Dawn Reeby has been a data analyst with over 20 years of success in leadership and development, integration, and growth of data-driven analysis and strategy development. She has partnered with dozens of local and federal agencies as a law enforcement strategy specialist. Dawn has designed and delivered training including nationally certified webinars and in-person courses, 2-3-day specialized workshops, and more extensive workshops. She provides technical assistance and personalized instruction on implementing and enhancing quality analytical capacities. Dawn also privately consults with law enforcement professionals who desire to accelerate their success as industry leaders through her “Rising Genius Transformation Program.”
Dawn is a coach for law enforcement professionals to become more confident, highly efficient and productive, and deeply valued leaders who thrive personally and professionally.
She is the author of two books; Bigger than Data and Building a Crime Analysis Legacy, both available on Amazon.
A graduate of the University of Lowell, she has worked for the Lowell Police Department and the Nashua Police Department, and now partners with countless national and international police agencies to push the value and abilities of data analysis. She can be reached through her website www.excellenceinanalytics.com.
We talk about the value of data analytics for police agencies, and how to overcome the fear of starting to dabble in using existing data to guide the department resources and solve problems and crime.
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
[00:00:02.710] - Steve Morreale
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.
[00:00:32.690] - Steve Morreale
Well, hello again, everybody. This is Steve Morreale coming to you from Boston, and you're listening to another episode of The Cop Doc Podcast. Today we get the opportunity to talk to Dawn Reeby. Dawn is in New Hampshire. She was an analyst. She is now an author. And it is in the morning on the beginning of a weekend. So, hello there, Dawn.
[00:00:50.450] - Dawn Reeby
Hey. Hello. Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate being here today.
[00:00:54.010] - Steve Morreale
I want you to tell us it's easy for me to tell your biography, but I think it actually sounds better coming from you. Not to be boastful, but tell us about your history, tell us about your schooling, tell us about what you began to do and how you came to become an author, a trainer, a helper, a leader, a coach. I think that's important. So, tell your story.
[00:01:13.620] - Dawn Reeby
Yeah, thank you. So, I started off in the field in 1998 under Commissioner Davis in Lowell as an intern and a full-time intern. So, I was a college student, I was a young mom, and I started off as that intern there and really didn't know much about analytics. I was fascinated with what Commissioner Davis was doing and the value that he was bringing to the community from a different kind of policing perspective. So that jump-started me. They offered me the job afterwards, which was wonderful. So, for the last 24 years, I've been working with police agencies all over the globe, with different federal agencies. ICITAP, IACP, IADALEST, all those folks really helping to build analytical capacity and helping agencies take what they have and amplify it and make it that much better.
[00:02:00.760] - Steve Morreale
So, the word scares the hell out of so many people, and I do so much training and strategic planning. And strategic is one of these daunting things. Strategic. And I say, look, it's just a roadmap of where you're going. Analytics is so high brow that it scares so many people. But police agencies maintain lots of data, but they don't do crap with it, most of them. So, let's talk about that. What kind of data? How do we overcome that? Analysis paralysis, if you will.
[00:02:29.680] - Dawn Reeby
Yeah. It is scary when you don't know enough about something and you're trying to figure out where to start off. The way I think of it is, this is an operational tool, right? This is how we get our systems to work better, how we get to create and evaluate the strategies that we implement. We get to implement these data driven strategies. And so, it is scary to figure out, where do I start what do I do? The reality is, if you're operating on a call to call to call to call activity, you're not operating to the highest efficiency. You're stressed, you're overwhelmed. Any extra thing that gets put on your plate is just another thing. So, you're in this reactive mode. And when you build in that analytical capacity, you're really creating that infrastructure that's going to give you all the tools that you need to develop the strategies in a way that drives decisions with information, right? In a way that can evaluate the great work that our officers in our departments are doing. And so, data can be scary, but it really isn't it's not like the super intense data science field, right?
[00:03:30.190] - Dawn Reeby
Necessarily. It is thinking. It is critical thinking. It is using information that we collect, making sure that it's quality information and helping to make the best decisions we.
[00:03:39.480] - Steve Morreale
Can in placing so the numbers can drive operations and make better decisions, as you say. And the big key that so many people are talking about is data driven policing, evidence-based policing. There was problem-oriented policing. And if you don't know what your repeat problem is, you are going from call to call to call rather than saying, this is the 7th time we've been at this house, nothing has happened. What can we do? What's the impact? Because I think in so many ways, we can use our limited resources a bit smarter by focusing on problems and dealing with the problems. Maybe going to the neighborhood and talking to the neighborhood about the recurring problem at a house that is occupied by college students, and they have parties every weekend and no one's doing anything about it. All right, well, I would say the data is your pointer device.
[00:04:30.210] - Dawn Reeby
It really is. And looking at things at a macro level instead of looking at things at a day-to-day level. Right? Because that's what happens in policing. We come in, we're a platoon commander or a shift commander. We come in and our responsibility is that night. We're looking at the reports from the night before and we're figuring out where we need to send our officers that day or that evening. And so, crime analysis and data-driven strategies is really having a more macro level of looking at information and thinking about our strategy so much more proactive, much more take a step back and let's really look at the bigger picture. How can we use the operations of all the platoons? How can we maximize the resources that we do have and the partnerships that we have? I heard you had Dave Lambert on here and some of the language he was using around developing those partnerships that are going to really create the biggest impact. And I'll give you an example relative to what you were just sharing. I had a project that I was working on where we were combining police data with hospital and EMS data and really trying to identify who are those folks who were cross jurisdictions.
[00:05:31.040] - Dawn Reeby
Who are the folks who were frequent.
[00:05:32.840] - Steve Morreale
Frequent Flyers in both places.
[00:05:34.190] - Dawn Reeby
Utilize this. Exactly like really being able to say. Okay. This community and this community and this community and this hospital are all providing services to the same individual or individuals. How can we come up with a more global decision, a holistic approach to really eliminating the problem and getting the services to the person they need in a proper fashion? So, data-driven strategies allow us to make these decisions at a more macro level.
[00:05:58.570] - Steve Morreale
So, you might be a rare commodity. I don't know whether you want to feel good about that or bad or a wacky gal, but what I mean is you went to school. This was not in your wheelhouse. It's not what you studied, but it's what sort of you and Ed Davis and the colleagues around you, Mark, I mean, the list is Christine Cole and Brenda Bond. These are people who I worked with many years ago, and you did too. But once you got the bug, how did you move in that direction? How did you improve your understanding? Where did you get training? Where did you begin to affiliate so that you could understand, get better at it, and then begin to share it with others?
[00:06:38.550] - Dawn Reeby
That's a great question. And first of all, I was so lucky to land in Lowell under Davis and with Christine and Brenda and all those stink tanks, right? And so really, I was truly blessed because a lot of interns end up at these police departments where they're getting coffee and not really in the way that I was in. And Carol Fitzgerald and some of the other great analysts who were there gave me an incredible experience. And so, the second part of your question, I believe that we have to have a hungry mindset. We have to be devouring tools, materials, books, podcasts, knowledge on a regular basis in order to grow regularly learning. And when I started in this field, there actually was not school for crime analysis. It was a criminal justice master's degree, and that was it. Right. And so, I started connecting with other people like Christopher Bruce, like Deb Peel.
[00:07:26.930] - Dawn Reeby
Some of those real
[00:07:27.920] - Dawn Reeby
MACA and those guys, right?
[00:07:29.620] - Dawn Reeby
Exactly. I got connected to a regional group of analysts, and I started to talk to them about, first of all, what's the field? Right? But then kind of some of the bigger thinking. And I started connecting with groups like IACA, the International Association of Crime Analysts, and started reading books. Rachel Boba, Mark Dallow, and some of the great leaders in our industry and started just devouring materials and especially materials on leadership. A lot of times analysts will focus on analytical procedures, right? So, they'll learn technical analysis, they'll learn strategic analysis. They won't necessarily focus on leadership. And so, I really wanted to build my own leadership and be what we now call the CEO of crime analysis, right? And have this mentality of, how can I come to an agency and give them everything that they need in terms of analytics to be most successful? And you can't do that if you're thinking just about the tactics. You've got to think about that leadership, that global impact, how we can create an industry of analysis that's risen to a more professional level. So devouring books on leadership, devouring books on analytics, and there weren't that many there were not that many books on crime analysis.
[00:08:33.330] - Dawn Reeby
Now I'm starting to see colleges come out with crime analysis programs, and I'm actually teaching quite a few of them, really helping to build that foundation and those building blocks. But the leadership piece, I'd say, is the biggest piece to devour in this field.
[00:08:47.970] - Steve Morreale
So, as you're talking, I'm constantly writing notes, and you're triggering ideas in my mind. I think in my time at DEA, and I've said this before, that I did not have the respect of intelligence analysts until I became a manager. And when I became a manager, I tried to figure out, like, what do you do and how do you do it, and how can you help me? And I would sit with them to say, well, what if I gave you this, and how can you tell me what to focus on? And we're looking at this person. What kind of information can you get? And I developed a newfound respect in intelligence and actually became sort of a champion for intelligence and intelligence analysts. As we move to smaller departments, mid-sized departments, there's so many of those. What I see is sometimes it's moving in a good direction. Sometimes there is a reluctance to step into this analysis. Or what we do is we find somebody who is a computer geek who's also a sworn officer, and we knight that person as an analyst without understanding. Not that they weren't good police analysts out there, sworn police analyst, but I think that those agencies that step back and say, you know, there's room for civilians here to do this work, maybe to work with the police officer, but we have to move in that direction sometimes.
[00:10:05.860] - Steve Morreale
That's a very high hurdle to overcome because of unions in many cases. But what's your experience and what's your recommendation? What are the things you've seen smaller departments who have ignored this might be able to do to get into the business? That's a multifaceted question, by the way. I know it's okay.
[00:10:25.800] - Dawn Reeby
So, it is a really specialized field, and I encourage Chase and executives to understand that, to understand that you can't just move somebody over who's good at helping with your technologies or whatever it might be to be this critical thinker of analytics, of information to help drive those decisions. So, I would say to first have the mindset that it is a professional field in this individual it is all about training and learning and growing on a regular basis. So that's the first thing. It's a professional field. If some of these smaller agencies don't have the resources to necessarily bring in a full-time person all for themselves, there's lots of partnership opportunities. There's lots of people like Annie Mitchell, like myself, who coordinate and work with police agencies, multiple police agencies. So, you might not need a full time one. You might share an analyst. Whether you share an analyst or hire a part time person or hire a consultant like myself and some of the other leaders in the industry, it's important to recognize that one. We need the data. We need access to the data and to the mindset around that professionalism. You really want someone who is going to own the role.
[00:11:32.010] - Dawn Reeby
You want someone who understands the field and you want to give them the opportunity to learn. That visiting other police agencies who have quality analytics. What I often see police agencies do is grab someone from dispatch and say you're it or grab an officer who's on maybe in house for one reason or another, and they say, you're it. And really don't give them all the tools that they need. And so, understanding that it is a profession is going to give executive staff really some thinking behind, okay, how do I equip this person to do more than just run some reports? Because crime analysis is not an intel analysis, is not running reports. The numbers are there because it's a byproduct. It's a byproduct of having access to your business.
[00:12:12.400] - Steve Morreale
Well, that's the collated information. It's the analysis that becomes extremely important.
[00:12:19.010] - Dawn Reeby
Exactly. I read an article the other day where there was an artificial intelligence concept, right? So, we can use artificial intelligence, we can use a computer system, and our cops can just press the button when they need it in the cruisers. Right. And that's crime analysis. And the answer is no, that's not crime analysis. There's tools that really help analysts. There's a variety of tools that help analysts, but we can do analysis on a napkin. It's the critical thinking, it's the role ownership, it's the digging in, it's the access to lots of resources and people outside of the agency that's going to create that quality. So, when I work with the police department and it's actually in the book.
[00:12:52.710] - Steve Morreale
Too well, wait a minute, stop. Let's talk about the book. We have glossed over it. You just released your second book. Talk about that for a moment. Congratulations. Thank you. You're crazy fool. Writing like crazy fool. Yes.
[00:13:05.820] - Dawn Reeby
So, I've been working with the ICA for quite some time in a twelve-week program where we talk about building or it's actually optimizing analytical infrastructure. Right. And so, I started getting all of these questions from other folks, from just a variety of other leaders in industry saying, okay, but what about this and what about that? And the same question kept coming up over and over again. What do I do? Like, what are the action steps that I do to implement crime analysis? There are so many things out there now to think about. And so, the book is intended to be this step-by-step guide to building analytical infrastructure. So, step one, create the vision. How do you create the vision? Step two, create the policies and procedures. Step three, the job descriptions. What are they supposed to look like? How can we create that baseline infrastructure that's going to lead our team into success? So, the book is a manual. It's a manual for chiefs, executives, supervisors of analytical units to think about. What do I need to be thinking about when I think about data? What do I need to be thinking about when I think about buying?
[00:14:02.880] - Dawn Reeby
What are impact products, how do I build legacy, how do I retain an analyst, ensure that they're not agency hopping, right? And so, the book is really intended to create the foundation for success for any police department, big or small, to implement the function.
[00:14:17.650] - Steve Morreale
Well, that's a great thumbnail sketch. And again, I'm constantly thinking and writing as you're talking about it. Let's go back for a moment. You were talking about the possibility for regional sharing, and it strikes me as you well know, and at one point in time you were in Nashville, New Hampshire. I'm a former Dover, New Hampshire police officer and crime doesn't stay in bombs. Nashua is right over the line in Massachusetts, yet they have no authority down there. Tyngsboro, you have to work together. And so, in many cases, what you have experienced is detective units. And when I was a detective, we used to have monthly meetings where we would bring in large and small agencies surrounding the town that would have an impact. In other words, my burglar was in your town and your burglars coming to my town. And so only having singular data does not solve the problem. But one of the things that comes to mind is here you are sitting in a department; you've got access to the data and that's great and you collect it. And by the way, it's sometimes in different form and format and you have to clean the data and you have to decide what fields you're going to use.
[00:15:22.050] - Steve Morreale
You have to create new fields. Now you're shaking your head. You understand this is not an easy thing to do. Yes, and please tell me if this guy's wrong. I think that you cannot operate in a vacuum. Chances are you have to sit and have a chat or create a focus group of police officers to understand what are you seeing, what do you need, what am I missing? Is that a fair assessment?
[00:15:46.870] - Dawn Reeby
Yeah, absolutely. And so, I think, as Davis actually shared this in the podcast that you all did, is you can't develop relationships in crisis situation. You can't develop a relationship in a situation where you need information fast. So, you have to be nurturing these relationships with outside agencies. A detective meeting with analysts and detectives in it. I think it's a great idea. And information sharing on a regular basis with your area folks is a wonderful idea.
[00:16:11.110] - Steve Morreale
You just said something. You just again triggered an idea. The fact that you just said what I didn't say is detectives meeting. Imagine you've had this experience where the detectives and analysts from multiple agencies are sitting. Now you've got the potential for sharing not only with the detectives doing investigations, but with the analysts and opening up a wider array of access to data from multiple sources.
[00:16:37.610] - Dawn Reeby
Fair absolutely. And when I was in Nashville and there for almost nine years, maybe eight and a half years, I would definitely attend the detective meetings because there was value that I got from those meetings and value that I gave at those meetings. And so having that regular communication so that I could call up Manchester or call up Boston or wherever I needed to call, I had a connection. And so, I give this example where one of my nationals are detectives with undercover was sitting on a car. Well, actually, I have to make sure I say that right, because someone in another country said, why do we sit on cars?
[00:17:09.710] - Steve Morreale
Can you visualize? What are you sitting on the car for? Now? We're watching a car.
[00:17:15.410] - Dawn Reeby
He says, don I know that Maria owns this vehicle? There's a male in the vehicle. I want to know what kind of situation I'm getting into. And so, like you said, New Hampshire is very close to Massachusetts. Nashville was right on the border. I already had connections in Massachusetts because I had to be developing them for years and years. And so, I put out information and requests and feelers, and I had this old intern from Lowell who ended up going on to work for Mass State Police who said, yes, that car was stopped in Boston, Massachusetts, and so we don't know anything other than they were stopped in Boston. I call up the intel brick down in Boston, and I say, all right, Boston, what do you know about this car? And they said, yes, someone was arrested here's his name. He was arrested in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and fantastic. So, I reach out to Lawrence, Massachusetts, and they had an intern.
[00:18:00.800] - Steve Morreale
It's like a scavenger hunt.
[00:18:02.110] - Dawn Reeby
It was it was pretty basic. And so, I reach out, and she says, yes, I have your suspect, and here's a bunch of fiscal reports on this person that is not collected in the pop. Right. And so, here's some information that you need to know about this person. So, I gather all this in less than 20 minutes and hand it off to my officer, my detective undercover who's sitting the car.
[00:18:24.430] - Steve Morreale
[00:18:25.200] - Dawn Reeby
And so, he's equipped with all this information that's going to make him safe. That's going to make us understand what he's dealing with in that moment and really help him drive the next move. Right? And it's funny, when I told this story when I was teaching in Saudi Arabia, the mindset is completely different over there. They said, how come you just didn't ask Maria who was driving the car? It doesn't work that way over here.
[00:18:48.770] - Steve Morreale
That's a good one. Well, that experience that you're bringing all over the world is amazing. And you know that we have a whole bunch of listeners from all different kinds of places. And I always mention it to say hi to those who are listening to us in New Zealand and Australia and Ireland, in the UK and in Canada and on and on. Colombia in some cases. So hopefully we can get those Saudi Arabians to listen. And especially given the people who had gone to your training but don. What I'm hearing is so amazing. When you decide, who should I interview? What value will they bring? How can they help others understand it? And while you are not an active sworn officer, you represent a group of people that can be so helpful. And what just described was because of the relationships and the associations you belong to, you've got connections, you pick up the phone. I'll give you, for instance, something similar in a different way. So many agencies are doing correspondence and the problem is sometimes that they're small agencies and they cannot necessarily afford a clinician by themselves, but they share. The difference is that while in some cases, while they're working, they're actually training, inadvertently, police officers on mental health, but more importantly, when they engage with their own kind, with the medical profession, they're listened to in a completely different way than from a police officer.
[00:20:11.700] - Steve Morreale
So that what I'm saying as a similarity, is because you speak that language and you have access to the Mass State Police in Boston or Lawrence and the people who are doing your work, it adds an extremely different layer to a police department. And that is amazing. And that is something we need to continue. What's your thought about how this has grown?
[00:20:34.020] - Dawn Reeby
Thank you. And I do believe the field has grown. We have some wonderful people in the field who are continuing to rise in its professionalism and the certification. There are all kinds of things that are really rising. The analytical field overall. When I think about the private sector, as a business owner, I know what it's like to be in the private sector. And so, we have key performance indicators. We have data that drives what we do. Businesses and Whole Foods and all these people look at marketing and they use all this information to drive their sales, essentially. And in policing, for years, we didn't have that. We didn't have that kind of thinking. It was very reactive. And so now in policing, I see more and more especially over the last ten years, more and more police agencies are understanding the value of using that information to make things work better, to make things more efficient and effective. You have groups like BJA, you have groups like IADALEST, ICA, you have all these groups who have funding and resources for collaboration, who have training after training. I just joined a new partnership down in Florida.
[00:21:33.330] - Dawn Reeby
We're doing an executive training with a college and a police agency for chiefs, executives, captains, and so forth around leadership and building in this crime analysis function. As part of that, that would not have been seen ten years ago. So the fact that we are teaching executives about this foundational level, that's going to really drive decisions, drive community policing, drive those assessments, drive grants, drive connections with the mayor's office and all the things this is wonderful that we're becoming part of this, woven in as an integral component to the operations just like it's done in the private sector.
[00:22:06.000] - Steve Morreale
Well, that's an interesting perspective, I think. And when I hear that and having been in public administration and served in municipal places, both as an elected official and as an appointed official, that so many of the elected officials come from business. In fact, when I was on the personnel board, I was the only public sector person there, and everyone was trying to drive the public sector pay the way that they did in business because that's all they knew. But the point of the matter is that the people who are sitting and making decisions on a finance committee or on a select board or in city council are business people who have expectations that police don't necessarily know. And that is what is your data telling you? Why are you doing that? How are you utilizing this? What's your closure rate? All of those kinds of things. And very, very, very often a police chief sitting in front of them becomes flat footed because that's not the way we measured stuff in the past. So, I think that's really important, what you just said.
[00:23:05.590] - Dawn Reeby
Yeah, thank you. And I think, too, when we try to translate that into policing, we often say, okay, well, how many car stops did we make?
[00:23:12.010] - Steve Morreale
Wow, we count beans. That's not analysis.
[00:23:15.370] - Dawn Reeby
No, not at all. And so, I was actually just having this conversation with a team around, okay, yeah, we want to look at motor vehicle stops. I don't care necessarily about the number of motor vehicle stops. I care about what they result in. Exactly. Outcomes, impact. And let's really figure out what's the impact that we're making. And you can't do that unless you have quality information and somebody who understands how to measure your befores and your afters and so forth. And that's really where that training comes in. That's really where that mindset around a bigger level of thinking comes in in a police agency.
[00:23:48.600] - Steve Morreale
Well, so a couple of things that I wrote down here is think about hotspots. And we've gone through hotspot policing, but the hotspots are pointed to by data. What happens. And I equate it this way, that maybe a simple way, and I don't mean to be simplistic with the people who are listening or certainly not with you, but accidents, just looking at a simple thing called accidents, what can the data tell us? What do we do? How do we reduce accidents in a particular place? How does the day I'm going to let you speak to that. What would some of the factors be that you would look at to say, where are our hot spots for accidents? Because there are factors that become important and I'll explain in a minute the way I'm thinking, but I want to hear from you.
[00:24:27.380] - Dawn Reeby
Yeah, sure. So, hotspots for accidents are completely different than hot spots for visibility kind of crimes, right? So hot spots for accidents, really, you're looking at specific locations or areas of locations, but in hotspot policing in a sense, right? So, if you're looking at a hot spot, say for burglaries, you know that one area can be impacted by the burglary of another area, but one intersection doesn't make another intersection more susceptible for crashes. And so really looking at crashes in a different kind of way is important. So, understanding seasonal contributors, understanding weather patterns, understanding the types of crashes that are occurring, are they left turns? Are they people going through red lights? Are they speeding? Is it just poor configuration of the road?
[00:25:10.840] - Steve Morreale
So, all of the time of day, time of day really important.
[00:25:14.260] - Dawn Reeby
Right after schools are being let out or that long line that all the parents are in to get their kids in as quickly as possible, like when are these things happening and what are the environmental factors that contribute to them?
[00:25:24.920] - Steve Morreale
What little I begin to talk about in training for Sergeants, for example, is to say, don't you want that data? If you've got an accident hotspot, if you will, where you've sent people there 30 times, what do you need to know first? The time of day, maybe what sunrise or sunset? So, if you know that, do you put somebody at that intersection on a Saturday or do you put it on at the hot spot that you determine? It's the same with burglaries. It's the same with car thefts. It's the same with robberies, I'm sure. Explain what goes through your mind as you get this dumped on your lap. What are the things that you go through your mind saying, what data do I need? Where do I get it? What are the factors? What are the fields that I have to draw?
[00:26:03.000] - Dawn Reeby
I suppose it would be different for different crimes, right? Because you have to think about the motivation for a crime and crashes is really not a motivation, right? So, you got to think about the environmental factors that are contributing. So. If there's a burglary series and we want to look at catalytic converter thefts, what are some of the things that contribute to that? Folks are going to go to the locations where there's the biggest amounts of return for them. So, if you have a big lot of a bunch of vehicles, what are we looking for? What cameras are there and so forth. But overall, what are we looking for? Not necessarily just that particular one?
[00:26:33.460] - Steve Morreale
Well, you're looking potentially for common themes.
[00:26:35.070] - Dawn Reeby
We're looking for patterns. We're looking for abnormalities. We're looking for increases and decreases that are outside of the normal range threshold. We're looking for things that are unusual. We're looking for things that we can predict. We're looking for those things that have a pattern of behavior. And when I teach this, it's so fun because I'll teach it on the second day of a class, right? So, the first day, everybody goes into their seats, and they sit where they want to sit. And then we have a day of class, and then the next day, they'll come in and they'll sit in the exact same seats. And I'll say to them, okay, what's the pattern of this class? What things have you done here that represent the pattern? Did you drive to work the same way? Did you brush your teeth in the same order? The shower, brush your teeth and so forth. We all have patterns, and an analyst is looking at the patterns of people, right? And so, the patterns of offenders are unique to a specific crime. Like, if you're addicted to drugs, you might have a different pattern of offending than somebody who is motivated by a larger level of cash for a different reason, right?
[00:27:30.750] - Dawn Reeby
And so, an analyst is regularly thinking about the psychology behind a crime. So, when the students come into class, they'll say, yeah, I said in the same seat. Of course, you did, and you didn't think about it. And so, offenders don't necessarily think about their patterns either. So, the analysts are regularly thinking about patterns of behavior that contribute to why someone would want to commit an offense in that particular location. So where do they live? What do they work? What do they play? What's their travel path? We're looking at those things. So, it's quite fascinating, actually. It's quite interesting and exciting once folks get into it. When I was out in Saudi, I actually gave them a pattern, and I said, here's a bunch of reports. Tell me which ones belong to the pattern and tell me where the suspect is going to hit again. And we went through exactly what we're talking about here. What's the who, what's the offender look like? What's the victim, a potential victim, look like? What are the attractors that are attracting the suspect to these particular type of victims? What's the pattern of travel if it's random? What's that pattern?
[00:28:26.510] - Dawn Reeby
That's also a pattern. So, looking at all of these factors are fascinating, and they can't be done by a computer button press.
[00:28:33.440] - Steve Morreale
No, I'm thinking what are the tools that people bring to bear here? Somebody's going to start new and now there's the computer, there's your access. Well, it's not that easy. What are the tools that play knowing DEA does I too and link analysis, those kinds of things. So, what are the tools that help an analyst do the job?
[00:28:54.180] - Dawn Reeby
So, I always encourage folks to start off as simple and basic as possible. Don't go and buy a fancy program thinking that that's going to be analysis and that's going to make you a better analyst. Right. Focus on the mindset, focus on owning the role. Focus on showing up as your best self every day. And that might mean listen to podcasts every day. That might mean listen to analytical processes and trainings all day long until you have that mindset around thinking, the critical thinking. The technology is that I encourage police agencies to work with hundreds of chiefs, right. And they say, well, do I need to buy this $20,000 program? And answer. No, you don't.
[00:29:29.590] - Steve Morreale
[00:29:29.900] - Dawn Reeby
What you need to do is equip to your analysts with the mindset and the training tools that they need, the partnership time to develop. Right. And Excel is something that a lot of analysts use from small agencies. I particularly like Microsoft Access. It's a relational database, so I'm able to pull things together. If you are an analyst at a larger agency, you're going to have some data scientists who pulls all the information together for you and makes it accessible. So, I wouldn't focus first on the tool that you use. I would focus first on access to the data that you need. And that's the number one thing. A lot of police agencies will say, well, we have a records management system. Can't they just do analysis there? And the answer is 99% of the time, no. A records management system stores the data, but analysts need access to the back end of that data in this macro form. Right. So, they need a big, huge dump of all the data so they can look for all these patterns and trends and develop thresholds and strategies in terms of their own operations. Right? So, something as simple as Microsoft Access or I say, less Excel and more things like relational pieces like Access because you want to be able to bring in multiple data sets into one.
[00:30:40.960] - Dawn Reeby
Right. So, an agency when I was in Nashville, that's what we used. We had almost 200 officers, 179 sworn, and we were able to do everything we needed to do in Microsoft Access.
[00:30:50.600] - Steve Morreale
Yeah, that's good to know. First of all, when you look at any number of, thankfully I can cut this out, but when you think about the things that we use, the software we use, we use about one 10th of it. Access is in my mind, and I always try to get people who were working for me to learn access. It was a little bit difficult, but Excel is a great starter, and it feeds access without question. There's one thing you just said, and I think this is really important. By the way, I have failed to say that we're talking to Dawn Reeby. She's in New Hampshire. She is a crime analyst who is now a consultant and has written a few books, and we'll put a link to those books on the website. But you said something, I think that is so important. Allow the analysts the time to develop partnerships. I know we talked about that but talk about how somebody who did not start as an intern. How do you begin to develop these analysts? Excuse me? Partnerships. Where do you begin?
[00:32:01.950] - Dawn Reeby
Yeah, and I want to give a quick shout out to Methuen, Massachusetts Police Department because I am partnering with them right now on a full-time basis to lead their analytics, and they have a wonderful chief who's really moving in the agency in the right direction. So, I just want to make sure I said that partnerships are so important. Starting off with your regional network is key. And writing a list of all the partnerships that you want to develop, starting your regional network, your larger Isa, and then literally just writing down all the police departments, probation, parole, HIDTA, all those kinds of folks writing them down in a list and saying, how am I going to connect with them? And I'll give you a great example of how this came into play. Recently, we have a narcotics gang investigation going on, and we had all these partners coming to the table from five or six different entities, doc as well as local police agencies. And they had this big, huge bulletin board of all the folks who they wanted to study, right, in terms of these gay relationships and our products relationships. And they said, Don, how do we organize this information in a way that's easy?
[00:33:13.690] - Dawn Reeby
So, they said, do you have a program that can help us do this? And the reality is, sometimes analysts don't. So, this is where partnerships come in, right. The Mass Fusion Center. Does this kind of work for police agencies? All we got to do is call them up. NESPIN, does this work. NEMLEC does this work. They are great partners to get to know and figure out what are the tools that they can provide to us. And so, I don't need I too, necessarily if I'm a crime analyst in a small agency, how often am I going to do a major intel operation? Not too often. So, do I need to purchase I-2, which is a link analysis tool? The answer is no. I could tap into my partnerships. Like the New Hampshire Fusion Center, the Mass Fusion Center, Rhode Island, like whatever area you're in.
[00:34:04.440] - Steve Morreale
HIDTA, NEMLEC, you just said NESPIN. I understand the RISS Network. Amazing. And the RISS network is nationwide.
[00:34:11.370] - Dawn Reeby
Yes, exactly. And so, tapping in and getting on their listservs for emails, getting to all of the meetings, that should be a priority. So, we have a program for analysts and a program for analyst supervisors. And for both of them, in both of their programs, I say to them, part of what you do, particularly for the supervisors, part of what you do, your job is to nurture relationships and optimize them and figure out what type of partnerships do you need to bring in to optimize the analytical function. And that is one of the five key things that we should be thinking about as supervisors, as leaders. How can I nourish nurture and mature these relationships so that when an occurrence happens, we can tap into their resources? And so, part of the folks who are on my list are the Mass Association of Crime Analysts, New Hampshire Fusion Center, Mass Fusion Center, IACA, NESPIN There's also a group called NORCA, the Northeastern Organized Retail Crime, if you want to know anything about organized retail crime. There's I think I mentioned NEMLEC and a variety of others who distribute bulletins, getting in touch with BRIC and some of the other analytical, which is the Boston Regional, right?
[00:35:28.790] - Dawn Reeby
Yes, sir. Getting in touch with them and saying, put me on your distribution list and making sure that 20% at least of your time is dedicated to looking at reading, reviewing, understanding regional patterns and trends, and making those relationships happen.
[00:35:46.190] - Steve Morreale
Well, sometimes it's critical, and sometimes when you do that, not that you can anticipate, but you can start thinking, well, this is happening down south, this may move north. So, we need to know about that. And I think private public partnerships are important, too. One of the things we didn't talk about, and you began to touch on that, whether it is the insurance, the auto theft insurance, what the heck is the name of that? Do you know?
[00:36:10.650] - Dawn Reeby
I know what you're talking about.
[00:36:12.260] - Steve Morreale
All right. But yes, there's a group of people there. But also, when you think about copper theft and all those kinds of things, where those usually come from, they're coming from utilities and utility. Target, when you think about Target, has amazing capabilities for organized retail crime. And that's something where you bring people together to anticipate and to help, because when it happens, the police are going to get called. You might as well pair up with them, as you say, before the crisis.
[00:36:39.910] - Dawn Reeby
Exactly. And pair up with people like Roger Williams, pair up with Lambert and some of these other folks who are doing some of the research stuff, who are getting touched with those research partners as well. Because in law enforcement analytics, we don't necessarily have time to do all those big levels of research, but we should know. We should know the best practices. And so, partnering with folks who are those academics who are doing that kind of work and really understand the advancements that they're making. It needs to be a priority. And I don't see this often as much as I'd like to in law enforcement analytics. I see isolation, I see I'm so busy, I don't have time for anything else. And it has to be a priority. Partnerships is the number one, well, minus access to data. I was working a case up in New Hampshire. An individual is working a case down in Florida, and they found my New Hampshire name in the IACA rolodex of analysts. And they said, we have a phone number. It's coming back to Nashville, New Hampshire. Is there anything you could tell us about this particular location?
[00:37:35.590] - Dawn Reeby
I mean, this is Florida, and we were able to solve a case together, a major gang ring together, because my name was in the ICA network. Rolodex. So, connections are a huge part of this industry.
[00:37:47.020] - Steve Morreale
And as we said, crime knows no boundaries, and that becomes important as we wind down. We're talking to Don Riebe, and she's the author of a book. I look forward to seeing that book. It was just released, so I haven't seen it yet. But it seems to me that this is a narrow field but growing. How would you suggest? Look, so many people teaching the Criminal Justice Department, I would say 30% of the people want to be police officers, and others want to work in tangential organizations, whether it's victims. And this is a pretty darn good field as it's growing. What recommendations or suggestions would you make for people to begin to think about this as a possibility to make a difference but not be sworn?
[00:38:26.610] - Dawn Reeby
Yeah. So, a lot of folks that I talked to, they don't necessarily want to be sworn. Being sworn is a wonderful thing, and I applaud all of our sworn right. But we need to make others, especially those college university students and their professors, know that there's other opportunities to contribute in law enforcement. And so being able to say, hey, if you're really good at critical thinking and you can look at information, you could provide credible value to police agencies. And so, one of the things I actually shared about the book is I said, if you know someone in a college, grab a bunch of these books and throw them into your college. There's the building a crime analysis legacy. And then we also have Bigger than Data. So, the bigger and Data book is for the analysts, really what they need to know to be an analyst and weaves in work Life Harmony. And then the other book, the new book, Building a Crime Analysis Legacy, is for the supervisors. And if we can have more students thinking about these larger concepts, they're going to come into a police department and offer the value that may be missing from that police agency.
[00:39:24.690] - Dawn Reeby
So, getting these students to get excited about something else in the field that they are really good at, that could be their talent and passion and they could deliver such greatness to a police department. I think we should start with our colleges, for sure.
[00:39:36.240] - Steve Morreale
Yeah, I'm glad to hear that. And there is one thing we'll talk about it offline, but I think that that's a very, very important thing that we should offer and begin pushing people. We do talk a little about intelligence, but crime analysis is really a burgeoning field and an important field, especially with the push for EBP and for data driven analysis. I was trying to think, focusing on you and I'm thinking about other things outside. I was thinking to myself, what the hell did I just talked to about analysis? And it was Steve Mazie, who's the chief of police in Everett. But it was fascinating for me in the same way you're speaking where I said to him tell me about what you did, tell me about some of these newfound ideas and how do you come up with them? And what he said is it's about networking and partnering and talking to other people and seeing what works best practices. And it came to me that we started with an intern, I hired that person, I got a grant and now I have two. And so, I said stop. Are you telling me you have civilians doing this work?
[00:40:31.690] - Steve Morreale
And I'm being facetious, but I think it's important for police chiefs and future police chiefs to think it doesn't have to be a sworn officer. In fact, it may be much better if it isn't.
[00:40:44.230] - Dawn Reeby
You know what? It very much can be. And Steve is great, it really, really can be. Because here's a couple of different reasons. When I was in Nashville, we had our officers, detective sergeant and so forth, rotating every couple of years, which is a wonderful thing, right? Everybody's exposed to the different areas. But in analytics, two years, you're just getting started. And so, when you have someone who is dedicated to analytics, who's the CEO of Crime Analysis, who shows up as that expert, that subject matter expert, that's the thing they do in an amazing way. It takes the agency to a whole new level. And with the information, I mean, this is not a field that's going away, this is a field that's exploding. Data is driving private sector and it will drive public sector, right? And agencies are becoming more and more aware of that, and they just want to know how. And so, one of the benefits of being a civilian is you can call me whatever you want. You can tell me I'm captain level, you can tell me on deputy level, you can tell me on whatever level. And there's no hierarchy of who can talk to dawn, there's no officer telling a lieutenant hey, patrol this area, right?
[00:41:45.900] - Dawn Reeby
And so, I do think having an officer in the analytical unit can be very helpful for the analysts not being in the environment itself. But I also think that having a civilian in there could really a dedicated.
[00:41:58.070] - Steve Morreale
Civilian is what you're saying, too. I understand that.
[00:42:00.190] - Dawn Reeby
Dedicated civilian to really grow it in a way that is most impactful.
[00:42:04.850] - Steve Morreale
That's great. How do people reach you?
[00:42:06.780] - Dawn Reeby
Sure. So, excellence in analytics is my website. You can pop on over there and grab some information. There's a bunch of YouTubes and resources specifically around analytical capacity as well as wellness in policing. So, we have blogs over there and all kinds of great tools and supplies. We have our coaching programs where if an agency wants to be walked through this process, wants to build the supervisory leadership of somebody in their agency or multiple people in their agency, they can reach out to Don at Excellence inanalytics.com or you can pop on the website and there's a link to connect with me. There one thing I just want to pause for a moment and share for those leaders who are really looking to shift the mindset of all their staff in there, just to figure out the easiest way to do that. One of the things that you can do that other chiefs have done is they've purchased the book in bulk for all of their staff. So, they're sergeants their lieutenants, their captains, their deputy chiefs, they've purchased it and given it to them to read. I mean, it's short, it's 127 pages, right. And it's an actionable book.
[00:43:05.050] - Dawn Reeby
So, they'll give it to all of them to read so that everyone can come to the table with a mindset shift of where we're going. You can only do so much conversing in a constant meeting or in a staff meeting but having someone take a look at where we're going as an agency, going into data driven strategies and using this as a tool to shift that mindset is an optimal way to tap into a resource that's right here and available. So, feel free to reach out. Folks can reach out to me directly and we can figure out a way to get a bunch of them in your pocket so that you can share them with your staff as an innovative tool for change.
[00:43:34.140] - Steve Morreale
I'm not big on selling on the podcast, but I think this is such an important area and that's why I think it's good to share. I started to talk to chiefs who have created book clubs to get people to talk about what a great way to start a book club to say, I want you to become conversant or more conversant, so that when we have a conversation in a meeting, which we will in a month or two, we want you to be a part of the discussion. And knowledge is power. So, I think that's a great idea.
[00:44:00.100] - Dawn Reeby
It really is. And there is a Kindle version that's much priced, relatively soft, right? It's 999 for the Kindle version. So, it's not a heavy lift for folks and it really gets something into their hands. And then, of course, all the conferences that I go to, I like carrying a big bulk with me and anyone I see, I just love giving it out and kind of sharing the message that these are important concepts and let's build them together. So, you can find the link somewhere, but I could definitely send you the link and make sure that you have that available to you and your folks here.
[00:44:25.670] - Steve Morreale
Well done. Thank you so much for your time. And I do mean this has been a fascinating interview and discussion and chat that has gone in a whole bunch of different directions. I think what you do is you bring enthusiasm, bring knowledge, and you bring the message of importance of focusing on analytics, starting small, what you said, it can be a small agency. That's no excuse not to do it. You can share, which I think is great. And so, I think you've given a valuable set of recommendations to so many people.
[00:44:53.040] - Dawn Reeby
I appreciate you and I appreciate the work you do here on Cup Talk. I've actually shared your podcasts with multiple people, specific podcasts with specific people. I love the work that you do. I'm so glad that we connected. And shout out to Chief Sartell.
[00:45:04.730] - Steve Morreale
Yeah, good guy up there. And obviously he believes in it. And there's so many people listen, policing is changing, no question about this. So many people who are realizing we better shit to get off the pot. We've got to get involved. And so, starting small, like you said, can be very valuable. So, I do appreciate your help in spreading the word. I wish you the best of luck with the new book. Don Ribby in New Hampshire. This is Steve Morreale on the Cop Talk podcast. That is the end of yet another episode. I appreciate you listening. Stand by for more in the next few weeks.
[00:45:34.800] - Dawn Reeby
Thank you. Thank you so much. I appreciate you.
[00:45:38.310] - 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.