A chat with Dr. Karen Amenola, Chief Behavioral Scientist with the National Police Foundation. We talk about Action Research, police wellness, and safety, community policing. We discuss the many issues that are being considered in conducting research for police agencies. Topics include shift work and mental health.
A chat with Dr. Karen Amenola, Chief Behavioral Scientist with the National Police Foundation. We talk about Action Research, police wellness, and safety, community policing. We discuss the many issues that are being considered in conducting research for police agencies. Topics include shift work and mental health.
[00:29] - Steve Morreale
Hello, everybody. This is Steve Morreale from Boston and you're listening to The CopDoc Podcast today. We have the pleasure of talking to Dr. Karen Amendola, and she is the Chief Behavioral Research Scientist. And she works for the Police Foundation, the National Police Foundation. And we're talking to her today to talk about research, what she's doing and what the police foundation is doing and what the research is being used for. So, Karen, to get started, please introduce yourself to the audience and let us know about how you got involved in police research and now with the National Police Foundation.
[01:08] - Karen Amendola
Sure. Thanks so much, Steve. Again, my name is Karen Amendola and I'm the chief behavioral scientist with the National Police Foundation, formerly known as Police Foundation. We have been in existence since 1970 and I have worked at the foundation for now, just around twenty-five years. My career has spanned the range of functions from technical assistance and training and assessments to now research where I've been working for the last 15 years and my current. The National Police Foundation's mission is to improve policing through science and innovation.
[01:48] - Karen Amendola
And we do that through a number of unique initiatives and through various aspects of our mission, some of which include officers safety, health and wellness, reducing violence and reducing gun violence, and anything that deals with police role in community working in aspects of community policing, community engagement, and a whole range of issues that meet at the intersection of police and community.
[02:22] - Steve Morreale
So would you say that what you're attempting to do is to coin a new phrase, some action research, research that is potentially actionable, that that bears down on the practice of policing but can benefit police?
[02:38] - Karen Amendola
Steve, that's an excellent characterization and I'm glad you brought that up. The traditional sort of set of research traits are we start over again. So this is an excellent question that you're raising, Steve, in policing. The research standard has been much like it is across many industries, which is research has done over many years, and it takes a long time to develop research questions, implement them, evaluate them, et cetera. However, we are working these days to bridge the time gap in getting that information to the field.
[03:17] - Karen Amendola
So I think you raise a great question in that, yes, we have always been focused on addressing the questions that are most important to the police and police leaders and then how to get those answered in a systematic way that is rigorous and can help us to answer the questions in a research and empirical fashion. However, we still continue to do traditional research that sometimes takes two or three or four years. But we complement that now with various forms of research that are on shorter time frame.
[03:59] - Steve Morreale
We complement that with shorter-term research that is more actionable and that allows us to answer intermediate questions in a shorter time frame. And so we get the answers out to the field.
[04:12] - Steve Morreale
So as a foundation and as a research or think tank, where are you as a group getting the ideas to identify the needs? Is it from you, the researchers who know everything and I say that tongue in cheek, or do you have a group of people who are saying these are the issues that we need answers to? That is a great question.
[04:37] - Karen Amendola
I would say it's a blend of things I'd like to say. It always comes from the field and really it's rooted in everything that's happening in the field. So the questions can come from law enforcement leaders. They may come from outside think tanks and other organizations that are addressing policy sensitive questions and community. Some of the questions come from community about the role of the police in their community, but also some of our scientists have expertise areas. So for me, I focused a lot on officer safety, health and wellness.
I also focus a bit on eyewitness identification and some other peripheral issues related to performance of police. So each of us often generate our own ideas, but those are not done in a vacuum. We're not sitting in an ivory tower kind of formulating these questions or looking at what's happening in the field, what other research shows and where the burning questions are that are facing communities.
[05:39] - Steve Morreale
Well, we see a change in the attempt for people to ask for evidence based policing. Right. And so where is the evidence in us as researchers ourselves? I think we're always trying to figure out, well, where's the evidence? What does the data show us? And so in terms of evidence base, I think the nagging question for me is that the police foundation has a number of people who are in large police departments, and yet most police departments are small.
[06:09] - Steve Morreale
How do we get police chiefs to recognize the value of of research and to make decisions based on data and research?
[06:21] - Karen Amendola
That's a great question, Steve, I think as we have advanced in the field over the last decade or so, there has been a greater attention paid to smaller agencies because there are so many of them. Where the difficulty comes in is getting enough participants in research to be able to answer questions mathematically. So in other words, in one small department, there might only be eight officers.
[06:48] - Karen Amendola
And so that's not enough robustness to give us some answers to questions. So many scientists are now looking across multiple smaller agencies, combining the research designs that way. But by and large, we can also learn some of the lessons we can take, some of the lessons that we've learned from larger agencies and really apply those in smaller agencies where the context is not as important as the issue that's being addressed. So, for example, initiatives that deal with health, safety and wellness exist, whether you're in a small agency or a large agency, whereas issues about community trust, et cetera, may vary substantially from agency to agency.
[07:31] - Karen Amendola
So are there are things that we've learned in broader research with medium and large-size agencies that will absolutely apply to the smaller agencies? The other question that you sort of alluded to but didn't ask directly was this issue of evidence, what is evidence? And you talk about evidence-based policing, as Larry Sherman coined the term through an Ideas in American Policing lecture at the Police Foundation about 15 years ago. And it's a really interesting question. I'm actually looking into that more these days because what counts as evidence varies substantially across the disciplines and the standards of evidence vary across organization that develop these standards.
[08:18] - Karen Amendola
Right. So what and many of the evidentiary standards are based on the type of research study it is. So if you do a randomized control experiment that this is more of a gold standard, however, there are poorly run, randomized controlled trials and there are very well-run qualitative studies. So we have to think more about the quality as opposed to just the design features of research, because this is where we can get additional information about some of these smaller agencies.
[08:52] - Karen Amendola
They may not participate in large-scale randomized trials, but they may have qualitative research done in those agencies that provides a lot of information that can then feed the research questions going forward. So I think this issue of evidence is it's a hard one to grapple with because evidence to one might not be evidence to another. It's not the same as court evidentiary standards. Right. There's a quite a bit different. And so I think you've really raised some of the most important questions as we talk about what what do we tell people about what research is showing us?
[09:30] - Karen Amendola
And not surprisingly, many of the research studies out there that are very rigorous and look at evaluation designs or use evaluation designs to look at broad questions, often don't result in very robust findings and things that are hugely different. But sometimes we find things that are somewhat promising. There's existing promising research in the areas of procedural justice and de escalation, for example, right now. And just recently, a study done in Louisville showed some benefits to de-escalate in training and tactics.
[10:07] - Karen Amendola
But all of this, again, relates to your question about evidence and how do we apply this evidence and where do we get it from? And then can it be applied across the whole range of police agencies out there?
[10:19] - Steve Morreale
I think police have a tendency to look for best practices. And and that does not necessarily mean that that's weighted, you know, best practices. What are you doing next door? Let's adapt it and let's adopt it. And that's not necessarily the easiest way.
[10:34] - Steve Morreale
But how do you synthesize what can be very dense material when we're writing for scholarly articles? And how do we how do we synthesize that so that police chiefs and police lieutenants can understand it and gain some ideas to try to put in practice in their agency?
[10:56] - Karen Amendola
Another excellent question, Steve. So you're really speaking to the question of translation. How do we translate these highly mathematical terms and statistical techniques into really clear and actionable findings? And I think the answer to that comes in organizations like ours where our primary goal is not. Publishing and peer reviewed journals, as it will be for many academic scientists, but actually getting that academic science to the field in a way that makes sense and is meaningful. And so in some ways that you can do that is you presented to various people from the field.
[11:35] - Karen Amendola
We have a range of fellows that work with us. Some are police chiefs, some are mid-level managers. We also have a policing fellows that are officer level or sergeant level. If we work with them, we bounce the the findings off of them and then we ask them what we need to do to clarify that in a way that makes sense for police agencies and also to contextualize it, because sometimes the academic science misses the contextual issues in policing. So I think that translation process is not that simple, but it's essential because if the science is going to matter to the field, we have to be able to translate it.
[12:15] - Karen Amendola
What's more is that many there's not that many organizations that are out there translating it. And therefore we find that practices are often 10 or 15 years behind what the science actually does. I've learned this a little bit in the work I've done on eyewitness identification standards have changed over time. Knowledge has changed and it's continually and now rapidly changing in the area of eyewitness identification. For example, much of the former science suggested that if somebody is confident in making their identification, that that has no bearing on the accuracy.
[12:52] - Karen Amendola
But we now have growing evidence that shows that highly confident witnesses tend to be far more accurate than less confident with witnesses in making the identifications. So these are things that the organizations like the National Police Foundation and others that are connected with the field, like IACP and PERF and the National Sheriffs Association and the National Organization for Black Law Enforcement Executives, as well as I analyst and Callea and others can help to convey to the field in a way that makes sense and that is not so complex that it gets lost in translation.
[13:31] - Steve Morreale
I like the idea of translation. Thank you for raising that. You've spoken a couple of times about health and safety and that emanated in some in some small part with the pillars from the 21st Century Policing. But when you say health, wellness and safety, what comes to mind? What are the elements of that? What are the things we look at? The first thing I think of is mental health, mental health in policing.
[13:58] - Steve Morreale
In other words, the police are public safety officers that find themselves in some pretty difficult situations and seeing some of the worst of the worst and how they deal with that and cope with that, but also the mental health calls that they go on. So it's a combination of that. But again, what do you what comes to mind when you say health, wellness and safety?
[14:20] - Karen Amendola
Yes. OK, so the area is so first of all, you mentioned that some of this comes from the pillars from the twenty first century policing task force report. And actually it has its origins earlier than that, much of it in work that has done been done by the Department of Justice through its Office of Community Oriented Policing and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, who collaborated to develop a technical working group on officers safety, health and wellness. So in this case, that's focused on officer safety, health and wellness.
[14:50] - Karen Amendola
It's not that the community health, safety and wellness is not of primary importance as well, but that is their emphasis. Some of that fed into what was defined and outlined in recommendations in that 21st Century report. But to get to your direct question about health, safety and wellness, I think that the terms are often used interchangeably and they represent different things. And so wellness has been defined in many different ways. But the way that what comes to my mind when I think of health, safety and wellness is that there's really two pillars.
[15:27] - Karen Amendola
One is health, and that is broken down into both psychological well-being and mental wellbeing as well as physical well-being. And those aren't really separate because as we know, things like stress and fatigue have a significant bearing on emotional wellbeing as well as physical well-being. And so things like sleep disorders are more prevalent in police than they are in members of the general population. And so what does that say about shift practices, et cetera, and how can you counteract those effects?
[16:01] - Karen Amendola
But all of those things can have if you have a sleep disorder that can interfere with your long term health as well, things like heart problems and breathing disorders and things like that. So you can't separate out the two, but there are really two separate arms of it. In terms of work that we're doing and we're doing a lot in this area right now, but recently we were awarded, in fact starting this month an award from the National Institute of Justice to examine organizational stressors as they impact officers, health and mental wellness, physical, physical and mental wellness, and in addition, their performance on the job, as well as any kinds of mitigators or things like resilience that can help to counteract those effects.
[16:57] - Karen Amendola
So we're examining that because the term organizational stress is differentiated from the term operational stress, which deals more with the day to day. So the organizational stressors deal with, the more the day to day bureaucratic things and the nature of the work, for example, that you're working shifts that the management of the organization, a whole range of bureaucratic kinds of. Challenges that are faced that face officers in doing their jobs, whereas the operational stressors are things like experience, trauma associated with things like child abuse and domestic assault and murdered parties and their family members and victims, etc.
[17:42] - Karen Amendola
And so much of the research has suggested that these bureaucratic stressors are actually more detrimental to health and wellness of officers than are the more operational stressors in the trauma bay stuff. Because officers have been trained to deal with those everyday things and they deal with these. I shouldn't say everyday things, but these traumatic types of things that are imposed by the job itself, having to use force, for example, that's another sort of operational stressor. But but like I said, the evidence really suggests that these other things, like paperwork, demands from the community or criticisms, lack of opportunities for advancement in the agency, et cetera, create a bulk of the stress.
[18:28] - Karen Amendola
So that's something that we're looking at, but also at the National Police Foundation, we've worked on a number of other initiatives that address health and safety. We have a program that provides a thousand dollar grant to individual officers in light of the pandemic for needs or issues that have been brought on by the pandemic with partners. We are doing a number of other things in this area. But again, to get back to your broad question, it's really a collection of mental well-being and physical well-being.
[19:07] - Karen Amendola
And as they are integrated with each other, the other pillar of that or the other side of that is the safety issues. And so that deals with anything from the issue of ambushes and attacks on officers to different tactics in dealing with riotous mobs, as we've recently experienced, et cetera. And these are all issues that challenge the safety and the issues of how do we keep our officers safe in dealing with some of the pressing issues and the challenges that they face on the job.
[19:38] - Steve Morreale
Well, you know, the joke that I'm thinking of is, those of us have been in policing people would say, you really need a double layer in your back more than in your front. In other words, you're more apt to be stabbed in the back by somebody who you work with or work for than by somebody that you're on a call for. So I understand that. And it'll be interesting to see how that grows and more importantly, how it grows and what you find, but how it is implemented, how it is considered, and whether or not there's going to be a deafness of leadership when they see that and think that's not me, when reflection may cause them to say I can be a better leader, I might be a better leader, maybe I have to pay more attention to the people side of the organization and such. Thank you for that
[20:26] - Karen Amendola
If I can respond to that. That that isn't something I've actually heard the double layer in the back for protection. But yesterday I participated in a webinar that was hosted by the the American Psychological Association's Division of Psychologists in public and in public service. And we have a section within that deals with things like psychological screening and wellness and whatnot. And yesterday our topic was on wellness checks, and it was from the perspective of psychological wellness checks. There is a growing movement in some agencies to begin to do annual, in some cases mandatory check-ins with a psychologist or other mental health provider to be what we call psychopsycho-educational, meaning.
[21:21] - Karen Amendola
It's not clinical assessment. It's not like doing a fitness for duty to evaluate somebody, but rather to provide a resource for officers to just check in on their coping skills, the stress that they're under, and just have an opportunity to share that in a way that doesn't get documented back to the police department, other than the fact that they attended. And we're finding that this may be a new innovation that ought to be tested, but that allows for that check-in in a way that doesn't sound punitive.
[21:54] - Karen Amendola
It's not like something that happens because of something an officer did, but just like a physical exam would do on an annual basis, it's that kind of a check. And only in this case the psychologist is not evaluating the person unless they request a referral to something like that. But they're rather being there is a resource to say what kind of stressors have you experienced this year? Is there anything that you need in terms of coping? Is there information that we.
[22:23] - Karen Amendola
And share strategies that we can share and that type of thing. And so I think this idea of mental illness is it's really in its infancy. And I mentioned in this webinar I participated in yesterday that there is some recent research that just came out by Thoene and colleagues. And they evaluated through a national survey where they got they got fifty-five agencies of different sizes, but they asked about the kinds of wellness programs that were being implemented and they ranged from anything from critical incident stress debriefings, which is I guess, a form of wellness to a whole range of other programs.
[23:09] - Karen Amendola
But none of them mentioned this sort of annual psychological wellness check. Right. And so but there's all of these things that now are classified as wellness. And so we don't have a good way of defining what is wellness. But most of it relates to things like coping, stress, resilience, being psychologically and emotionally well, being physically well in a way that can support your resilience. And so it's a broad it's a broad spectrum right now, but there's a lot of work that still needs to be done.
[23:41] - Steve Morreale
[23:42] - Steve Morreale
And I'm glad I ask the question because it begins to extract what that wellness might mean. And I know that so many of my colleagues and even myself, there were things that I've been exposed to in my career that no one ever bothered to ask me how I feel. Anything from suicide that you responded to, to an untimely death, to a serious I'm thinking of any number of things going through my mind, but even people is one of the fatals that I went to was seven people and no one ever bothered to ask.
[24:13] - Steve Morreale
And and you're not sure how you cope with that? I think you hope you do. But I think I think that's going to be an uphill battle for clinicians because of the way we police are raised to kind of keep it inside. If it is just about vent with me, talk to me. Are you OK with it? Did you do you have a proper compartment for you? OK, does it impact how you will react even if somebody was attacked?
[24:36] - Steve Morreale
Does it impact how you react in another incident? I think that's pretty important. So thank you for that. I think that's pretty very, very important for sure.
[24:46] - Steve Morreale
So a couple of questions would be either on your to do list or in the National Police Foundation to do list what's what's coming, what's what is being frank about before you move forward? You know, how how are you as a national organization working to provide resources, input research for policing to make it better, especially in the current state where we are with policing the issue of defunding and all of those kinds of things?
[25:17] - Karen Amendola
Right. Well, again, just to emphasize an important point is that we're nonprofit, we're nonpartisan or independent. We don't have members. So we feel we have a unique and objective role to play that has a measured and balanced response to all kinds of challenges that allows objectivity in our science. That can be in many ways, without question. And this is not to criticize other organizations, but simply to say that if I'm a community member and I'm upset with the police, if I hear about research that's done by a police membership organization, I may say that I'm concerned that there's a bias there, that they are looking at this through the lens of how their membership feels about it.
[26:11] - Karen Amendola
That may or may not be true, of course, but and generally it's probably not true. But I think it gives us that unique voice to deal with a lot of these issues.
[26:22] - Karen Amendola
So in terms of some of the things that you're talking about that we're facing, I can speak to a number of different initiatives. But I would say that our our primary goals are in reduction of violence, particularly gun violence in our communities. This is not a recent issue. It's an ongoing issue. But one of the most disheartening to me, anyhow, having been with this organization for well over twenty five years and also having worked for it for 15 of those or more in which our leadership, our president, was African-American and was a leader of civil rights issues in policing. He was the first executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives or the first president, I should say. And that was Hubert Williams, who passed away, sadly, in early 2020. However, for years, he worked to examine the issues of race and policing, he and William Webster, Judge Webster, of course, the former head of the CIA and the FBI. He the two of them worked with a team of about one hundred lawyers and investigators in examining the aftermath of the riots in L.A. after the verdicts were returned on the Rodney King beating by members of the LAPD.
[27:54] - Karen Amendola
And, of course, that civil disturbance was massive and widespread and lasted for many days. And so this it wasn't the first attempt, of course, that we made it really examining these issues of race. But it was one of the sort of watershed moments, I think, for policing to see and for communities to see video based camera evidence of a beating of an individual who was already in custody and handcuffed. And so we continue to grapple. It's disheartening with the issue of race in America.
[28:32] - Karen Amendola
We've recently established a council on race and policing reforms. I am currently an appointee to a 12 member task force of the American Psychological Association on reducing force against African-Americans, on police use of force against African-Americans. But all of this really speaks to an ongoing challenge that we have in terms of disparate impacts on those of color, particularly African-Americans, but also some other underrepresented groups. And so this challenge continues today, and this is one that we take very seriously and will continue to make every effort to address.
[29:15] - Karen Amendola
A few moments ago, you talked about some moments in your career where nobody asked you anything and that there were these traumatic events. We a few years ago with funding from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, started with many partner organizations, something called Liow near Miss. And it's at least near Miss Dot org Leon Near Misses, law enforcement officer near misses. And it's an opportunity for officers at all levels in law enforcement agencies to report on incidents where something terrible could have happened but didn't.
[29:50] - Karen Amendola
For example, I almost crashed my vehicle and here's what I was able to do to to not do that or this this stakeout or this, let's say, raid could have resulted in the death of myself or my partner or others in the in the residence that were innocent. But here's what we did that prevented it. So it gives an opportunity for officers to give voice and to share their voice with others who are trying to do their best to learn from past mistakes.
[30:26] - Karen Amendola
Right. So if I share my near miss with you that as a peer, I can then say, oh, wow, I certainly don't want to end up in that situation. So it's it's a training tool. It started to generate a number of people entering this information because it's not identifying them in any personal way. It's not connecting it to a specific incident that could be under investigation. But these kind of peer based tools are very important for examining the range of things that that officers go through.
[31:01] - Karen Amendola
We're also very focused on other issues associated with community and the role of police and community. This has been sort of where we cut our teeth in the early days. In the 1970s, much of our original work was formed the basis for what's more modern community policing, although the tenants, as you know, came out of Peele's Principles. Right. But much of what has changed in the areas of policing, reform and policing styles have gone from this sort of professional management model to one of community policing in which police and communities engage in collective problem solving.
Of course, the evidence on community policing isn't exceptionally strong and in fact, there's very little evidence to suggest any reductions in crime as a result of community policing. But there is evidence to suggest things in various aspects of community policing can reduce things like can reduce citizen fear of crime and also, more importantly, can improve perceptions of legitimacy of the police feelings that they're being treated fairly, et cetera. And part of that is just through treating people with equity and dignity and giving them voice.
[32:22] - Karen Amendola
And so these are all issues that we address in our various projects, part of what we do is action research, as you mentioned, part of it is traditional and and rigorous research. And then another part of it is the application of technology and technical assistance in agencies. So, for example, one of the things that we've been doing and will continue to do our after action reports of serious incidents that are very complex, starting with like the Christopher Dorner case in California that led to many people being killed, the chase into the mountains to find this guy, the San Bernardino shooting, the Pulse nightclub shooting, a number of these kind of things that involve multiple agencies in many cases and multiple complex issues that the police are dealing with.
[33:19] - Karen Amendola
The purpose of these after-action reports is a lot like what you hear about when they talk about these sudden event reviews, which are looking at sort of an all stakeholders approach, whereas the after-action is to kind of investigating what we know about that incident, what are the lessons learned, et cetera. And so they kind of can go hand in hand, a Sentinel-event review, which is much more non-blaming, not looking for a culprit in the process of how things went wrong.
[33:51] - Karen Amendola
But looking at sentinel events of the way the police handle situations in a way to examine sort of all of the aspects of the system break down many times. It's a failure of training, but there could be other things.
[34:04] - Steve Morreale
So it looks like it seems to me it's about the the aftermath reviews. There was a commission for the 9/11 after 9/11 and some of the lapses that were there. So I'm glad to hear that.
[34:13] - Steve Morreale
We're winding, winding down on time. But you've brought a whole bunch of things up in a couple of things that stick to me, the near misses. And I think that so many times we get all of this stuff collected, there's a possible qualitative study in that to see what similarities and what we can learn.
[34:31] - Steve Morreale
What are, in other words, what by coding it. And I won't get into the technical the technical part. But but that's that's missed opportunity in my mind.
[34:40] - Steve Morreale
But but what are you most proud of since you've been, in other words, in history with everything you have done? What's one thing you're most proud of that we wouldn't know it was on you organizationally?
[34:52] - Steve Morreale
Well, no, as a researcher. So me as a researcher personally, which was not the result of me, but a large team of scholars and other practitioners, was a study we did on the impacts of shift length on officer health, safety and wellness. And the reason it's significant is not only that we found that longer shifts can be significantly taxing on officers, can lead to greater fatigue, also can be more costly for agencies because of the amount of overtime payouts, et cetera, but more importantly, because it opened a new sort of era, an emphasis on things that agencies can do to improve the lives of officers.
[35:45] - Karen Amendola
Because in my philosophy, and this is probably a metaphor that's flying around way too frequently now, but I used to say in the early days of this before I heard it said a lot is it's a lot like getting on an airplane. And they first instruction to you is or one of the first instructions to you is if there's a loss in cabin pressure, mass will drop down first, secure your mass before trying to help anybody else. And I think this is something that was probably overlooked for many years and policing that if we don't have safe, healthy and psychologically well meaning folks that have the resilience to be able to cope with a range of increasing challenges in this profession, then how can we expect them to provide high quality services to the community if if they're reacting because they have stress, if they're reacting, because there's things that the agency has done that has made it difficult for them to do their jobs instead of facilitating it.
[36:46] - Karen Amendola
So I think that that's why I'm proud of it, because I think many of us in both the world of policing and research now look at ways to focus on the individual officers, their quality of life, and not seeing officers collectively as one group. You probably have seen this, too, and Steve, in your career. But the people I know often will say, why do the police do X? Why do the police do Y? And might my common response to that is who do you mean when you say the police?
[37:18] - Karen Amendola
Because every single person is an individual. And while there are certain occupational similarities and some would argue some cultural similarities, some heterogeneity around cultural values and whatnot, those aren't as well-supported today as they once were, like in either offers belief in things like cynicism, etc. that build in the culture. We're seeing an emerging generation in newer officers that are very open to things that during your career and I'm not trying to date you, Steve, but during your career, you would have laughed about people saying, well, I'm going to go engage in mindfulness practice.
[37:56] - Karen Amendola
Right. It would be like watching. I'm going to go take a yoga class at many agencies. I have to I have to give props to a colleague of mine, the chief out in Gilbert, Arizona, Chief Solberg, who on a recent visit there were doing a study of militarization, knew of my interest in this area and took me aside and said, I want to show you something. And he took me to two different room, three different rooms they had set aside in the police station.
[38:26] - Karen Amendola
One was a a mindfulness practice room where they had places where people could meditate or just sit quietly. Another was a lactating lactating mothers room with a rocking chair for children, etc. And then the other was a sleeping room where they allow officers to sort of with certain parameters, but to come in and take 20 minutes or 30 minute rest breaks. Right. These are things you never would have seen before. You would have been left out of town as a chief or for recommending it or as a cop for doing it.
[39:00] - Karen Amendola
Right. So I think that there's a growing interest in these things amongst young cops. They've grown up with these kind of things. They've seen that their well being, that their quality of life, that their family work balance is really important. And I think that's very encouraging. That is to say that the more that we can care about these people as individuals as opposed to a collective or a homogenous group that all shares the same characteristics, the better off will be in being able to establish better community relations between individual officers and their communities.
[39:36] - Steve Morreale
You know, going back to what we said before, it is troubling to me, though. We as a country and certainly as a world have suffered terrorism. And we saw some domestic terrorism just last week that I think I think 9/11 took a focus off of community policing. And I think it really caused. Police departments to reel back because all of a sudden we're not interested in community policing, while I think we should have been this is my own two cents because community policing could tell where the community might be changing and where police might look without profiling.
[40:13] - Steve Morreale
And that that's also a concern. But I think I think it's certainly time to to get back to understanding that if the police are to be responsible for the community, they have to know the community in which the police, it's relationships. It's really about relationships, right?
[40:31] - Karen Amendola
Absolutely. And they can anticipate, as you mentioned, when you're doing things like being engaged with community, which is one of the tenets of community policing, you can anticipate other types of threats as opposed to, you know, being reactionary while its planes crashing into buildings that we're worried about. And then we miss, you know, tanks crashing through barriers into shopping malls and other kinds of threats that might be very different in nature. So you're absolutely right.
[40:58] - Karen Amendola
I agree with you there.
[40:59] - Steve Morreale
So one more thing before we wind down. If you had a choice to sit with someone here in the now or before, who would you like to sit with? Who would you like to pick their brain?
[41:16] - Karen Amendola
Wow, you are one tough interviewer. I feel like I'm on the Actors Studio. Let's see.
[41:27] - Karen Amendola
I think I would have to say it's a toss up between Mahatma Gandhi and and the Dalai Lama. And the reason I say that is, you know, I recently watched a broadcast on the Dalai Lama working with a range of officers from the London Metropolitan Police. And it was such an interesting interchange. And it it took them out of that day to day grind that is their job into a broader perspective about humanity. And so I think people like them that have done tremendous things for the world can be of great benefit.
[42:12] - Karen Amendola
And then I might also add that there's a former president that I think has really done some amazing things since leaving office, and that's Jimmy Carter. And this is not to take a political stance at all, but I think that somebody that can transition from one career to a career of service, one career of service as a public servant to a career in which service continues to be a central issue, I think is a lesson for all of us and certainly for police that are contemplating a new career that they can take some some real lessons from what Jimmy Carter has done, post that.
[42:56] - Karen Amendola
So and I think that's another area that we need to explore is what can police do to continue their great contributions once they leave the field of policing and retire? There's still things that they can do to be of service, and many of them have. And we miss out on that. But it's hard to pick one.
[43:15] - Steve Morreale
Of course it is. And but I appreciate that. And the Jimmy Carter piece that you just saw, I remember being down here in South Carolina and and seeing him at his age working on a on a house for Habitat for Humanity. And it just inspirational, to say the least. He doesn't have to do it. He was the president of the United States. And yet he continues to give. So kudos to you for that for that thought. Well, I want to thank you very much for for coming aboard and being a part and for sharing, because I think, as I've said in this podcast, and the reason we started the podcast is because there's so much that we can learn from each other and that I appreciate it.
[43:53] - Steve Morreale
I want to thank Dr. Karen Amendola from the National Police Foundation for joining us today. You've been listening to Steve Morreale and The CopDoc Podcast. And I'd like you to continue to listen so that you can learn and give us feedback. Appreciate it. Have a good day, everyone.