The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

Policing with Purpose: Captain Bill Walsh on Leadership, Innovation, and the Journey to Excellence

January 31, 2024 Captain Bill Walsh Season 5 Episode 121
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
Policing with Purpose: Captain Bill Walsh on Leadership, Innovation, and the Journey to Excellence
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Season 5 - Episode 121

Imagine feeling the weight of a family legacy on your shoulders as you step into a career safeguarding your community. That's the journey Captain Bill Walsh of the Voorhees Police Department shares with us, offering an unvarnished look at his path from a young police dispatcher to a vanguard of law enforcement innovation. Throughout our conversation, we talk about the complexities of policing in the shadows of Philadelphia, unveiling the department's edge with advanced resources and the criticality of community bonds for law enforcement success.

Education has been a transformative force, and Bill  Walsh is a testament to this, tracing his evolution from a college dropout to an ardent believer in academic rigor within the police force. This episode peels back the layers on how evidence-based policing can reshape careers, presenting Captain Walsh's own narrative of embracing leadership literature, earning advanced degrees, and advocating for comprehensive officer wellness programs. His reflections on the mentorship that shaped his career underscore the profound impact of nurturing leadership within the ranks.

As we talk about mental health and the integration of policing and academia, Bill highlights the often-unseen challenges faced by those behind the badge. The necessity for internal procedural justice, embracing open-mindedness, and adapting training to the adult learner model is just the tip of the iceberg. 

We also explore the symbiotic relationship between criminal justice education and practical policing, paving the way for a future where academic insights are harmoniously woven into the fabric of law enforcement operations. Join us for this compelling exploration of leadership, mentorship, and the relentless pursuit of excellence in the field of policing.

Contact us: copdoc.podcast@gmail.com

Website: www.copdocpodcast.com

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 stephen.morreale@gmail.com

Intro:

Welcome to The Cop Doc Podcast. This podcast explores police leadership issues and innovative ideas. The cop doc shares thoughts and ideas as he talks with leaders in policing communities, academia and other government agencies. And now please join Dr Steve Morreale an d industry thought leaders as they share their insights and experience on the cop doc podcast.

Steve Morreale:

Well, hello everybody. This is Steve Morreale and we're starting another episode of The CopD oc Podcast. I'm here in Boston today and I am headed down to New Jersey, near the shore, actually near Philadelphia, but we've got Bill Walsh and he is a captain with the Voorhees Police Department in New Jersey, just adjacent to the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Bill, good morning.

Bill Walsh:

Morning Steve. Thanks for having me on the podcast. I have been a listener for a while, so happy to be here.

Steve Morreale:

I'm glad I followed you. You're not a shrinking violet. You're not afraid to say what you're thinking. You're not afraid to say what you're doing. You're very active in your police department with social media. You've been active in with the leads program. Now you're a national police institute fellow. There's so many things that you have done, so many, so many, so many areas you have become involved in because you've raised your hand. You're curious, I presume, but let's start by talking about your department. Remember, people are listening worldwide. They're sort of just placed where you are, near Philadelphia. But talk about Voorhees, where it is what it's near, how big it is. Your job, your role as a captain.

Bill Walsh:

Absolutely so, y eah, I'm a captain overseeing the operations division, which includes the patrol bureau and the criminal investigations bureau. So our patrol function and our detective function, Our department's made up of about 54 sworn officers. I believe we have, at this point, about 15 special police officers who protect our schools and provide assistance with some other tasks. We are, as you said, right outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We're in Camden County. Most people are probably familiar with the city of Camden. That's the county seat. Here in Camden County we have a vast array of even though we'd be considered, I'd say, smaller or mid-sized, compared to some other agencies in the United States. We have a vast array of resources available in our agency. We have a drone unit, we have a SWAT team, we have a crime scene investigation, firearms field training, holistic health and wellness program, peer support team. So there's lots of different avenues for officers at our agency to pursue.

Steve Morreale:

Well being in the shadow of Philadelphia. I presume that's a tough city and it's a great city. But it's a tough city. You have spillover effect.

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, of course we have some transit stations right in town, at bus stops and things like that as well. So we have the PATCO High Speed Line and we also have the New Jersey Transit Regional Rail between Atlantic City and Philadelphia. Both have stops either in or near our town within walking distance. There's one train station right in our town and there's one literally a stone's throw away, so we do get a lot of spillover from Camden City and from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as well, coming through our town and our community.

Steve Morreale:

Great, t alk about your journey. You've been at this for a long, long time. You come from a family of policing, so tell us about yourself.

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, so I remember being a little kid. Just, you know my dad's a police, always retired now. He retired as a chief of police in a town called Delmar, which is about 15 minutes from where I work now in Voorhees. He had been on the job for, I think, 45 years when he retired. He was chief for almost 23 of those years. So growing up as a kid of a police officer, you know I always looked up to and idolized him and all his coworkers. You know I remember back in the day they would come in at shift change. They would pick each other up. You know the officer coming off duty would come pick him up because he was going on duty and then he dropped that officer off at his house. So I'd get to go out and play with the lights and sirens and things like that if they weren't too busy or, yeah, we'd go out on a little bit of a ride around the block. Sometimes it was awesome. So I always remember being a kid, you know, looking up to my dad. My uncle's also a police chief in a different town he's in Somerdale. He heard in their stories just kind of seeing the impact they had on the community, seeing the impact my dad had on the community. When we go to events in town whether it be the Fourth of July parade or whether it be something at the reparation center or the tree lighting ceremony or something like that Even church on Sundays people would be coming up and talking with him or asking him questions or thanking him for things, and that left the lasting impact on me. You know, I decided in high school that I wanted to get more involved civically and I became a junior firefighter and a junior member of the Emelde squad because they didn't have a police explorer program yet. And then a police explorer program started, became an explorer, but I also came a part-time police dispatcher and that was a learning opportunity that I would never trade in for anything. I dispatch from the ages 16 until 20.

Steve Morreale:

Whoa, whoa, whoa. You were a dispatcher at 16?. Yeah, crazy, right, yeah, so you're in high school and you're coming to dispatch police calls.

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, so I would get done at part-time. I would literally get done Gloucester Catholic High School. I'd go to the police station and then I would change from my Gloucester Catholic uniform into my police dispatch uniform. Dispatch the 311 shift to the 412 shift.

Steve Morreale:

That's a busy shift.

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, absolutely. You learn a lot about triaging, multitasking, calming people down, de-escalation before it was really a buzzword. When they're on the phone with you with a 911 call, typically they're pretty amped up and they're pretty excitable and it's something where you have to calm them down and try to get the details out so you get a good dispatch out to your officers.

Steve Morreale:

It's really amazing and talk about a preparatory for your police career coming forward. So then what happened? How long did you go back to school? Did you finish school, did you go to college? And then when did you get on PD?

Bill Walsh:

Continued after I graduated from Gloucester Catholic but I took a job as a full-time dispatcher. Actually it was his township where I work now and I worked a midnight shift. But I went to Rutgers-Camden so I'd go, I'd work 11p to 7a dispatching and then I would drive right to Rutgers-Camden campus. I'd be in class till about one o'clock in the afternoon for my undergraduate.

Steve Morreale:

Half asleep, I'm sure. Oh yeah, half asleep for sure, yeah, a couple times I've had to do that too.

Bill Walsh:

Yes, coffee wasn't a thing for me either back then, and I think fortunately we didn't have any of these energy drinks yet back then either. So I would do that and it was kind of the grind, you know. I'd go home and sleep and then I would go back to work, but I think it kept me out of trouble, which is a good thing as well, you know that. And having a bunch of officers in the town I grew up in a town my dad was a chief in, so everybody was kind of watching me.

Steve Morreale:

Well, you had the Voorhees guys looking at you and the Belmar, so you really couldn't sway too far from the middle right.

Bill Walsh:

No doubt, no doubt. So I took the exam for the Cherry Hill Police Department. As I said earlier, my career ambition has always been to be a police officer. Cherry Hill is a very big department comparatively have had about 130, 140 officers. So I took the exam almost as practice, because I think back then it's not like it is now. We had like 2,500 people. I think that the test yeah, I was fortunate I was one of the group of the first three that was hired off that 2,500 people examination became an officer of a Cherry Hill PD. So I started the. I got hired in 2003, started the police academy, just turned 20 years old Before you know it. I was in the field training program and right there after the FTO program I was working 311 chef permanent, just Keep them busy. You know calls were pretty much stacked up as soon as you got out of roll call. How long did you last there? I was there for about four and a half years and then what for he's? I left for he's. I really felt like something was missing. You know there was a connection there. It truly did feel like a family to me in a sense. I did grow up with a lot of those people, if you think about it, really started this passion that there, at least when I was 17 People from the department or my high school graduation party and everything else and came to my academy graduation. So it was truly a family environment and I love the town. I live here. I'm so you know. I took the civil service exam. I did well and I was hired back in 2008 as a police officer here. So I left charry hill in 08 and came back to where he's, where I considered to be my home.

Steve Morreale:

What keeps the PD busy?

Bill Walsh:

I would say we do unfortunately do have a lot of domestic violence in our community. We also have, as most agencies are experiencing, kind of a noticeable uptake with retail theft. We had a lot of traffic in our community so we have a lot of campuses in town, office complexes, medical offices and things like that educational institutions. So our daytime traffic, our population at daytime really spikes up. We do get a lot of car crashes because of that. Everything else is kind of what you'd expect in the suburban community as far as some issues with drugs and issues with Property crimes and things like that. Fortunately we're blessed we don't have a significant violent crime problem, but that can pop up anywhere based off anything. I mean, that's something that's very unpredictable at times.

Steve Morreale:

Of course mental health calls.

Bill Walsh:

Oh yeah, mental health calls people experiencing homelessness, people with experiencing substance use disorders and things like that. We do have a lot of mental health group homes in town, so we do respond to calls for service at those from time to time as well.

Steve Morreale:

Okay so now you've got operations and Yet you're finding time to teach on the side. You're finding time to engage. You were a lead scholar, which drew me to your writing on LinkedIn and listening to you with our colleague, jerry Ratcliffe on reducing crime, that podcast. And Tell me how you were drawn to do these things on the outside and explore as you are sure, I've always been.

Bill Walsh:

It's funny, when I was in school I did not like school, and when I was in school I did not like reading. And then when I finally finished high school I don't know what happened, but at some point this thing kind of this switch flip. You know, I had to take a hiatus from college when it became a police officer. Just I mentioned that was working three to 11 shift and we did have a lot of forced overtime back then. So I kind of took a hiatus and ended up going back to Fairleigh Dickinson University where they had more of a program there's more amicable for my schedules a police officer than the traditional university. So there were in-person classes, there were some online stuff kind of a hybrid thing before it became a thing and you already started getting into reading about leadership, public administration and those things. But also I was reading books about the profession of law enforcement, and one that always stands out to me and I was fortunate and blessed recently to have spoken with Bill Bratton in person and be able to share the story with him and his wife Ricky that his book turnaround really inspired me to start going back towards education and to recognize the importance of higher education, to recognize the importance of networking, to recognize the importance of finding a mentor to mentoring someone else. How vital those things were that book led me down to. I started reading Jack Maples book the crime fighter, which Jack Maples obviously was one of the architects of Comstad and he worked with Bill Bratton. And then we also had right here in Philadelphia, oh, timonnie. Yes, I read Timonnie's book, john Timonnie. He was a commissioner across the river here in Philadelphia. He was mentioned several times in Bratton's book, before you know it. I started going out as a rabbit hole of books about police leadership and, oh wait, this guy was mentioned in that book or that woman Was mentioned in this book. Let me go over here.

Steve Morreale:

It all fits in, doesn't it?

Bill Walsh:

It all fits in. So, you know, they started learning about the great work Perf was doing and the great work the National Institute of Justice and National Policing Institute, which back then was the police foundation and that was talked about it pretty extensively in Bratton's book. So I started really going down that rabbit hole and thinking, wow, this is, this is some really great information. And then, before you know it, I found myself. You know, I had my master's degree in administrative science, which is great. I learned a lot from it. I developed a capstone project there on police suicides we can talk about if you'd like at some point. But as I finished that, I continued working as a police officer and started ascending the ranks. I became a sergeant in 14 and then a lieutenant in 16. I realized there was something missing and this is something where, if you're a listener and you are considering a career in law enforcement, I unfortunately even though I had people who should have given me different advice, probably I followed the advice it's so often given to people interested in criminal justice Don't get a good degree in criminal justice. I hear that so many times, unfortunately. I've said that to people before and I kind of had this realization of? Why are we telling people that we should not be telling people that we should say, yes, that's your trade and that's your passion. That's when you what you want to do. Go to school for criminal justice. Like I said, I went for public administration. So I found myself in 2016 looking for something else right? So I attended Temple University, had a graduate certificate, police leadership program, beer, headed by Dr Jerry Ratcliffe, dr Jenwood I worked with her. She was my capstone advisor. She was fantastic. Just know the joys was one of the instructors I mean all these like powerhouses. We had commissioner Ramsey come in and guest lecture our group. We all had five or six in the class, I mean. So it was just this incredible experience. I was introduced to the concept of evidence-based policing, which prior to that, I had no idea what it was. I did a project on our Instituting a holistic officer health and wellness program at our agency, which eventually we did. You know, we out of that capstone project we implemented at the department. But I just met so many thought leaders. I heard so many different perspectives. I was able to kind of see things not just from the lens where I work at right now and that kind of led to Conversations about hey, there's a program called the National Institute of Justice, law enforcement, advancing data and science scholars program. You should look into that. You might want to consider joining the American society for evidence-based policing. Hey, you might want to consider maybe researching these things that you're working on. So, before you know it, I have a PhD student from temple helping me do a pre and post research at our community police academy See if we're truly changing perspectives of people who are involved in that program, to see where we need to have. Maybe there's some knowledge gaps we need to work on. I'm joining the American society for evidence-based policing. I'm applying for the lead scholars program and then it kind of just I start doing subject matter expert work for national policing institute on several projects and peer reviewing federal grants for the department of justice and I think I kind of started falling into place with all this stuff. I recently graduated from Cambridge University's evidence-based policing leadership course, which was an eye-opening and enjoyable experience. It was online, it was. It was really well done, really put together a lot of a lot of information, and now I'm trying to push that out to everyone else and make kind of everyone a champion for that concept To do a more smart policing, data-driven policing and kind of seeing the value of that and how, what we measure those things and we look at those things. We can improve them or we can cut things out. We don't need to do and it's just a smarter way to do in business, honestly All right.

Steve Morreale:

You can't tell me there aren't some cops who are working for you saying bill, cut the shit. Thrust stop throwing these new ideas at us. What the hell, stop going places. It's very admirable for you to do. When we talk about leadership and Setting a vision and engaging others and you said mentoring, find a mentor. I believe find a mentor and be a mentor is a really important job for people in your position. But how do you overcome that resistance? How do you explain why? What's in it for me?

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, I think people probably cringe when I come back from conferences.

Steve Morreale:

That's what I mean, because you got no ideas yeah absolutely.

Bill Walsh:

It's really kind of just remembering and I talk about this all the time the officers I work with are probably sitting here in this but we talk about transparency all the time what we're talking about our public, right. We don't really do a great job of talking about that when we're talking about internally, right. So really kind of bringing officers into the mix and our professionals to have into the mix of, hey, this is what the science says, but let me put it in our jargon, but let me try and remove it from this academic jargon that most people can't understand. Let me try and translate it into police jargon so you have a better idea of it, and I kind of just incorporating into things we're putting out there, without being so like overt or making them read a 16 page thing or attaching a research paper to it. We need to do a directive patrol in a particular location because we're experiencing a problem or anticipating a possible issue. There's two lines in there about the effects of a directive patrol having most impact. When you're there for 10 to 15 minutes, you know what you should be doing while you're on the directive patrol. Just a little blurb that I'll put in the email getting feedback from the officers themselves. Hey, this is what I heard at this conference I went to. I read about an agency that's doing this. What are your thoughts on this? What could be obstacles for us here at the agency if we try to implement something similar? Would it work here? Oftentimes just having that conversation which goes to another kind of drum I beat often is not just internal transparency but internal procedural justice. So we talk about procedural justice with our interactions with the public often, but how can we apply that concept also to the conversations we're having within our organizations? You know, how do we make our employees feel like they have a voice? How do we explain, whatever interaction it is or whatever policy we're putting into place, what the science is behind it, what the why and the purpose is behind it, and then allowing our officers to realize, and our professionals to have to realize, that we have altruistic motives of what we're doing. So I remember being a newer cop, you know, I guess said I'm a second generation cop. I pretty much was raised to look at the sergeant as as if I'm getting an order directly from God. Right, and not to question that. I don't know that that's correct, right? We saw so much of that, especially over the last few years, where sometimes that that's not a sign of a healthy organization, right, sometimes it is good for people to feel comfortable enough to ask a question in a way that's not in support or disrespectful, but maybe just to get a better grasp of the why behind it. Like our school, we do school radar posts. Well, what's the why behind that? Why are we so visible when school starts? Because we're trying to make the people feel safe, right, we're trying to make parents feel safe when their kids are getting dropped off.

Steve Morreale:

Well, you know, I'm hearing some of the stuff that you're saying. It goes back to cynics work, what's your why, but what's the why? And explaining the why and so much resistance comes from the top-down mentality which I know you've experienced in the past, where somebody will say do it, and never explains why with our own kids. If we take the time to explain why, then maybe we want. I mean, believe me, it's the first question they ask why, why, why, why? Well, cops do the same thing.

Bill Walsh:

Answer it when you can and you can't say because I said so like you do with your kids at home.

Steve Morreale:

Unfortunately, that's not an option.

Bill Walsh:

I didn't teach that in a leadership class.

Steve Morreale:

Agreed. I think what you're talking about is about understanding and accepting other perspectives and you know, the idea is that you set I use the term that we as leaders should be planting seeds and you're gonna have to throw a lot of seeds because not all of them germinate. But in order to throw the seeds you've got to water them, you've got to fertilize them and some of the fertilizing in an organization is asking what you think. But I also heard you say some things that you may be doing on purpose or inadvertently, that you're leading through questions. You're challenging people's intellect curiosity. By the way, we're talking to bill walch. He is a captain with the war, he's police department and very active with NIJ, with the national police institute, a teacher at Rutgers, camden and and so many other things that he's involved in. You're leading through questions, number one. But I also know that we hire people, we train them, supposedly pick the top rule that has applied, and then very often what we have done systematically is to tell them to shut up, do what they're told and do their job and don't tell us anything right, which is a big mistake because we're underutilizing the care and intellect of the organization's personnel, the key ingredient.

Bill Walsh:

Absolutely, and we really have to get out as a profession of this cookie cutter mentality. And I teach a class for field training officers and one of the slides I have is a picture of an academy class and then a picture next to a cookie cutter a gingerbread cookie and I say, why do we continue to do this? You know, we hire people that come into our interviews. They have these great personalities, they have this amazing life experience that they bring to the table. They're passionate and altruistic about joining and they want to be part of something bigger than themselves, being and acting the same way. And that's really that's not who we hired and I think we really need to figure out a way to. And this is where rigidity is not a good trait to have. As a law enforcement leader and I'll admit, there was times where I was incredibly rigid on things were finally to the point now. Or, like you said, I ask questions, I look at other people's perspectives, I question is this really the best way to do things? And I was never. Early on in my career I didn't think that way, and now I'm glad that I do it, I'm glad I had this awakening. Is this the best methodology for us to train our officers. You know, and there was times I was highly critical of academies that weren't very paramilitary, and now I'm kind of seeing that that's was faulty thinking on my part. We really need to look at the adult learner. There's a time and a place for a bootcamp mentality to make sure that these individuals are coming into our ranks, are able to tolerate people on the street yelling and screaming and getting their face and things like that. But also we can't sacrifice learning. Are they truly learning? I remember being a rookie or recruit rather, I dreaded going to PT because I mean, I felt like it was just they were braiding you for an hour and a half. So by the end of the academy I had no interest in working out because basically, the experience has ruined for me. So how do we find a way to make things like that more team oriented, more a team based approach, something where you're truly impacting that individual? So when they come out of the academy, they're going to going to want to continue learning, they're going to want to continue working on their fitness, they're going to want to continue working out with their classmates and then coming out and unfortunately, I remember. I remember time when I was a brand new cop. I just got out of the academy, I'm in the field training program and I'm speaking very robotically to a suspect because for the last three months or whatever it was 23 weeks I was speaking like a robot because that's how I was programmed at the academy and there was a senior officer, a canine handler from the agency I started with and he pulled me aside. He goes what the heck are you doing?

Steve Morreale:

I said try and get a question. I bet it wouldn't be what the heck, but that's a good one.

Bill Walsh:

I totally policed that up.

Steve Morreale:

Yes.

Bill Walsh:

He said all you're doing is making it obvious to this guy that you're brand new. You get more beans with honey than you do with vinegar. Drop the robotic attitude. Drop the service. Give me your pay, give me this document. Where's your license? That blah, blah, blah. He said go and have a conversation with him. So the next interaction I had, I tried that approach. I tried dropping all the academy, sir ma'ams and the military bearing and just having conversations with individuals. And that led me to one point not too long after graduating from the field training program, I have a prisoner of the vaccine in my car who I just arrested. I'm driving back to the police administration building for processing and I'm having a conversation with him like that one older cop talked with me about when I was a rookie and you know I'm asking how are you in the backseat right now? Like what's going on? You know you seem like a nice guy. What's going on with it? What drives you? What's your why? Essentially is what I was asking him. He talked about his daughter, who he hadn't seen in years because of his addiction, and it was something where obviously I struck a chord with him and I had a conversation. I'm like listen, you know, maybe this is your turning point. Maybe this is the time for you to turn around and to get your life in order and go see your daughter again. Doesn't always have to be this way. So we probably have conversations like that as cops all the time, right, we never really get to see the outcome of the conversations or what happens. And I remember, I guess not too long after that, probably a year or so after that, I'm sitting in a parking lot at one of our shopping centers, over 38. I'm typing a report up on my MDT, my local data computer, and a gentleman and a woman come walking up to my car and I'm figured they're asking me for directions or they're going to tell me somebody broke into their car while they were shopping, or something like that. And he said I saw you and you looked familiar and it was your name, officer Walsh. I said yes, it is, he goes. Do you remember me? I said no, I'm sorry, I don't know. I interact with a lot of people. I'm really bad with names, you know, but how can I help you? What was the interaction we had before? I hope it was a good one. He goes. Well, you're resting me? Oh my God, sorry to hear that. And he goes. No, but it was a good one. He said do you remember talking with a guy in your backseat about wanting to see his daughter again, about his addiction? All I said, yeah, I do, I remember. Now he goes this is my daughter. Oh yeah, and it was this moment and she was just being with Pride and her father and he was just so happy I didn't know what to say. You know, I was. I was choked up and that was one instance where I got to see an outcome, or return on investment, if you will how, when we talk, treat people.

Steve Morreale:

Humanizing and being yeah, being compassionate, and wow, Bill, that's a great story. It's got me tingles because these are the things that we want to accomplish. We're really intending. Police are there to help. I know we've got a very dirty job sometimes and you have to take people in and that's not an easy thing. If they don't want, resistance comes and all that kind of stuff. It very, very, very important. So humanizing is very, very important. Thank you for sharing that story.

Bill Walsh:

I think it's important we share stories like that with our officers to so they recognize that there's there's going to be aha moments and we have to really look for them.

Steve Morreale:

Well, and these are the stories we should be telling the public, and using social media to our advantage to tell the good stories, at least to change some of the narrative that is so negative against policing. It strikes me that we are not very reflective. You probably are as a leader, but we as police. As we come up, we're not taught to think about what we could have done differently, how we handled something, what did we learn from that? And certainly the European model does exactly that and we don't. That doesn't mean we can't do it in American policing. But how do you drive that with the people who work for you? So you're a captain, you must have lieutenants and sergeants working for you. You regularly have meetings and sit-downs, one-on-ones, command staff. Let's talk about that. You talk a mile a minute, which I love. I understand it from here, but.

Bill Walsh:

I always get that. Oh my God, I'm from the Northeast.

Steve Morreale:

I'm sorry, I know, I know, I know we have a lot to say in a little time. So we're talking to Bill Walsh and he is a captain in Voorhees, New Jersey, and we're talking about leadership and his approaches. How would you answer that question, Bill?

Bill Walsh:

I would say that you have to recognize the individual right and I think, as I mentioned earlier with the whole analogy of a cookie cutter, we can't have that mindset. So you're supervisors in your organization, you're leaders, whether it be formal or informal. They bring with them unique skill sets. They bring with them strengths and weaknesses, just like we all have, and really capitalizing on those strengths, I think, is where the sweet spot is for leadership. I have some supervisors in my agency who I know are really passionate and outstanding when it comes to training. I know I have other officers that are incredibly passionate about proactive policing, going out and making an impact on the streets. There's other officers who are thought leaders and who see the value in changing the dynamic and see that the organization has to evolve or will become extinct. So it's really focusing in on those strengths, capitalizing on them and building those strengths up and then encouraging those leaders in the organization, informal or formal, to trickle that down to other officers or other professional staff in their agency to build them up based on their strengths. So when I see an officer's strengths, I always try to implore them to teach those strengths to others right, and that's how the organization really evolves. I know there's always the thing out there how people learn things. I know if you teach something, the percentage is incredibly high that you're going to retain that information. So I'm a true believer in teaching being one of the best methodologies to develop yourself. So, yeah, when I have officers in to my office or I meet them out on the street, sometimes I go out right around because I still like to remind myself that I am a police officer. I will stop cars when things occur in my presence. I feel like I have the obligation to deal with those things still. So I try to still be out in the field. But having those conversations after we clear the call or after we clear the stop with the officers hey, what do you think about this? Or hey, how's that case? All working out out here on the road and just really kind of hitting roll calls, speaking with them, knowing about their families, asking questions about how their kids are doing, being involved, recognizing that they're a human first, they're not just an employee of your organization. I think that's important and I've had really great supervisors who have showed me how important that is in terms of leadership capabilities and competencies, and I've had really poor supervisors who have also showed me how important that is right to have that knowledge and be able to have that conversation and to show care and compassion and to recognize your humanity as a police officer. You know the story I told earlier that we talked about how that really showed humanity. Oftentimes, again, we work on that facing out, but we oftentimes don't work on that facing inward. I always challenge recruits at the police academy You're all going to walk out of here, you're going to have your brotherhood and sisterhood t-shirts on and things like that, and you're going to be all amped up and you're going to put bumper stickers on your car and loving the job and not get it. I love it, but it's more than that. It's more than just a slogan. You know you really have to take care of one another and not just when they're calling for backup on the radio. Whatever it is. If you say that they're different, we see there's something going on with them. It's more than just a radio call backup.

Steve Morreale:

I agree with that and I think, having been through it and having been a manager, leader and talking to people who become one dimensional, this is the best job. Screw my family, their assholes Everybody's an asshole, right as the old bit and their stuff right, and that's not true. And what I have to take the time to remind them is look, I'm not getting involved in your marriage or the way you get along with your wife, but I want to tell you this that you just got to remember, when this job goes, not a lot of people are going to remember you.

Bill Walsh:

No.

Steve Morreale:

And family is very important. So and I want to say this bill I remember listening to a police officer from a major city at a training that I did. He said something that sort of stunted me and he said you know, steve, what you're talking about is so important and I find myself giving 100% to the job and the best that my family gets are crumb.

Intro:

Yeah.

Steve Morreale:

I mean, that was one of those statements that I didn't expect from this really rough and tumble, really capable police sergeant. And he said I realized that I'd better bring back more than crumbs at the end of my shift, because my family is important. And you talk about wellness. You talk about suicide. You've explored suicide, you've done some research on that? Talk about that and how important it is to realize that you have to be a whole person, not just the cop.

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, boundaries are huge, you know, and unfortunately, the officers who I've helped over the years with their personal battles, they've always been our rock star police officers. There are people like you. You said they're dedicated to the job. They bring crumbs home, but the job gets everything out of them. And fortunately, the Pareto principle is a true thing. Right, 80% gives you 20% and 80% of their work to organizations and that is true. And burnout's a real thing. Going for my degree in clinical mental health counseling right now and there isn't a semester that goes by that we don't talk about how to not become burnout, how to not become they called impaired and how to take another clinician offline If you notice that they're impaired because they're not going to be helping, they're going to be doing harm to their clients or their patients. And as I've gone through that program, been doing research on police suicides since 2009, I had two friends who died at their own hands by suicide within less than three weeks of one another, yeah, when. I called my uncle. He was from a department right next door to the town my dad worked in. It was at all my parties growing up as a kid and he wasn't my blood uncle, but he was more than an uncle sometimes. And then also one of my former coworkers, cheryl Peady, within the same period, within a few weeks, also took his own life by suicide.

Steve Morreale:

Well, if I can comment for a moment. I've got the benefit of seeing you on camera, even though this is an audio podcast, but I can see that the box that you keep this stuff in just open. And I know that it happens to me too, because I've lost plenty of people in my life to suicide. You wonder why? For sure, and most of them were law enforcement officers, and I just watched that. And I think that's so important because we have a tendency to put things in boxes and it leaks out at some rare times when you don't expect it. It certainly happens to me, but, you know, talk about that a little bit, because I'm thinking compassion fatigue. You know there are things that police officers see that they can never unsee. They are called we are, they are we in my past, but they're called on to see things that most people watch on TV. But you're there and you're, you're dealing with the pain and the suffering, the blood and all of those kinds of things. We have to pay attention to wellness before it turns to suicide. You're sort of straddling two important boxes that are important to the well-being of our officers so they can do the job, and I didn't mean to go off on a rant there, but I'm just watching what's happening, and so some of your emotions just leaked out when you talked about your colleagues.

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, absolutely. It's a back, reflecting on some of the memories I have. In the degree program from clinical mental health counseling. We talk about all these things that can happen. It reminded me of a case law right and privacy and security of a judge's chambers. That's what came to my mind as they're teaching me this in clinical mental health counseling school. I'm thinking of the privacy, the comfort and the safety of a therapy room. So they're talking about all these things that can bleed over and get on to you as the therapist and how you need to process those things and how you need to take good care of yourself and how you can't take care of others if you're not taking care of yourself. And they keep reinforcing throughout this program you can't be a good therapist unless you're in therapy yourself. So I sit here and I think why aren't we sending the same exact message out to our cops, based off of just what you said, not even just our cops, but our crime scene technicians and our professional staff? Why aren't we sending this message to them as well? Because what was interesting to me and I wrote a paper on this, on officer involved shootings. I put this in there as a point that was kind of struck me was exposure to trauma is in the diagnostic and statistical manual DSM five, which is what clinicians use to diagnose people with mental health disorders. Exposure to trauma is a triggering thing for almost every single mental health disorder. That's in there. And I'm laughing about it, not because it's funny, I'm laughing about it because it's right in front of us. Like why are we not?

Steve Morreale:

doing it. It should be so obvious, exactly, exactly, it should be so blatantly obvious, so instituting our agency.

Bill Walsh:

we have our annual wellness visits with our police psychologists, for every officer in our department automatically goes and sees the police psychologist.

Steve Morreale:

That's a requirement, now Requirement. I hear that some agency I want to talk about that, because very few of the people I talk to do that we talk about a checkup from the neck up as a requirement. So when did that happen? How did that happen?

Bill Walsh:

And how is that going? Cool, we're in things like that. The station officers take it seriously. It came out of the strategic plan I developed, was a temple university brought that strategic plan to my agency head chief, lou Bordy, and we were able to actually adopt the program. We got great buy-in. I was expecting a lot of kickback and all from our unions and things like that. These are horror stories you always hear when you're trying to put something new in. Oh, what about the unions? Often time I think that's overdramatic size and what we did was what I spoke to earlier. We were openly transparent with it, with our cops. This is not a gotcha. This is not an evaluation. You're not taking any tests. There's no record come out of this that's going to impact you in any way. All we get is a letter it says you went and really the purpose behind it for at least our program is erasing some of the mystery and some of maybe the adversarialness of a cop sitting with a clinician and just to put them in the room together, just to realize that it doesn't have to be a fitness for duty exam, it doesn't have to be a pre-employment exam, it doesn't have to be responsive to an officer involved shooting or some kind of traumatic incident. It can literally just be you having a conversation about you as a human being. The other point to that, too, is having that comfortability and having that relationship established Pre-crisis, pre-crisis. It's incredibly important, whether it be something they experience on the job or whether it be something they experience in their personal lives. They have our police psychologist, Dr Jen Kelly. They have her cell phone number. I mean they can reach out to her directly. The agency doesn't even need to get involved. So part of it was shrouding some of the mystery and hopefully eradicating some of that stigma behind officer seeking mental health treatment and also enabling them to directly communicate with the police psychologists. We had family seminars where our psychologists came in and spoke to our officers and significant others. We had childcare at our police station for the events. We had food there for the events. Literally, we didn't want to create stress. Well, when you put food, in.

Steve Morreale:

you know that that brings people in right. I want to interrupt you because sometimes what you're doing is almost an emotion dump and I think that can be very value. You know what's going on, what are the things you did, but I will say and I'm sure this is your experience it's got to be the right person, and what I mean by that, and for the listeners, is it has to be someone who understands policing, because the first hour, the first couple of sessions, shouldn't be explaining what you have to do as a police officer. Would you agree with that?

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean there's one example in a book on officer involved shootings where it speaks to I think it was Dr L Encouragement. Actually on our books it talks about how an officer went in after an officer involved shooting and the clinician referred to the suspect as the victim and that immediately killed. The relationship between the therapeutic alliance between the officer and the clinician was ruined and instantaneous.

Steve Morreale:

Listen to you. The therapeutic alliance.

Bill Walsh:

I guess. So Bashing into my brain Writing too many papers yeah, no Words matter. Cultural competency is more than just something you put on your LinkedIn or your resume. It is something where the officer should have an opportunity to meet these people as well before you sign on the dotted line with them as your clinician. It needs to be that your cops, your frontline people, would be comfortable in talking with them and that they're not going to be somebody you're going to utilize later on for fitness or duties or anything like that. There has to be a clear delineation between those two things as being completely separate, one being risk management, one being wellness.

Steve Morreale:

So we're talking to Bill Walsh and what I'm hearing from him and I hope you are is that he's a lifelong learner, he's a thought leader and a change agent in a lot of ways. Been talking about suicide and I didn't mean to cut that off and suicide and wellness and such. But let's go back to that and your assessment of maybe not why it happens, but that it happens quite regularly, and what can be done to watch for signals, to try to intercede beforehand.

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, so I mean, unfortunately it does happen regularly and I would say our profession has turned a corner and pretty rapidly considering how much of a lift this is, but we've turned a corner and that we're actually recognizing that this is a problem.

Steve Morreale:

But I'll also say we're also acknowledging that it happened. We're not calling it how many times in your career was it so? And so died while cleaning their weapon. We were embarrassed to say that it was a suicide.

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, you look at some of these line of duty death notifications and things like that and you'd read them and like that just sounds off and nobody really wanted to say it, because there are going to be instances where that truly does happen, where it truly is an accident. There are also going to be instances where they're not. So seeing departments actually publicizing that we had this officer who was a great member of our community who took his own life and here's the phone number for mental health services and post-traumatic stress is a real thing, and using his opportunity to educate our public it's huge and we educated our public at our citizen police academy on police stress and suicides and they were blown away by it. But to answer your question, how do we stop it? If you look at the risk factors for suicides, I think that's your starting point. If you're a police leader, you should have a good understanding and a grasp on what are the factors that make a person at risk for suicide. Unfortunately, one of them is access to lethal means. So we automatically we all check that box because we all have a firearm and I think almost all agencies in our country officer can bring the firearm home with them. Another common thread we see there is recent use of a substance, so alcohol or narcotics or things like that are in the system of the person who died by suicide. So, recognizing that we need to just not treat the symptoms, we need to treat the root cause right. It's public health essentially. So oftentimes I'll see officers who are struggling and the union's first move or the agency's first move is let's send them off to rehab, right, and at times, yeah, that's absolutely what's needed and at times that is important or at times that might be one of the things that is needed. It might be a part of the treatment plan for that individual. But is it truly always and keyword always, because sometimes it does is it truly always addressing the root cause of that? Is it the officer using a substance to escape reality? Is the officer utilizing that substance to numb the pain of something? It might not even be from the job. A lot of the officers I work with through peer support or just through informal coaching, what they experience is they are in control when they are at work and when they show up on a job, no matter how chaotic it is, they're in charge and they run things and they can get, they can bring order to chaos within 15 minutes and move to the next job. When it's their personal lives, it's not that easy, right, and so they feel like they're out of control. So I mean that's an area there where I think the focusing in on the health and wellness of the officer's family and the unique stressors that family members are under because of what their loved ones go through every day, or the not knowing if they're going to have a knock at the door in the middle of the night with somebody who's not there their significant other, giving them really bad news all these things spill over. And then you have an officer who's had a 12 hour shift, which I don't want to go off in a tiring there. But 12 hour shifts are great, compressed schedules are great because you get more time off, but I can tell you right now, it burns you out. Oh my God, I remember working, working night shifts, and by that third night, four o'clock in the morning, you're toast. You get a bit, get a major incident at five or six o'clock in the morning. You know good luck. But I think all these things kind of factor in and if we're not looking at again the officer as a human being first, all right, and looking at that officer holistically and trying to design things that recognize the stressors, we're putting our cops under and our professional staff under, exposing them to trauma and having some kind of psycho educational, preventative resiliency type of programming like wellness visits, like being able to work out things like that, take care of their health, encourage them to go to their family physicians to get checkups, encourage them to put as much thought into picking a family physician as they do in any other major life decision. And including the family in the conversation I think are important. But also important is recognizing we have critical incidents that our officers respond to, getting them in front of somebody to talk about it, whether they just receive some psycho education and they don't feel comfortable sharing, that's fine. The psychological first aid model is evidence based. There's some other models that are out there that are being utilized. Unfortunately, they're not evidence based. Evidence based models like the psychological first aid model hey, you've been involved in a traumatic incident, sometimes just telling the officers and the dispatchers or wherever else has been involved, hey, you've been involved in something traumatic. That just affirms for them okay, yeah, I have been. It's okay for me to recognize that. These are some common symptoms people experience after being involved in a traumatic incident. Here's some ways to take care of yourself. Here's some ways to look out for warning signs, not just in you, but in your fellow officers, your fellow dispatchers your coworkers. And then here are the resources available and here are the confidentiality protections afforded to those resources and here's how to access those resources.

Steve Morreale:

Well, you've said a mouthful and obviously the experience that you're gaining in your present master's program, counsel, are you one of the only peace officers or law enforcement officers in there?

Bill Walsh:

No, actually there have been a few, just kind of, I've noticed yeah, you do your introductory things with the classes and things there's been several people who are either current law enforcement or retired from law enforcement or in some way shape or form maybe in the professional staff of law enforcement, and a lot of people from the military as well. My wife always says you all find each other, like, no matter where you're at, you all find each other. And it's the same way. Whether I'm on vacation or whether I'm in a college class, we all tend to find one another. Well, there's no question.

Steve Morreale:

Well, we're constantly looking for commonalities and that's what brings us together, and certainly understanding differences is an important thing. One of the things that I am seeing arise in the number of people who are gravitating towards social work and in a lot of ways it's exactly what policing is is social work without a credential. You're looking for that credential. So I wanna go back. We're talking again to Bill Walts and he is in Voorhees, new Jersey, today and he is active in research. I wanna talk a little bit about evidence-based policing and how that's driven through the organization. How do you modify someone to say I talked to Larry Sherman a while ago and he was talking about avoiding opinion-based policing and moving towards evidence-based policing not having somebody from who is not a professional police officer weighing in on what we should be doing and having some operational independence. And sometimes that's hard to do in the United States because we're small organizations. We've got elected officials, all of the kinds of things that you deal with, but in terms of evidence-based policing, where do you see it going? Why is it such a high hurdle for organizations to understand it and give it a try?

Bill Walsh:

I think a lot of it comes down to this unfortunate adversarial relationship between policing and academia and I think if we can kind of get a handle on how to better deal with that divide that we experience, I think we might be able to put some of these things into practice a little bit more. So how do we do that? And it kind of goes back to a point I made earlier about encouraging people who are interested in becoming law enforcement professionals to actually go through criminal justice degree programs, but also the practitioners, the academics who are teaching those programs, are developing the curriculum or developing the actual program, whether it be undergraduate or advanced degree program. Having in mind to how would this benefit people who are actually in the field as practitioners? And how can we make this information that's from these journals that are peer reviewed and that explains all the processes? And there's a lot of academics out there who get this and who do it really well. But how can we make this more operational rather than just worrying about how many citations I've gotten or how many publications I have? And a lot of that isn't the fault of the actual professor, a lot of that is the fault of the administration of the university. So there we can see a parallel right Between law enforcement and academia. You'll hear officers oftentimes say it's not the public, it's the administration. I think that's a commonality that we can explore with policing and with academia. Is that relationship between the administration and the people who are actually out in the field doing it, including professors in the academic setting. So how do we do that? So there's really great professors that I work with frequently, and especially through my blessing of being in the lead scholars program. But like Jerry Ratcliffe is amazing. I mean he goes out and does ride-alongs. He posts about it. Oscar one video he did was amazing. You have people like Renee Mitchell who are really moving the needle in this space. You have I work with Jane Gollup a lot down at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She's doing some great work in partnering with law enforcement agencies. Janice O'Wama she's a fellow lead scholar. She's at American University. Her and I are working on a project right now for our peer support team along with Dr Kelly. So there's people out there who really want to get involved in the space. It's just a matter of connecting them. So there's, I guess we kind of own it right. So our group chat for the lead scholars is called the nerd herd, right. So our, that's what it's called. So I think there's more nerd cops out there than you might realize and I think it's really trying to tap into them as a resource. And a lot of the students I have at the university too Rutgers University they really want to get involved in our mission, but they don't necessarily want to put on a gun belt and get in a cruiser, right, but they really want to help us with crime and disorder and with lowering risk of anything that going on in the public, but maybe they just don't want to get in a patrol car. So how do we capitalize on that? How do we have these people who want to support our mission, who want to do good work, but they don't necessarily feel that they're cut out and they just don't want to be a patrol cop?

Steve Morreale:

Well, if I can interrupt you what I'm finding, and I'm sure you're finding it too, but as a full timer. Now, right, a second career academic. When I first walked in in 06, I would say 50% of the students want to be cops. That may be a 20, 25% now that they still want to be involved but not necessarily be in uniform. So I hear you with that. Yes.

Bill Walsh:

I think it's part of the recruiting retention and crisis that we're under right now. I mean, we're seeing it, every department's experiencing it. I think civilianization might be something that you just need to explore a little more thoughtfully, whereas there's some areas where we could have civilians, force mobile suppliers for our organizations to help us with our mission. So I think that that is important. But getting back to the research thing, I mean just being able to work with researchers. Have them who are culturally exam just like the clinician right. They're culturally confident to deal with your cops. Whenever I try to bring a researcher into the mix with policing, one of the things I'm doing is I'm open source intelligence gathering right, so I'm seeing what they're supposed on social media.

Steve Morreale:

We're vetting everybody. I understand, I understand.

Bill Walsh:

What they're publishing. You know what. They have a slant one way or the other, or are they truly objective in their research? What we want, we have to be objective in our police reports and should be the same standard for them.

Steve Morreale:

I love what you're saying and I think you're moving the needle and I say over and over again I'm very impressed with the leads program and the scholars that come out of it and I understand that it's both practitioners and scholars, academics generally, that are working together and you do find yourselves. And I think the big deal is that when we're writing for talking with two hats on right Former cop, now an academic when we're writing for the academic world, it can be very dense. There's an awful lot of stuff and that translational becomes extremely important. Who's gonna translate it? Who's gonna take this 18 or 20 page report, which is synthesized as it is, to put it into a one or two page so that police can read it, police can understand it and police can try it out and then hang their hat on saying we're doing this because the research says this?

Bill Walsh:

Exactly With the line of work that we're in. Unfortunately, I think this is an area where research is gonna kind of meet us in the middle on this, and a lot of the ones that I've worked with and a lot of ones I'm familiar with do when they get it. But we can't always have a perfectly designed experiment In policing. It's sometimes, yes, we can do it and there's great examples of it out there, but other times it's just not feasible for us to do a perfectly designed randomized control trial, as much as we would love to, or to have a sample size that you know my agency's 54 office people are looking to try and get published. That sample size of the end's not huge there. So I mean, really, are you looking for impact? If you look at the programs that are out there that all the chiefs have designed over the years, like Comstab, for instance, or Broken Windows policing was one. Obviously people discuss that differently now. Problem oriented policing, all these different strategies originated somewhere and if you look at all these really successful policing strategies, one of the common threads you'll see is there was some kind of academic research component to those to make sure that they were doing what they're supposed to do or causing harm, and we're making matters worse.

Steve Morreale:

So, bill Walch, I'm a brand new promoted lieutenant and I'm gonna work for you and you're gonna have a counseling session or a conversation with me. What do you say? How do you open that conversation? What are the questions that you ask? How do you help me understand, steve? You're no longer a sergeant near now, or a lieutenant.

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, I mean that's one of the biggest challenges that jump, I think, into administration from frontline supervision. And frontline supervision is also challenging, right? Because when you're the sergeant you kind of have one foot in the admin world and you have one foot in the street cop world and that's lieutenant, it's like all right, I need you to pull both those feet out, unless you're like a street watch commander, I need you to pull both those feet out and come right into the admin world. And it is difficult. Like I said, my dad's a retired chief of police and when I first got promoted into the command staff sure, this freak with my coworkers, but he said, just remember, it's lonely at the top I didn't really realize that until I actually witnessed it and experienced it. Just like when people say your kids grow up so fast, well, watch out. Until you actually live it, you don't realize how true that statement is. And it is lonely at the top. But it doesn't have to be lonely in a sad way. Or it's only at the top that you have to be able to have boundaries, just like we talked about, with our family life and our work life. There has to be healthy boundaries there. Do I go to department events, off duty, like you know, functions and things like that. Yeah, I do, but I don't stay the whole time. I make an appearance, I talk with people, I hang out for a little bit, I would drink or two, eat some food and then I'm on my way.

Steve Morreale:

I call that plausible deniability. I don't want to see what this party is in three hours from now.

Bill Walsh:

Tell the newer supervisors too, like sometimes they just believe it or not. It's good, it's healthy for them to vent about whatever it is going on with the organization, and we expect our supervisors to champion the organization and to shut things down and the troll rumors and things like that. But sometimes these officers just need to get it off their chest. The other thing is, too, whether you agree with it or not, you're carrying the message. So if there's a policy that comes down that you don't agree with, there's a time to discuss that before that policy is issued and for us to iron out differences or to discuss it and debate it. But once that policy is going out, you have to do it as if you wrote it and you published it yourself, and sometimes that can be challenging. We saw a lot in the state of New Jersey, especially over the last few years, with mandatory training programs and things like that, especially in the wake of George Floyd's murder, and you'll see a lot of kickback on another training. I gotta do this, I gotta do that. When am I gonna have the time to do this? And I get it because, guess what? You know, I had to go to these trainings too. There was work not getting done, but hey, deliver. That message is important, right? So, talking with our officers, hey listen, this is gonna put us above the gold standard for this. Or if people are gonna come and ask if we're doing X, y and Z, we can say, yeah, we are, and we have been for a while. We take this seriously and it'll help If we ever do have a high publicized incident in our community. We could show that we have been doing the things we're supposed to be doing and to prepare our officers and to prepare you as best as we can, to keep you out of situations like that as best as we're able.

Steve Morreale:

Well, I think part of what your job is, too, is to develop bench depth and develop others to replace you in the future, and that it sounds to me like you're in an organization, or striving for an organization, that is in a constant state of willingness to improve their statement.

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, learning organizations are something every police agency should aspire to become. We should always be preparing the person to take our job, and that's something no matter what rank, no matter what position you are in the organization you should be part of your work. That should consist of how am I preparing the next person? And with the goal of as a father of two, I want my kids to do better than I did, and I try to push that into my mindset. Now, obviously, there's a lot going on in the world and sometimes it's I'd like to be more thoughtful with it, but I try to be mindful of that when I'm at work, that I want these officers to take something, hopefully for me, but to do better than I did, to exceed whatever I accomplished here in my career. And truly, if you want to talk about legacy, I mean that's the greatest legacy of all. When I talked to new field training officers, I tell them that the vision statements a long term period, right, emission statements, more operational vision statements, more extended out as to where the ship is heading, essentially, and field training officers have the greatest impact on that. All right, because they are truly molding a police officer right out of the academy that's gonna go in the direction, whatever that direction is, for the next 30, 25, 30 years of their career. So it's really important for our field training officers, for our field training supervisors, but for everybody, to mold that next generation of officers up and to recognize that, yeah, policing was different when I started in 2003. Good, bad or indifferent, it was different. We can't be overly nostalgic and reminiscent about those times and often I find myself doing this myself. Sometimes man was so much easier back when I started. Or this is BS, or that is BS because all we're doing is creating this cycle. Right Of now. Everyone's like, oh, this job's not the same anymore. Why am I even gonna try? It kind of becomes like a self-defeating attitude. It's very difficult sometimes to pull yourself out of that as a leader. Sometimes you just jump into the complaining session. Cops are pretty good at that. Yeah, we are.

Steve Morreale:

Unless you're busy. We're complaining. I understand that right.

Bill Walsh:

That's one of the things I try to part on our supervisors and our formal and informal editors that hey, sometimes maybe a big better just go out in your car and ride around for a little bit and just leave the gossip session.

Steve Morreale:

Well, it's not surprising to me that Bill Walsh was awarded one of the 40 under 40 by the International Association Chiefs of Police, because you're a very bright guy, very innovative guy, and I appreciate chatting with you. As we get ready to wind down, a couple of parting questions. What are you looking to accomplish as you come into, maybe the last quarter of your career? Do you want to accomplish?

Bill Walsh:

My advice to everybody I meet, especially people who are coming into this space as criminal justice professionals, is leave everything better than you found it, no matter what that is. When I teach the emergency vehicle operations course down at the academy, I'll tell them when those patrol cars go back to your agency at the end of this week. I expect those patrol cars to be in better condition than you got them in when you picked them up one day. I try to apply that to everything I do. Obviously, I am not always without fault, just like every other human being, but I try to aspire to that in everything that I do. I always try to leave things better. There have been assignments I've had where they weren't maybe the sexiest of units or maybe it was the most exhilarating portion of my career, but I always tried to own it and to make it better and I hope that as I wind down my career here I'll have 25 years and actually two years, believe it or not. It doesn't mean I'm definitely gonna leave, but I mean it's nice to know it's there. I just hope that I've brought people up through the ranks and have trained people to do better than I could ever possibly do, and that they recognize how important this job is. It is still the noblest profession on earth as far as I'm concerned, even when I do retire from this job. I hope to remain active in law enforcement in some way, shape or form, whether it be advising or counseling or consulting, training, training. But it is a noblest profession. That's out there. I absolutely love being a police officer. I still feel alive when I go out and do some car stops or I go out and back people up on calls for service. If you're a leader, I recommend you do that once in a while. I think sometimes it's therapeutic for me, honestly, but it helps you remain connected with your front line.

Steve Morreale:

Yeah, keeps your finger on the pulse. Absolutely Right if you're doing it. I got you A last question for you, bill Walt. If you had an opportunity to talk to someone here or who has passed that you have not had an opportunity to pick their brain, who might that be?

Bill Walsh:

I would probably love to have a sit down conversation with Bill Bratton. As I mentioned earlier, his book really inspired the trajectory, I think my career and my academic pursuits have taken, so I really like to just have a conversation with him and I've already thanked him in person for it. But it really elaborate on the impact that his work had on me and the great things he did as chief and so many different organizations I mean the Los Angeles Police Department, you know he's a big guy.

Steve Morreale:

He was a Boston guy when we started. I've known him for many years.

Bill Walsh:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think that would be probably the person I would like to talk with about policing, at least for sure.

Steve Morreale:

That's terrific. Well, we had the pleasure of talking to Bill Walsh, change agent, a forward thinking captain for the Voorhees Police Department, so thank you for listening. That's the last of our episode, Bill. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Bill Walsh:

Come on. Thank you, Steve. I really appreciate the opportunity and it was great chatting with you, and thanks for all the work you're doing to further the education base and the knowledge base of law enforcement officers and professionals around the world.

Steve Morreale:

I appreciate it, so stand by for another episode. Thanks for listening. Steve Morialli from Boston, you've been listening to the Cop Doc Podcast.

Intro:

Thanks for listening to the Cop Doc Podcast with Dr Steve Morialli. Steve is a retired law enforcement practitioner and manager, turned academic and scholar from Worcester State University. Please tune into The Cop Doc Podcast for regular episodes of interviews with thought leaders in policing.

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