In this encore episode, we continued our chat with Superintendent Andy Lacey from the Garda, Ireland's National Police. Andy has been on a steering team to collaborate with several agencies in Ireland to create a pilot, placing clinicians in police vehicles in the City of Limerick to co-respond to mental health-related calls.
Working with the Health Service Executive (HSE) National Health Service, University of Limerick Medical School, University of Limerick School of Law,
We discussed the reforms being considered for the Garda.
Andy is back in Limerick and will travel back to the USA to William James Colege to attend and present the Co-Response Research Symposium sponsored by the Center for Crisis Response and Behavioral Heath at WJC.
Welcome to The CopDoc Podcast. This podcast explores police leadership issues and innovative ideas The CopDoc Podcast 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.
Well, hello, everybody. This is Steve Morreale again. And you're listening to The CopDoc Podcast. I'm here in Boston and I have the opportunity again to talk with Inspector Andrew Lacey, who is in the Emerald Isle in Ireland today. He is a member of the Garda An Garda Siochana. You know, I never say that right? You say it.
[00:00:48.300] - Andy Lacey
An Garda Siochana.
So thank you very much. So this is the second opportunity we have to talk with Andy because there's so much to talk about. And today we want to talk a bit about human rights and what things that you and he feel that is necessary to improve policing. But again, before we start, tell people about who you are, where you are, what you're doing.
Hey, Steve. Yeah. Good to talk to you again. And thanks again for having me on. I'm an inspector here in the Irish police and got a economy over 20 years based back in Limerick. Now, after spending time in different parts of the country, in Dublin and in training, I'm now I'm an inspector and a kind of a county division here in Limerick City in a county with approximately 80 police officers. And I'm number two in the chain of command in that area.
[00:01:35.640] - Andy Lacey
So, yeah, that's me. Yeah, that's me.
So what do you think about everything that's going on? And I understand that there is a new plan that was put together. There was a commission. Kathy O'Toole from the United States was the chair, and it was about the Future of Policing in Ireland. And there are a number of recommendations, much, much like the 21st century policing study that was done by and report that was done by President Obama. And some are aspirational, but what are the things that you're looking at you're working on to improve policing in Ireland?
Yeah, so the Future Commission of Policing report was kind of worked on over two years, kind of a root and branch. Look at our whole organization. What a committee with some expertize in different areas on it. So they came out and made a number of recommendations, such as identifying that human rights as the foundation of our policing look in our national security and the responsibilities we have, their complete overhaul of our accountability and oversight structure to make sure that there's more efficiency in that area and that it should be Gary Cordner should be structured to manage to support frontline policing.
That was a key, key aspect of it, that we got those people on the ground and got the adequate support for them and to recognize that the people within our organization are its greatest resource. And also it went beyond that and looked as it should be, information led, looked at innovation, technology and all the kind of additional add ons that we need to work on as an organization. So that was part of a kind of micro branches out of that.
And I suppose if you're asking me what are the most important aspects that's coming out of it, I suppose it's the one thing would be that kind of sharing the burden that's on members of the guard to see a corner. And we seem to be a kind of de facto responder for so many different types of societal issues and different things that society brings. So in fairness, one of the the recommendations that we need to have is multiagency approach. And I would have mentioned to earlier about the city team, but that's that's just one element of it, that all areas of policing should be able to recognize and cut off where we're not.
That should be the lead we should support, by all means. But there is times when local agencies and local governments, Danny, take the lead on different functions and responsibilities, and that can be a good thing.
So what are you involved in now that as an inspector? What are the things and what are the agencies that you're working with on a regular basis?
Well, outside of the division, I suppose from a national perspective, I said ISIS intervention team project that's being piloted here in Limerick is probably the big one. And it's come from a litany of different reports over nearly a decade where they've they've asked for this. The sort of mental health and policing needs a new focus that needs to be health led. At the moment. It's police orientated. They want to head towards a kind of diversion away from custodial detention and bring it to suitable care and have suitable support.
So essentially what we're doing is we're engaging with our local health executive here in in Limerick. But it'll be a national one when it's rolled out and we're devising a plan, what we call case and corresponds with health agencies. So effectively, we're hoping to design a project down here where our police officers will attend calls with health care professionals, with our psychiatric nurses, our mental health nurses are some sort of E.R. care that would go to the scene. But also on the background, what we're working on is what's called a support job.
So pretty much in a kind of a monthly or periodic time frame, we meet with all the various agencies, whether it's councils, it's addiction services, mental health services, homeless, all these different parties that have a role to play in that kind of, you know, the approach to mental health, dealing with persons suffering from mental health. Because when I talk to anyone about this, it's a. That just said, we're looking to improve the area, nobody's ever going to find that magic potion that will completely solve the problem of of dealing with persons and mental health.
It's about enhancing the service and identifying who is the right people and to make sure that it's led from a health perspective as opposed to a policing perspective once too many times shorter correlates with you guys and you're ahead of the game in terms of the city approach that those people and then often custodial settings are go through the criminal justice setting and process that don't need to be there and shouldn't be there. And it's about creating that kind of a project or the solution to that.
And it's also for the benefit of our officers as well, because these are the ones that are going to respond to calls and they need the extra skill set. So very much the training part of the goal goes with the additional skill sets, how to recognize some mental health ailments and also the skills and a follow up care that they're have the knowledge now to go and deal with that information sharing with the health care professionals, of course, which is so the beauty of this is that we're now getting to engage with so many different jurisdictions and Scotland, PSNI themselves in Framingham and Boston and different Toronto police.
And we're getting to all we're cherrypicking to a certain degree and trying to find the right mix for the Irish context, because every jurisdiction has its own existing system. So it's about building the pillars on top of that and by using best practice internationally. And we've linked up with the university limerick in terms of an academic partner, just to give us that integrity in terms of pre and post analysis and just keeping it in check in terms of is it really best practice and evidence led as we do it?
So that's the big one for me in order. Not what I see from an international perspective is human rights element and then getting that embedded in the organization. So we've actually . . .
[00:06:44.400] - Steve Morreale
Let me, let me interrupt you about that.
Let's go back for just a moment about the co-response. The CIT I'm very lucky. As as you know, and by the way, we're talking to Andrew Lacey, Inspector Andrew Lacey from The Garda, Ireland. And we're talking about issues in policing. But any you recall, we talked at some point in time and I introduced you to Sarah Abbott. Sarah Abbott is a professor and a clinician here in Massachusetts, and she has been a guest. And what happens in Framingham is the co-response that you're talking about puts a clinician in with a single police officer.
And most of our response cars are single police officers, not to police officers. How will that translate to you? Are most of your response cars? One or two person?
We will be to we are predominantly to commit to a little shift and not for obvious reasons, but yeah, we would be to. And the choice we're faced with from the Irish perspective is we're kind of at the threshold now of making some actual practical and operational decisions on the whole thing. So what we're looking to decide is, do we train up a small cohort of really specialized officers who will get, you know, a significant chunk of training a day will be deemed?
The experts in that area are no to do. We train a percentage of our entire division and we're kind of leaning towards the latter because we're looking for various reasons, because we don't want it to become elite or specialized or we want everyone to have a general training. But what we're looking at is maybe training 15 to 20 percent of our officers, which will be 600 wide for so 15, 20 percent of that across all units. And then on a kind of broader basis, they will be selected for duty on tomorrow night to be the core responder with our mental health or psychiatric nurse.
So that's that's what we're going to look like. We probably have two two officers in the Mental Health Commission know that mental condition will be based in the police station. And that's what we're really trying to achieve. And I know that's what you do. What the benefits you have in the states is you're kind of the ability to contract professionals in private practice. We probably will not be doing that because we're very much kind of knitted in with a national health executive like the national police force.
So we won't have that luxury of engaging third party expertize in terms of psychiatric. But that's the model we're looking at.
So is it possible that a response to a call that you believe is mental health-related would have three people showing up in a car or would it be the two and then somebody responding in their own vehicle potentially from the clinical side?
At the moment, I'd say one vehicle with the two on the one that the theory would be that that's that mental health nurse would be in the car. And like we discussed previously, what Sarah did have access to some sort of mobility device that would say, I'm not Mr Z's house. I can see that he's got a prior history that's fed into the operational officers. We're dealing with the scene. That mental health nurse might have an actual role to play at the scene themselves, but it's about informed decision making.
If we can see that that person was in two weeks ago instead of that person maybe ended up in a custodial setting or an arrest, can that person be led to an appointment next Tuesday with some appropriate supports that goes with it? So that's kind of the model that that's what we're after.
[00:09:43.170] - Steve Morreale
But one of the things, Andy, you said was a mobility device. And tell us about what that means.
Well, mobility devices does have an on scene technology that would enhance our Decision-Making for the officers there and better prepare them for what they're dealing with, sort of maybe some piece of information that normally we wouldn't have that. Says to and that's what mobility is all about, that's what technology is about policing, and we're very much in our infancy as a police organization in terms of mobility and technology. And, yes, we're kind of going in a positive direction in relation to traffic stops and all that, both in terms of actually unseen technology and cars with a bit to go when that's been recognized by the Future Commission of Policing.
And you touched on earlier the opportunity to go with the LAPD two years ago and a complement with someone like a Sergeant Clay with the LAPD, the 77th Precinct. And that was an amazing experience. Joy Clay was his name. Sorry, amazing experience for me to get to see that side of it especially was the biggest tape I had from it was that was the technology piece they had for body worn cameras that alone. But then even from a website point of view, what they put up on our website in terms of public sharing, the transparency of it, and I know they've had their issues over over the decades, and that's the reason for it to look at their oversight and the review process and using technology FERDOUS to pretty much have their own YouTube channel.
And they could amazingly give you a debrief on an incident that happened two days ago and showed you footage. Give it a radio call. This is a totally alien concept to us here in Ireland in terms of that side of us. Not that we're not progressive in certain areas, it's just that whole transparency thing in our I suppose our criminal justice model is a very common law. We're kind of a due process model. So even the whole media and reporting around crime and policing in Ireland is very much guarded compared to what we see in the States.
So we're kind of England and UK are kind of in the middle. You guys are well out there in terms of putting it all on show for everybody. And this is what's happening. We're a little bit more conservative on that point of view. And we let everything go through the courts. We let it run its course. We're conscious of prejudice in terms of trials and then afterwards it's kind of reported on.
So you've used the term human rights repeatedly and we don't use that term all that often in policing. Certainly, it's important, but we talk about constitutional rights. What does that mean to the Garda, human rights and to the people of Ireland?
Yeah, we're very much focused. And you have to bear in mind that Ireland, Ireland has its own constitution, first and foremost, and a very extensive one that's very deep in terms of the articles that came within. It's all arising out of our own constitution. We have a large number of rights that are associated with law, protection of the dwelling, the right to trial, all that you would see yourselves in your own constitution. But on top of that, then we have we have layers of legislation that give individuals rights that are victims rights, rights to crimes to be investigated properly.
There's a statutory layer. And then beyond that, again with the European Convention on Human Rights, which is kind of the the overseer of them all. So and there could be some overlap. So this is the kind of environment the Irish police officers work in, three different layers of statutes and policy and restrictions of rights that really feed into everything that we do. We have a decision-making model that will take all those considerations in. We have, as I said, of investigative steps we take in terms of arrest, detention, search, all that stuff is all human rights base.
Before we go do it, we got to factor in. We've got to make sure it's part of our decision making process. And there's also a significant redress system in the oversight complaints mechanism and the civil courts as well, that rights are very much in door. So we're extremely conscious of them and that's why it's flagged in the project. But we're very I would say very not we're not as one organization in relation to rights. We do we do know what goes where and in terms of learning and training, as you're aware, as touched on previously, we have a whole program in around the teaching of the linking in with universities and getting that extra critical engagement assessments around rights and the European perspective because.
Well, let's talk about real-time issues. That's covid in Ireland. And you know what we hear we're moving towards more vaccinations. I just got my second vaccination. And so there is some sort of relief, but there seems to be a little bit of a stutter step in Ireland and that you're still closed and have been for a long time. I'd like you to talk about the planning, the change in policy, the work that you as the police organization have had to do to deal with social distancing and masking and closure.
I understand the pubs are still closed, especially one of the comments that you sent me in an email was, I bet you'll have a better time on St Patrick's Day than we will. And I think that was probably because there was no way to celebrate. So talk about that.
Yeah, look, it's been a draining year on everyone in policing, I think has been right in the middle of it. So you I think you obviously put health care and nursing is the one that impacted the most severely. I think everyone's aware that. But I think policing is not too far away in terms of what we've had to do and what we have to do literally overnight. So difficulty in Ireland at the moment is we've got to within a number of false dawns.
Our vaccination program isn't quite as quick as you guys or even our neighbors in the UK are that much ahead of us. So now we're facing into prolonged lockdown. So no pubs, no retail schools only back this week. So that's when you're hearing that you're probably going, God, I remember that time. A month back, so that's where we're at. So from a policy perspective, we went from, I suppose, as you know, overnight into this world of restrictions and measures and all that, and we had to rely on legislation again, because we're a common law jurisdiction, we have to kind of wait for that to go through its process.
Or we might have had legislation last March or April. But in terms of enforceability, and this is the biggest issue that I've experienced and we've experienced is the enforceability issue of a tool, an expectation from the public that just needs to be done. And can I look into the police to make sure it's done? But actually, we're not having that actual enforceability here. So we're trying to do everything. As I said at the start, we like to police by consent.
That's the task. It's all about ID cards and explaining what it's got now because the fatigue factor is set in.
Over that period of time, people have kind of had enough and they want to see results. And that's all seven or eight months into the legislation being there and kind of where we don't really want to use it. It's there now. We're at a stage where enforceability is happening, as happened last, are looking for returns and the stats are pretty much showing it's there.
And the difficulty we face now is that we give the public and the government, give the public kind of an end game deadline. And now it looks like that work that's going to be prolonged again. But I think that that's a big thing, is that the public not understanding the foreseeability type of social distancing while we didn't have powers there, it's conveying that to the public, to dos and don'ts. And we go back to human rights. We're very conscious that we don't want to overstep or trample on rights of individuals by overstepping American.
Would we call out for that then on the other side? So it's really difficult. It's a balancing act. The law and the legislation and this goes beyond call needs to be end user design. And I really am a big believer in that. And we're only starting to see quite recently where law reform commissions are looking now to maybe speak to police officers, engage them and ask, well, what's it going to look like when it's actually at that stage where you need to implement law or make decisions as opposed to enacting and then seen over a period of time that has problems with this and it ain't working.
So that's that's been a big one. Look, we're going to look back in years to come and say that the wrongs and the right side of it. But it's been difficult. But that communication piece of unenforceability and what our actual role is and to be part of the effort, but not see too much why we're letting people live within the constraints of regulations as well.
So I presume that you're having conversations with your patrol officers, with your entire staff to talk about so that they understand how to be reasonable through this and yet meet the mandate to react to calls and such. What kinds of discussions have you had about that? And I call them roll calls, but before people roll out.
Yeah, we do a lot of online briefings with our supervisory sergents is kind of a weekly basis at the start. Funny enough, it was daily. It was changing so fast. We had daily interactions with them. And because we were feeding the information coming from a national perspective and statutory instruments, which are changes in law and policies that were coming down and that we'd workplace changes that were massively significant as well. And single occupancy, I can see of cars or DEA systems, health and safety in around our DEA environments we worked in.
And all that stuff just happened so much. And then when it actually did hit and funny enough to the second wave was the one that really impacted. And I was just a Christmas terror leader with a 50 to 60 percent wipe out at one stage over a two to three- week period and trying to say,
[00:18:11.540] - Steve Morreale
What does that mean?
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVcovid sickness, actually getting the virus are close contact, whatever. So we have 50 to 60 percent wipe out an hour in a particular part of the district, which which means implementation of contingency plans and looking to get resources from elsewhere. And all I can tell them from a day to day basis to a man and woman, there were there were outstanding in terms of holidays were banned. We went to 12 hour shifts from 10 hour shifts overnight and everyone roll up their sleeves and get on with it.
So a lot of good things will come out or two. From an operational point of view, we're hoping to keep that 12 hour roster. But even the technological advancements we did in that time and as I touched on earlier, the communication pieces was quite good from an organizational perspective. So it was a tough year.
There will be learnings and hopefully by June will be would be somewhere back functioning.
You just said something about no retail. What does that mean? Not all shops are closed. OK, they're closed. Yeah, only collectors. What about food stuff. Food places. Oh yeah.
For food stuff for exception. Yeah. That's only what retail clothes and normal shops. Unless it's essential. There are, there are still clothes we've got, we've got the five kilometer still in force. We can't go outside of five kilometers unless you have a reasonable excuse for can't travel beyond five.
Yep. I didn't realize that and that's interesting. So. And you're telling me every pub in Ireland is closed and it's not open through the back door until you believe it or not.
That's ehere we are. We where we do funny. And often we have a loophole last week about takeaway pints, takeaway pints of beer are still, would you believe, but all sorts of interpretation around that. If it's consumed within one hundred yards, you can be prosecuted. So you work it out, Steve.
So there's got to be somebody there's got to be somebody there that has drawn lines to say I'm a hundred and one and there's nothing you can do that's actually right.
[00:19:59.780] - Andy Lacey
Don't you know it, don't you know it.
So let's let's talk about Officer Wellness, talked about city, but let's talk about the impact of what your officers and officers see and the cumulative effect and what the Garda is doing to address that
Very good question. And we already kind of touched on vicarioVeryus trauma that goes with it. But like that operation and occupational stress, one of your interviewees talk about occupational stress. That's interesting. I do find it interesting because that's part of the problem is that administrative loads and all the new stuff is coming. But I know your questions on what we see in the traumatic events so far and are quite frequent. And we live in an area that's kind of rural in nature.
So we're prone to bad injury or fatal accidents and sadly suicides as a problem. And all, of course, risks with policing and trauma. So you know what you can do? We have a peer of a peer support for myself, my own superintendents, a peer support, or that's like a one on one individual kind of call and touch base with an individual after a particular incident. And then we have a referral system to an employee insistence officer who's probably one of the most overworked individuals in our division in terms of dealing with incidents and personal situations that are there to moments beyond that.
We from an organizational perspective, we made some progress in the last couple of years where they got a twenty four hour counseling service, private service stood up so that there is some sort of a referral. It's not complete open ended just to pick up a phone call, but there is a service there that someone can be referred to and get a number of sessions and that's covered by medical insurance and goes with it. So baby steps. But there's so much more we can do because it's a problem.
Obviously, that will be time. Morial for policing, but it's a tough one. I don't think I've ever spoken before about as well as we kind of had a cop culture. We kind of had a negativity around the connotations, the cop culture, and we use use as a way of coping mechanism and stuff. And it's kind of been attacked over time, rightly so, in terms of some of the negative areas that could be associated with bullying, harassment and all that.
And I get that. But there's also an element of that you'd like to enshrine a bit more and you'd be fearful that it might disappear. And that's kind of camaraderie, ship and togetherness that we would see in kind of extreme situations. We're faced with adversity. And I had it here in the Limerick division when we're faced with that kind of feuding gangs and and a group of cohorts of detectives like over a period of time just went above and beyond.
But it was purely down to just determination, the kind of protection around each other and just the drive and all that went with that was really positive. And you probably saw it with your 9/11 experience as well. And to be a little part of me that would fear that we're losing that and professionalization of specialization and all this reform is kind of a little bit of a wedge in there. And just it would be something that I think it goes hand in hand with wellness.
And while you think you might be doing the right thing all the time, you know, this is a little kind of part of policing that we should try and protect more and we shouldn't lose it. And it's something that we should respect and realize how important that is to us as as police forces and our profession.
Well, you're one of the things that you were talking about, I don't want to glance over, but is those those are organizational stressors. When we're not communicated with when somebody is saying one thing and doing another. It is very frustrating because I think the men and women wear blue in Ireland and here are generally well intentioned. They want to help. They want to help people, but they don't want to be left out.
So communication becomes important. We've talked about that.
Let's wind down, Andy, on this segment. Let me ask you a couple of questions. You have just finished reading and writing and researching, and pretty soon you will defend your dissertation, hopefully to a positive manner. And we'll welcome you into the academic side of things or the doctoral side. But now what books do you seek out to what do you focus on if you have a chance to read something? What do you focus on?
I like I like my autobiographies, my sports performance, sports psychology. And so I'm very much interested in that area history as well, like my my Irish history in particular. And looking back to those times and individuals during that time and what policies and different changes, rew drove on individuals and change within Irish society of big history. Our big interest in that and history in general, I find myself getting lost in programs there on TV as well. It's a big win for me and sadly, I'll finish by saying of text.
I do still have an inkling towards law and and jurisprudence and decisions of the courts and how that impacts the stuff. So that's that's me in a nutshell. Not overly exciting, Steve, but that's my interest in the books area. Need to do some more reading. I think this is hopefully behind me. It might free up some time for leisurely reading about hobby. I'll be back to sport again. I've been coaching nonstop for the last twelve years.
Funny enough, I did all around. I started with seniors and colleges and now I'm back down under six. So I don't know what the theory behind it was, but I might go back the other way again. I go up and go down.
[00:24:46.300] - Steve Morreale But what what are you coaching?
Rugby and Gaelic football. So you might have seen a bit of that. So it's Gaelic sport or those to rugby union and Gaelic football. So fifteen a side sports, plenty of physicality and plenty hits and skill levels.
[00:24:59.460] - Steve Morreale
But for you, still playing.
Small bit, small bit. Junior B, it's called over here, it's like to be kind of a gladiatorial, taking your life into your own hands type of level. Yeah, it's time to pack it in.
[00:25:12.550] - Steve Morreale
Where do you get your news? My news?
I'm a I'm a Twitter guy, generally. Twitter I've gone on Facebook and ask those ones just to say too much. I think it's gone down the wrong direction. Twitter is going down that direction. But just about I hang in there for kind of a sports perspective and actually policing itself to some good guys to follow there and and pages. But that's just generally a journey.
So the last question is about podcasts. You're listening to the podcast, The CopDoc Podcast. We've talked about it. What do you get from hearing what's going on here in the United States when you're listening to this particular podcast and then what other podcasts
I've listened to all, I think all ten you've aired now. I've listened to all ten and every one of them. I have notes taken down and I've really picked up so much as much as the terminology language, but also the experiences. And as I said previously, the correlation between police forces is incredible, even though you have so many differences over there, when the people side of it and the leadership and management side of it, it's it all overlaps and you hear the same things. And that's not a criticism of the podcast.
It just shows what's important and what's important comes out, all of us. You're my number one, Steve, your number one podcast. Listen, at the moment, I've got two or three others and I kind of go back harping the sport again. But you have a criminal one here in Ireland as well. That's a bit of a guilty pleasure, one gangland kind of stuff. And this is the story of the Krays and the kind of different stories around the world.
But it's it's a good lesson when you're out for a jog or listen or learning, see if everything is all help and the overall progress and molding the future, as they say. So all good.
That's great. So we're winding down. You've been listening to Inspector Andrew Lacey from the Garda in the Republic of Ireland in the Emerald Isle. And this is Steve Morreale. You've been listening to The CopDoc Podcast. I'd ask you to listen to other episodes coming up. Thank you very much for listening and have a great.
Thanks for listening to The CopDoc Podcast with Dr. Steve Morreale. Steve is a retired law enforcement practitioner and manager turned academic and scholar from Worcester State University. Please tune in to The CopDoc Podcast for regular episodes of interviews with thought leaders in policing.
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That's The CopDoc Podcast at Gmail dot com. Check out our website at CopDoc Podcast. Dotcom com. Please take the time to share podcasts podcast with your friend if you find value in the discussions. We've had so many amazing guests and more to come who have shared their wisdom, their thoughts, their viewpoints in their innovative ideas. Most importantly, a huge thank you to those of you who show up for work in policing every day, not knowing the kinds of calls that you'll be sent on or the kinds of situations you'll find yourself in, you risk your lives for people, many of whom you don't know.
[00:28:23.950] - Steve Outro
And for that, we owe you a debt of gratitude. A big thanks. Hope you stay safe, healthy and look forward to hearing from you and hope you'll continue to listen to upcoming episodes of The CopDoc Podcast.
Thanks very much.