be a sergeant is. So if you don't believe in it, why the hell should I do it? Because the dreaded directed patrol is what. I don't know how to patrol. You need to tell me where to go, like that's bullshit. You know what they think until you explain why and what's in it for them.
[00:22:47.020] - Steve Mazzie
I'll give you an example. Early on, we had an extremely high rate of alarm calls in the community. And I got to go back a little bit. 1986, my dad fell into his career. My dad was a beat cop. He went to just come off a couple of weeks vacation down the Cape, just returned. And right before he went on vacation, he told the chief, who was a guy he'd come on the job with, he was actually friendly with them, that the false alarms are getting out of control, and he said, someday somebody's going to get hurt. And there was an ordinance on the books at the time, but because of politics, they didn't enforce anything to do with the alarms. One day, Charlie, after my dad came back from vacation, he went to an alarm call at a jewelry store in downtown. Everybody looked in the window. Actually, I was in high school at the time. As a kid I played football with was at the counter with a jeweler, and they both looked over at him and waved at him. I'm belongs to him, my dad. Two guys in the jewelry store. One of you may recall the name.
[00:23:31.600] - Steve Mazzie
His name is Dominic Cinelli, career criminal. He was with another career criminal. They were on a spree. My dad walked in and unfortunately they got the drop on him. They were concealed in the place. They got to drop on them. Fortunately, they were just done cleaning the place out and really wanted to get out of there. And so there was an interaction there with my old man. Fortunately, he stayed cool and they left. But he had guns pointed in his face and his back really didn't have many options then to stay cool, and so the outcome was good at that moment. Two days later, those same guys shot an armed security garda at Homes Jewelers in downtown Boston. Shot him in the chest, centrally. Went away for 25 years. And it wasn't not that long ago. A few years back, he got paroled. And a lot of people ask how the hell he got parole, but he got paroled and what did he do? Right out of the gates, he went back to robbing jewelry stores and he robbed a jewelry store up and Woburn.
[00:24:18.300] - Steve Morreale
[00:24:19.400] - Steve Mazzie
The day after Christmas.
[00:24:21.180] - Steve Morreale
That's where I knew the name. I know exactly what happened. Yeah, go ahead.
[00:24:24.100] - Steve Mazzie
The agent shoot out with Officer Jack Wyatt. Jack took him out, but he was still in the line of duty.
[00:24:30.230] - Steve Morreale
Yes, Phil was the chief, Phil Mahoney at the time.
[00:24:32.900] - Steve Mazzie
Phil Mahoney chief. And I just learned Phil passed not too long ago.
[00:24:36.030] - Steve Morreale
[00:24:36.580] - Steve Mazzie
So that stuck with me as a kid when I got a job and I saw like, hey, wait a minute, these alarm calls, 1401, 500 a year, and we just let it happen. So I started enforcing. I put a notice out and we're going to enforce this. It was like a $50 fine and $75 fine. You get three warnings, a fine kicks in. But we did that and false alarms went down. I mean, we had like a 25, 27% reduction in the first year, then a 16, 17% reduction the second year, and it got down to like 6700. Alarm Falls more manageable. Now, why I'm telling you this is I also use that with my troops to say because they were like, man, we go to a lot of alarm calls. I said, Well, I'm going to do something about it. And when they realized, wow, they saw the drop in alarm calls, I said, hey, now with that free time, this is what I'm asking of you. Do some of this other stuff that's important. And so they got something out of it and I got that out of it.
[00:25:22.980] - Steve Morreale
Well, I wrote down very often when you can address what's in it for me by doing this, that it becomes very valuable. We're talking to Steve Maisie, and he is the chief of Police in Everett, Massachusetts, just back from a foreign trip. He just went to Europe. Steve, one of the things I'd like to ask you is for you to take us into, again, the evolution of the way you may have run meetings at first to how you do it now, how do you engage others? Because it seems to me that you can't do this unilaterally. As a chief, you've got to rely on your other people. You have to get feedback. You have to get buy in from them. So what do your staff meetings sound like?
[00:25:58.750] - Steve Mazzie
We ended up cutting back on staff meetings, unfortunately, the last couple of years, because I called it understood. I hate to say it. We tried to do them and then people got sick and we obviously ended up doing more of it by electronically.
[00:26:11.340] - Steve Morreale
But it's still a meeting. That's okay.
[00:26:13.270] - Steve Mazzie
Yeah. I do like to meet. I like to get FaceTime. I do a lot, Steve. As I've gotten older, I do much more listening. I want to hear from my people. I want to hear what they have to say and what they think. I'm not a fan of shot cuts. I've never been a shotgun taker. I don't like what I hear. Like, let's just take a shot cut of the easy way. But I like to hear creative ideas or different ways to do things. Everybody gets a chance to speak. This is the one thing we're going over. We do have mini comp stats. We're trying to get back into my regular basis, but going over, like, what's happened month to month and then year to year. But the one thing I do at the end of the meeting is I want to hear from everybody. A lot of times, a lot of people don't want to say anything.
[00:26:46.600] - Steve Morreale
So they're very quiet, right?
[00:26:47.790] - Steve Mazzie
Yeah, they're quiet, but I encourage it. Everybody, regardless of who they are, what their rank is, what their assignment is, I want them I try to let them know that it's important that they be heard, that we can address whatever their issues, concerns or ideas we can implement. So if someone comes to me with a good idea and for example, like manpower intensive is going to cost money or whatever, I'll take it in. And if I see it's got some benefits and merits, I'll get it done. I'm like, yeah, I'll find the money. I'll get the resources to do what you want to do if it's going to get us some good results in.
[00:27:13.630] - Steve Morreale
The community, that's interesting because I've run meetings. One of the things that I think I learned over time is not to say no right away. Sometimes people have an idea that seems outlandish. I might say, you know what? First glance, I don't know if I agree with what you're saying, but tell me more. I will never say no. Work on the idea, come up with some plans, and we'll keep talking about it. We'll give it a try, right? Have you tried things that have failed, but then you say, we learn from that failure?
[00:27:36.680] - Steve Mazzie
Yes, I don't like willy nilly. I want to hear more planning, legit plan. Tell me how it's going to benefit the community and us, and we'll give it a shot.
[00:27:44.720] - Steve Morreale
Yeah, I understand. Well, the idea of listening becomes important, and it sounds to me, and I'm not sure this is the case, but you may have become more of a facilitator in those meetings than the leader of the meeting that you lead through questions just by posing questions and getting some feedback. Is that a fair assessment?
[00:27:59.480] - Steve Mazzie
It is a fair assessment, yeah. I've had the opportunity to do a lot of facilitating over the years. Now when it does feel more like I'm facilitating at times, which is fine. Listen, it's a lot of people that are unfortunately, I'm becoming one of the.
[00:28:10.600] - Steve Morreale
Old guys now where the time goes.
[00:28:13.810] - Steve Mazzie
Yeah. There's not many more people, but I tell them, hey, I want to hear from you. I don't care if you've been here for two weeks, two years, 20 years. I do make a habit of stopping to talk to officers, whether it's on the street, going by a call. I try to rub elbows with them and get to talk to them. The other thing is, I'm also interested in their wellbeing, that's an area that's been of interest. I can't get anything done in the community if my officers are feeling good about who they are, what their mission is, and they have children around people to this day, I say they cops. The people, too. We have the same problems everyone else has. I had an officer who lost his daughter to brain cancer a couple of years ago. I have another officer whose son has a really bad disease that he's not going to live long. I have officers whose kids have drug addiction problems, mental health problems. They go through the same problems that the people we have to serve go through. I don't think a lot of people know that, and I'm always concerned about their welfare.
[00:29:01.970] - Steve Morreale
Yeah, well, you're humanizing them, and I think that's very important. We policing past that, but we come from the populace. We're nothing special. We do have problems with our kids. We get upset with our kids and we love our kids and we get pissed at our kids. I understand, and I think what you're saying is that you have created an approachability and your expectation is for your officers to have an approachability.
[00:29:24.200] - Steve Mazzie
Exactly. Some people say you shouldn't really have an open door policy. I don't know if it's open door. It's kind of like my phone for the last 19 years have been on 24 hours a day. And I do tell my officers, hey, if you got a problem, it's on. If you feel like you have no one to talk to or you're alone, you're up against it. My phone is on and I answered the Rarity. If I forget to put it on silent or something, like that. And I know it's hard. I tell people I took this job knowing that I'm going to get those phone calls around the clock at times. I know they don't get paid to be handling the high volume of stuff, but I asked them, you hit it on the head. I mean, to be approachable, to look at helping people, I mean, human beings that we're working with, trying to help in our community. And at the end of the day, one thing I do emphasize, especially young offices, is like, hey, you're getting paid. You're working eight hour shift or 10 hours shift. You get paid for the 10 hours.
[00:30:06.850] - Steve Mazzie
In those 10 hours, what do you care what kind of work you're doing? I mean, this is all part of it. Take that extra ten to 15 minutes to talk to some mom who's having a hard time or a kid, even if it might not be a police matter, but be there as a listener. Share that along with recruits in the academy. My own kids is the reason we have two ears and one mouth. I think we were designed to listen more, and that's what I found. Steve in our business, a lot of people want to vent about something. They know you might not be able to fix it, help them, but it was someone who listened to them and maybe give them a little bit of feedback. Steve.
[00:30:34.830] - Steve Morreale
I learned that at Star Market. I used to be an assistant head cashier. And people would come in with complaints, and you'd have to listen. And really, all they wanted to know is that you listened, you heard, and you not agreed with them, but are willing to help. Because policing, in my mind, is two things. It's a helping profession. We don't sell it like that, but that's exactly what we do on a daily basis. And I keep saying to Sergeant in training, donna Roger Williams, are you a customer service organization? And very few people raise their hands. And I think to myself and I say to them, if you don't say that to your people, how can you hold them accountable for not having a customer service mindset? That's bullshit. We're not that I don't agree with that. Are we a customer service organization?
[00:31:17.010] - Steve Mazzie
I just thought of something when you brought that up early on, when you called my headquarters, the front desk, you used to get police. Smith like, what do you want? They didn't say what you want.
[00:31:25.540] - Steve Morreale
What do you bother me for?
[00:31:27.250] - Steve Mazzie
That's what it sounded like, and I didn't like that. And early on, I said, hey, guys, this is how we're going to answer the phone, because we're going to be into customer service. You're locked on the recorded lines. Hey, it's every police officer. Maze. How can I help you? Or how may I help you? And I put that up in a directive.
[00:31:43.850] - Steve Morreale
That's the minimum you expect.
[00:31:45.250] - Steve Mazzie
That's the minimum. That's what it's supposed to sound like. I don't want to hear when I talk to people in the community. I felt like I was bothering. I said, we're open to be bothered if you don't like it, wrong business.
[00:31:53.940] - Steve Morreale
Yeah, I think that's great. One of the things that strikes me, too, is in a lot of ways, police departments and the people that they hire are underutilized now that pisses people off when I say that we hire presumably the best people we can. And then so many places say, hey, kid, I didn't ask you. You just got here. I'm not concerned with your opinion. And so you basically beat back any interest a new person or a mid level person has to improve the police agency. How stupid is that?
[00:32:20.050] - Steve Mazzie
Yeah, I think we have to learn the energy of your young officer coming on. Of course they want to learn. They want to go out and do all the things that cops do. And so I know some of them, usually the supervisors, they're older, they've been around, and they sometimes look at it as, oh, this could be a problem. Like, some of could get in trouble again. That's some of the after effects of Floyd. Now they're all worried about, wait a minute, I don't want to get in trouble. I don't want to lose my job. But I think it's a matter of spending the time to harness that energy. Everyone's different. You have a guy, a gal, who is really good with people. When those assignments come down, that, hey, we need someone to liaison and events, get those people to the event if it's good. I have a kid who's a legit Ninja Warrior, young kid in the job. He was on the Ninja Warrior show. We had national light out the other night. We rented one of those big it was a Ninja bank. And so we had him over there working with the kids, showing them how to do it.
[00:33:06.760] - Steve Mazzie
Yeah, show him, do it. And we have him involved in some PT stuff and the physical fitness stuff with young folks because that's up his alley. And obviously the great thing now is we've been recruiting and getting quality people from all walks of life that reflect community, from the Brazilian community, the Central American community, like El Salvadorian community. I just hired a first Haitian American officer, young gal, of course, and I don't want them just to be known for that. And they obviously have the language skills, but I just tell them, hey, you can make a huge difference in the respective communities because of your background. It's an opportunity to be a leader in the ethnic background you're from and help us make inroads in these different communities.
[00:33:43.260] - Steve Morreale
Well, I think not only that, it also helps your officers when you have somebody from that cultural background to help them understand their kind, if you will. So, Steve, we've got to wind down. There's a couple of questions and things that I still wanted to talk about and you mentioned covet a little bit and you talked about wellness, officer wellness, which is so important because I recognize that police get called, first responders get called to things to see things that most people will never encounter. And it's not just once but over a period of time. It's several times a year, some serious things that they go to and there's the cumulative effect. But there has been a stigma towards getting help that I think most police departments are saying that stigma is gone, we want you to get help. You know that there's this thing that some places are doing called a check up from the neck up, which is a yearly thing that everybody from the chief on down is going through. So it begins to eliminate. It's almost a dump for the things that you've been holding. And cops hold things and I've held things and you held things and you've seen shit.
[00:34:44.970] - Steve Morreale
We put it in a little box and then it leaks out and you never know when it's going to leak out. What's your thought about that?
[00:34:50.060] - Steve Mazzie
I'm all for that type of stuff. Over the years, again, I've learned to realize that we can't get anything done unless we take care of our people. One thing I try to do is for example, the city didn't do a great job initially of modeling, promoting our employee assistance program. So I basically try to push that thing out and explain it. And one thing people often are concerned about is like, hey, this is confidential. And once they realize it is, we tell them to take advantage of it. And the one thing that makes me feel good is over the years now, my department in the city is one of the commons that uses the services a lot. And I always tell them, like, hey, you can go to them for a whole lot of issues directly to someone we don't need to know about unless it becomes a problem at work. Then that's a different story. But they also know because we put word out that if you have an issue, you have concerns, something's going on, you need help, we'll help you. I just don't want it to become a bigger issue where it affects their ability to then be an officer.
[00:35:37.510] - Steve Mazzie
We've also been involved with some of the regional teams, critical incidents, stress management teams, helping officers out after critical incidents and so on. But I think just talking about it, I like to talk about it. Some of the mindsets are like, that's your week, you're being weak. But I know everyone handles stress differently and trauma differently. Unfortunately for me, I am over the years, I'm usually pretty good at compartmentalizing stuff, locking in a way and moving on to the next thing. Some people can't do that, hence people turn to booze and drugs sometimes and other outlets to cope with it. But the one thing we want to emphasize is the coping skill. Things. I know the younger generation, we see, a lot of them lack great coping skills to begin with. So we want them to talk about fitness and lifestyle, eating well, getting exercise, getting rest. I mean, don't work yourself into the ground. Should feel like crap all the time, spending time with your family, having alternatives like driftwood. Yes, I still play some ball. I do some driftwood in the winter. I'm a big skier come winter because that's great for my mind and my soul.
[00:36:35.540] - Steve Mazzie
And I think you're talking about it again back to creating a culture that it's okay to not be okay sometimes. And I think it's work. I had a fellow comedian guy, roughly my age. I grew up with him, and he commits me one day asking if he could talk, and he wasn't feeling good. He wasn't feeling good about himself and depressed and so on. That wouldn't have happened if I didn't present myself as someone that you can come in and talk to, and then I'm going to help you. And that didn't lead to he'd lose it, losing his weapon, getting put off the job. It led to, okay, let's get some medical people involved, get you some help and see what's going on. It was an issue. It ended up being a health issue, that he needed some treatment and he was fine, and he's a productive employee today. But I've got different cases like that, and it isn't always a career end, and that's what some people think. And I think the other thing too, is I've seen some agencies, when someone has a problem, they think just disciplining someone on transferring someone around is the solution.
[00:37:22.400] - Steve Mazzie
And that's definitely not the solution. We have to take care of our people.
[00:37:25.170] - Steve Morreale
I'm glad to hear that. As we wind down, one of the things that I'm curious about is how you as a leader, as a chief, work to keep the ball moving forward. We get so distracted by day to day, I think about COVID and COVID. You know, what you had to do during COVID in terms of, do we have masks? How do we do it? What do we stop? Do we limit calls? Do we begin to take calls on the phone rather than having people come in? At one point in time, that was distracting, and it kept our attention. But at one point in time, my guess is you had to say, we have to move the place forward. And so in a lot of ways, you have a lot of plates up in the air at the same time, trying to avoid crashing those plates, or your head is on a swivel. That's the way I say it. It's almost like your head is radar. How do you keep focused and your crew focused to bring you new DEA to keep working on improving the police agency.
[00:38:14.650] - Steve Mazzie
Well, one thing I've said from the get go is, I'm constantly trying to improve. And it's funny because the feedback I get is like, hey, Chief, things are going pretty good. People like us, we're doing a good job, crime rate is low, and I'm one of these guys, and I don't want to rest on the Tesla's accomplishments, but, yeah, that's great, but let's try to improve. I used a comparison of Bill Belichick, coach of the Pats. What's his main goal every year? His goal is not to win the east, not to win the conference championship. His goal is to get to the Super Bowl and win a Super Bowl and be the best that they can. And so I am constantly striving for us to be the best. And I say that what's wrong with being the best police department in metro Boston, eastern Massachusetts, all Massachusetts? And I think just talking about that and saying, hey, we can find ways to do things better, we can improve on. If we do something's good, let's do them better. So I just think it's a matter of keep it at the forefront and engaging people all the way down to the ranks to want to be better, want to be part of something great, as opposed to a half ass who wants to play for a half a team.
[00:39:14.610] - Steve Mazzie
A half as organization doesn't appeal to me, and I don't think it appeals to most people. Some people may be happy with status quo. I think most people want to move forward and make progress. And the other thing that's helpful in our community is because my city is on the move as well. So there's constantly progress taking place overall and new development, it affects us. And so we have to find ways to address and police a lot of this new development that goes on in the city, which is new. For example, when the gaming facility came in, we didn't know much about casinos and didn't have a police casino before all the problems that come with the casino. So we had to learn about it and then try to implement the plan and go at it, which we've done. And then we're going to continue to do that as of, for example, a waterfront get more developed. So we're spending more time down on the water, on the water itself. And I think you can't do one. I got to put my feet up and just say, hey, everything is great, and I won't until the day I walk out the door.
[00:40:01.450] - Steve Morreale
The last thing you will have the last word. We're talking to Steve Mazie. He's the chief of police in Everett, Massachusetts, and you're listening to The CopDoc Podcast. Steve, what would you have to say to young people who have seen such negative things about policing as to whether or not policing is a profession they should consider?
[00:40:19.270] - Steve Mazzie
Steve, I say this all the time. Policing is different from community to community, county to county, state to state, region in the country. I tell people, Hannah, just like you don't want to be judged by someone from your group or neighborhood, please don't judge us based on something that happened in Minnesota, Alabama, California, but get to know who we really are. Ask the right questions. Don't just take information. That's the problem with social media. Talking to a lot of young people like, oh, I saw on social media, I said, well, a lot of stuff on social media isn't legit, but do some research, have the conversations. And that's really why we will convince people that, for example, at our level, we're different. We do things different. We're different people. We're not perfect. The one thing I always say, we're not perfect. We make mistakes. I'm the first. I'll apologize if we make a mistake, but hopefully that they're smaller. Mistakes are not big mistakes, but they need to be open minded. Don't judge us on one thing. Look at us as a whole, because that's what we do when we interact with people. We're not going to judge them.
[00:41:14.110] - Steve Mazzie
We do give someone might be a career criminal, they may get the benefit of the doubt when we get asked the questions to do an investigation, because that's what we're supposed to do.
[00:41:22.100] - Steve Morreale
Not jump to conclusions.
[00:41:23.290] - Steve Mazzie
Not jump to conclusions.
[00:41:25.370] - Steve Morreale
Well, thanks for all your time to chat with you, finally connect with you. I appreciate it, Steve. And this will be airing in the next few weeks. I do appreciate so thank you so much for being here now.
[00:41:34.740] - Steve Mazzie
It's good to talk to you, Steve. It's been a long time.
[00:41:36.620] - Steve Morreale
Do it again, for sure. So that's it. Another episode of The CopDoc Podcast in the can. Thanks for listening and if you have any ideas about what your interest is for an interview or so, please reach out to me. Listeners are growing and getting people listening to us from all over the world. New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK. And the United States. So keep listening. Appreciate it until the next episode. Steve Morreale from Boston.
[00:42:04.490] - Intro
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 into The CopDoc Podcast for regular episodes of interviews with thought leaders in policing.