The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

The CopDoc Podcast Ep 018 Dr. Jim McCabe - Sacred Heart University, retired NYPD Inspector

April 26, 2021 Dr. Jim McCabe Season 1 Episode 18
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
The CopDoc Podcast Ep 018 Dr. Jim McCabe - Sacred Heart University, retired NYPD Inspector
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
The CopDoc Podcast Ep 018 Dr. Jim McCabe - Sacred Heart University, retired NYPD Inspector
Apr 26, 2021 Season 1 Episode 18
Dr. Jim McCabe

We chatted with Dr. Jim McCabe, a pracademic, an academic with extensive practical field experience.  In a wide-ranging discussion, we talked about the state of policing today, police management studies, leadership, training, and Body-worn cameras.   

Show Notes Transcript

We chatted with Dr. Jim McCabe, a pracademic, an academic with extensive practical field experience.  In a wide-ranging discussion, we talked about the state of policing today, police management studies, leadership, training, and Body-worn cameras.   

[00:00:00.360] - Intro

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


[00:00:38.130] - Steve Morreale

Hello, everybody, this is Steve Morreale coming to you from Boston and you're listening to The CopDoc Podcast, and I am excited and pleased to have a colleague, Jim McCabe, Dr. Jim McCabe from Sacred Heart University, a colleague. Jim and I have written together. We've presented together and now we're on the phone together. So good afternoon, Jim, and welcome.


[00:00:56.820] - Jim McCabe

Thank you, Steve, for having me.


[00:00:58.470] - Steve Morreale

I'm glad to have you, finally. I want to get started by asking you to introduce yourself and tell the audience about yourself, your history. You, like me, are academic. And so where do you get that practical experience? What are you doing now? So let's hear it.


[00:01:11.920] - Jim McCabe

OK, I'll start from the beginning. I'm retired from the NYPD and I retired in two thousand six. I was inspector and my last rank and I was the commander of the Office of Labor Relations there, negotiating the contracts, the grievances with and against the 50 labor unions that represent employees in the NYPD. Before that was the commander of the police academy where trained to provide the training for the entire organization, entry- level and in-service leadership, that sort of stuff.


[00:01:35.670] - Jim McCabe

I had been the executive officer of the police commissioner's office and I was there during 9/11 and helped with the response on the department to 9/11 attacks. Before that, I was a precinct commander in Queens 110 Precinct, which is by LaGuardia Airport. If anybody is familiar with the geography executive officer of the 113 Precinct, which is down by Kennedy Airport, some kind of book, and I started my career in nineteen eighty six in midtown Manhattan as a patrol officer and sort of moved through the ranks and wound up being a captain in Queens.




[00:02:00.690] - Jim McCabe


All the while I like to say I got kicked out of college when I was 19, went into the police service, but I went back to school and the night school, six credits at a time. By the time I got to my 20th year, I turned to criminal justice, though I wasn't ready to retire. I said, let me see what's out there in the academic world. And I got a job at Sacred Heart University and I've been there ever since.


[00:02:19.080] - Jim McCabe

So I'm Associate Professor. So I guess I'm in my fifteenth year now at Sacred Heart. And you and I had met fifteen years ago when we were at a conference in Baltimore, and we've had a great relationship since then presenting stuff like that. So I think you coined the term pracademic right, for our work that maybe I'm mistaken.


[00:02:34.500] - Steve Morreale

No, you're not mistaken. We both came up with that. We coined the phrase it's existing, but academic and at least the way we use it defined it.


[00:02:42.060] - Steve Morreale

Yes, the way we defined it was in someone, a practitioner turned academic and you bridge both. So you're still at it. And I know you keep very busy. You've done plenty of management studies. You do focus groups. And let's talk about that. Let's talk about the state of policing and your point of view on what's going on out there.


[00:03:00.000] - Jim McCabe

You know, it's unfortunate. I see. I see we're kind of getting battered in the public arena. And I think this is a complicated issue. So forgive me if I sort of bounce around. But I think, Steve, when you and I started our careers in policing, we were much more the use of force was more prevalent, prevalent firearms discharges were more prevalent. The violence in the street was more prevalent, which resulted in more violence being used and by the police.


[00:03:23.940] - Jim McCabe

So over the last 30, 40 years, seeing the use of force across all kind of varieties, physical force, deadly force has gone down dramatically, gone down in the United States. But now we're seeing it more. The sort of everybody has a cell phone with a camera and within seconds can post a video that will go viral. Police use of force. There was one just yesterday in New York where New York is suffering from a pretty bad spate of violence in the subways.


[00:03:53.660] - Jim McCabe

So the city deployed additional resources, police officers in the subway and there was a guy smoking on the subway platform. So he is going to get ejected from the subway and then get him to the top of the stairs. And all of a sudden he turns around and spits in the officer's face and punches another one. Next thing you know, the three of them are tumbling down the stairs. And it's a it's a melee. They forcefully put them in, take him into custody and handcuff him and blows are exchanged.


[00:04:15.030] - Jim McCabe

And what's been reported in the media is the aftermath of it with the officers. No one saw the officers get punched. No one saw them get spat on. The body cameras picked it up. But the YouTube video is now another use of force by the police in New York. So, A, it's biased video, but it's video that we would never would have seen twenty, even twenty, fifteen years ago. So the public is being exposed to these really shocking views.


[00:04:39.180] - Jim McCabe

Some of them are murderous views. And there's a perception that all of the police conduct themselves like this, that it's shocking when you see it. I watch body camera video of and I know what a police arrest looks like. And when you watch it, even for a person like me, it doesn't look pretty. So people are reacting to that. So now when you have this kind of hostile social reaction to the police and in some cases rightfully so, but to cast the entire business the way that it's been kind of cast now is really, I think, a unfair and be misdirected.


[00:05:09.510] - Jim McCabe

So we're in a position now you would mention my kind of extracurricular activity. Working with the police department is right now. I'm involved in working with several departments around the country as they respond to those the events of the last year. It's interesting to me to see and maybe it's the lens I look at the organizations through, but I see both good leadership in place and bad leadership in place. And in the places where there are good leaders, they're responding better to the events both before and after and.


[00:05:36.710] - Jim McCabe

And in places where the leadership is not so good, you're getting a not so good response and people have questions, they have concerns, they're frustrated that they're angry, they're cooped up in isolated and not sure where their economic future is going. And right or wrong, the police an easy outlet now. And their response, good or bad, I think, is a function of how well that organization has left. And of course, this is very premature. But that's basically what I'm seeing.





So do you think that police are called on to do too many things? Yeah, and as a result, that's the problem. It seems to me that social services and those services that are around, they're not available on the weekends many times. So who do you call 911 gets the call and you show up.


[00:06:18.050] - Jim McCabe

Between 85 and 90 percent of the funds expended on police. Police departments everywhere in this country is on personnel services. It is a people, it is a personnel rich environment. So we need to do a better job taking care of our people.


[00:06:34.430] - Steve Morreale

OK, Jim, let's move on to another topic, and that's body worn cameras. You have been exposed to body worn cameras for an awfully long time in work. And I'd like to ask what your feeling is to help those who are maybe reluctant to engage body worn cameras in a department that has not experienced it. I suppose when it first started, you had a different opinion. But I'm curious to know how your mindset is on body worn cameras.


[00:06:59.150] - Jim McCabe

All right, Steve, when the body cameras first came out, in my opinion, was that they were not needed. Maybe it's because I trust the police. And I understand that the overwhelming majority of police officers do good work, that the added layer of supervision was really not necessary. Gave a presentation to a law enforcement group many years ago as they were just rolling out like twenty, fifteen or so. And that question was posed to me. And I said, yeah, well, I don't think we need them.


[00:07:24.530] - Jim McCabe

I don't see the advantage I don't see the need and it's not going to address behavior. What might my thinking on that is come around 180 degrees in the opposite direction. I do a lot, as you said, I do a lot of work with one-to-one cameras, reviewing officer conduct. And I consider them now to be an essential part of the officers equipment right up there with the radio and firearm. This is here to stay. And it's an essential tool for a couple of reasons.


[00:07:48.500] - Jim McCabe

Number one is the camera has sort of a civilizing effect, if you will, on the encounter when the officer knows they're being recorded and the member of the public knows that they're being recorded. It brings the temperature down and makes things go a lot smoother. And that's what we really want. We just want to respond to calls and handle them in the most the most efficient way possible. And that adds to it. And then there's also the ability of the camera to present the officer's side of the story when there are allegations made about misconduct.


[00:08:16.580] - Jim McCabe

And there is a video recording of the encounter and the overwhelming majority of cases in the officer's account of the events, this is backed and justified. And we see it in New York. The allegations of misconduct have gone down. And when they are made, the investigations are done more efficiently. They're closed, both the exonerated and a greater percentage and also substantiated that a greater percentage than they had been in the past. And the unsubstantiated cases, the the he said she said type of unsubstantiated closures really going down.


[00:08:45.620] - Jim McCabe

And that's been linked to the evidence of the body counts. And the last piece is the camera offers supervisors and the department a glimpse into the performance of the office. Police work is generally solitary. Officers are out there handling calls and supervision is nonexistent in a lot of cases. You can't just go and watch the officer perform their duties hovering over them. Well, now you can watch. And it's a great tool to improve performance, to work on tactics, to work on safety, to work on demeanor and interactions with public.


[00:09:20.720] - Jim McCabe

And it's a great way to showcase the good work that the police do on a day to day basis. I'm doing a study now in Connecticut with the local police department, and I was asked to do sort of a quality control review of body on camera videos. So my research team is looking at random samples of videos that were recorded over a four month period. And the scale we created was from a negative five on the low end to a positive five on the high end.


[00:09:45.620] Jim McCabe

And when the team started evaluating the videos, they were coming up in fours and fives. And then we had to stop and say, well, wait a minute, five is a really good encounter. You can't give everybody a five. And then when you go when you look at the video, you said, well, yeah, those are five and the average is coming out when like a four. So so here is evidence of really good police work that's being done on a day to day basis that nobody knows about.


[00:10:08.300] Jim McCabe

Well, they will now. And this kind of methodology is not really done around the country. So the cameras are a tool that will allow departments to showcase the good work that their officers do. And that's a needed sort of resource. Now, all the things that are going on and the criticisms that are being leveled against the police in general, this is a good tool to show people the good work that they do. But this is a significant expense to this, as you well know, for storage and all that.


[00:10:31.580] - Jim McCabe

But are there any downsides to it? It seems to me that at times no different than looking at a TV show, what's off camera?  in other words, it's a single dimension, it's a single view. You can't see what happens to the right or the left unless you're matching it with dashcam or a second officers. So what do you see? How do you overcome that?


[00:10:50.090] - Jim McCabe

Well, it is two-dimensional and sometimes you can't overcome that. I mean, most of the cameras have 120 degree view, so you don't get three hundred sixty, but, you know, you get a good amount of it. And like you said, you can piece it together with other cameras. And if you had to if you wanted to look at the event more closely, you have all the cameras available. We have there's cameras everywhere.


[00:11:07.640] - Jim McCabe

I think police officers operate, particularly in an urban environment. They operate under the assumption that they're being recorded at all times because, you know, between CCTV and security cameras and bystanders. So if you needed to, you could patch together events more clearly. Those are in serious situations that you would need to do that. In the general encounter, the one dimensional the two dimensional view is generally sufficient and go back to the cost. It's almost the cost of doing business if you're contemplating cost being a prohibitive factor.


[00:11:32.480] - Jim McCabe

Well, they just got to figure it out. You got to figure out where the budget, the money is going to come from and the cost generally, you know, the prohibitive end of it is with the storage now the cameras themselves. So there's a one-time cost, but it's not that big of a deal. It's when you look at the storage of all the video so you can mitigate that by only keeping video certain period of time like this study I was telling you I'm doing now.


[00:11:52.430] - Jim McCabe

The department keeps the video for four months lower, that the NYPD keeps videos for 18 months. That's an enormous amount of data they have to deal with so you can manage it.





[00:12:01.220] - Steve Morreale

In terms of expectations, it seems to me, to think about CSI. You watch the show CSI and everybody expects that that's what every police department does. They have all of these fancy bells and whistles and they can solve a crime within 30 seconds. But, the reality is that the more we hear about it, the more they talk about it. A police department that doesn't have body-worn cameras, it seems to me there's a potential perception from the public, why not? What are you trying to hide? If not, so react to that. I mean.


[00:12:27.890] - Jim McCabe

You're a hundred percent, right? And I know, for example, in New York City, the District Attorney's won't prosecute a case unless all the officers video is furnished because this material for the defense and if you don't turn over the video, we're not going to prosecute it because it does raise the specter of something being hidden. So you're absolutely right. It's part of that CSI effect that this is going to be expected by juries and by prosecutors and defense attorneys, and rightfully so.


[00:12:51.360] - Jim McCabe

If you have the camera, what you should produce the evidence. And if you don't have the camera, why don't you sort of says something about what you're doing?


[00:12:57.590] - Steve Morreale

So how would you approach? I know that you spend a lot of time and visiting other police agencies from across the country. And when you're sitting in a room and you're talking about perspectives for the future, improvements, how do you begin to sell or how do you sell the idea of body-worn cameras where there are none?


[00:13:15.000] - Jim McCabe

Yeah, I don't know if it even needs to be sold anymore, Steve. I think this is something that's here and it's here to stay. That the selling point from the officers I think they want them.  You know, it's funny, when the NYPD rolled out their cameras, I was able to sit in on the training and I listened to the presentations and sort of the pitch, quote unquote. I gave the trainers a story. My father went on the NYPD in 1946.


[00:13:36.500] - Jim McCabe

And at that time they were just implementing handheld radios for people, all the moaning and groaning like it was going to carry these things around for and heavy and track us down. And now there's not a police officer in this country that would leave the station house without a radio. And the same thing is going to be said for body cameras. I know it was a department in Connecticut that was mandated to get body cameras. They were probably one of the first agencies in the country that were forced to get it because of a consent decree.


[00:14:03.440] - Jim McCabe

And early on, they said we are not leaving the station house without these cameras. It just it just became, in their view, an essential piece of equipment for their day, for their job. So I don't think this you don't have to sell it anymore. It's it's here. It's here and it's here to stay.


[00:14:17.720] - Steve Morreale

So we're talking to Jim McCabe, who is a professor at Sacred Heart University and a retired inspector from the New York Police Department. And one more question before we move on to some others to start to talk about core mission of policing in a very brief way to talk about mission creep, if you will, and the things that we have taken on that we may need to revisit.


[00:14:39.500] - Jim McCabe

It's an interesting question, Steve. Last week, I was in a police department working with a police department in Wisconsin, and the feeling of demoralization was palpable. It was heartbreaking to see the officers with the climate, the political environment almost felt under siege. And I said to them, it's all right, we're in crisis. The police service is in crisis. But you know the old adage, you should never let a crisis go to waste. And then out of crisis comes opportunity.


[00:15:05.390] - Jim McCabe

And to your point about mission and mission creep, you go back decades. Police started to professionalize mid, early. Nineteen hundreds and the advent of the phone and the radio and the radio car and 911 where the philosophy became. You call this three digit number and we'll come and we'll handle your concerns. Well, that exploded into the police will handle anything that is reported to them. You know, when you go around the country, most police departments have that philosophy that any call, no matter how frivolous or how non-police related, will be met with a response from the police. You see things like my neighbor blew leaves on my lawn.


[00:15:41.940] - Jim McCabe

That's what I call the barking cat call. My neighbor's cat is barking and I can't sleep. My children don't do their homework. You'd be surprised at all the ridiculous calls that the police go to on a day to day basis. So those are the nuisance calls. But then you factor in mental health calls and you see that failure of the mental health system in the United States has really become a burden for contemporary policing.


[00:16:04.740] - Jim McCabe

Because when there's nothing else you can do with a person and they're acting irrationally and they're in the street, maybe they're under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


[00:16:11.380] - Jim McCabe

Somebody is calling 911 and the police are in the middle of that situation. You know, they do an excellent job. By and large. They're not trained psychologists. They're not mental health professionals, but they are forced into these situations. And sometimes the situations don't go according to the way the person calls planned  and unfortunate things happen. So it's these kinds of things that have, as you put it, creeped into the mission of policing. And I'd like to think that here is the crisis looming and now an opportunity to get out of some of those things. Yeah, you hear the drumbeat for social workers responding to mental health calls? Well, yeah, why not?  They're the appropriate professionals to deal with somebody in mental health crisis? Well, so be it. But when that person is acting irrationally and violent, the first person that the social worker is going to call, it's a police officer, protect them. So we're not going to be able to get out of the business completely.


[00:16:56.550] - Jim McCabe

But the idea is to - let's refocus, let's refocus on the things and the mission that police departments and police officers are intended to achieve. We're talking about crime reduction. We're talking about traffic safety. We're talking about disorder control. And we're talking about all the things that we want the police to do, keeping communities safe. And let's get out of this business of going to nuisance calls. Let's get out of the business of medical calls and mental health and homelessness. Let's let the proper agencies take care of those things. Let us get back to policing.


[00:17:26.130] - Steve Morreale

So as you're sitting and talking, first of all, do you get any pushback on that to the young men and women who are in those positions - - -  Do they understand that they are they frustrated? You know, going back to what you said before, my sense is and that's what I hear back. Yeah, it'd be great if that's what the chief believed that so much. Let me  say this. Police officers, men and women who put their lives on the line and are there 24/7, they've got a very difficult job.





[00:17:50.700] - Steve Morreale

But very often they would rather handle somebody outside than the treachery from inside. Is that true?


[00:17:56.110] - Jim McCabe

Sure. Oh, absolutely. I got a couple of interesting stories from my own experience. The first to the last point is, you know, I was a precinct commander and a young man coming to me and he had his resignation papers. And as the captain in the precinct, you had to do the exit interview. So this is a terrific young man, hard charger, educated, really, or really going to have a great career. And he says, I'm OK.


[00:18:16.130] - Jim McCabe

But what do you what do you mean you couldn't you just got here? You're doing great. This is I just can't take it. You know, I could deal with like you said, I could deal with the stuff on the street. I could deal with the hours. I could deal with the danger. I can deal with the craziness. Every time I walk in this building, my stomach is in a knot. You know, everybody it's just like, oh, my God, the nitpicking and the micromanagement and the belittling.


[00:18:33.720] - Jim McCabe

And forget this place. I'm not going to spend the rest of my career. He was a landscaper, so he was going to go back to his family landscaping business and which, you know, he's probably doing really well now. But it's like, man, that just, you know, it hurt because that's just not the way we should be treating people.


[00:18:48.210] - Jim McCabe

So the other funny part is, you know, I told you in the police academy when I started the leadership sort of curriculum and in the NYPD Academy at the time, it was a seven-story building in Manhattan.


[00:18:59.010] - Jim McCabe

And in the stairways, there's this long stairway up one, and the landing went back the other. And I said, my staff. I said, I want to make like a really big signs like posters. And we'll put, like, the leadership buzzwords, you know, like compassion, courage, respect, integrity, you know, that kind of stuff. And we'll put them in the stairways as a sort of a cube as the recruits are meandering through the way through the, you know, up and down the stairs about the principles that we're reinforcing in the end.


[00:19:23.100] - Jim McCabe

So after a couple of a couple of weeks, you know, as I would, I would pop into classes and say hello, little recruits and ask them what's going on. So I said, so what do you think of the signs? Because I know, you know, you can't miss it. I said, What do you think of the signs? And a voice in the back says, put them in the elevators. And I said, What?


[00:19:38.220] - Jim McCabe

Excuse me. Excuse me? Because, you know, they didn't raise your hand. Somebody like mumbling when the boss is there. This is like, you know, the instructor was, like, ready to crap himself. He's like, oh, my God. So I said, you said that. So the man goes up in the back. And I said, could you repeat that? And said, you need to put the signs in the elevators, meaning the staff took the elevators.


[00:19:56.040] - Jim McCabe

God forbid you'd walk up a flight of stairs. So the staff took the elevators and the recruits had to take the stairs. So the message they were telling me was, yeah, we hear you, we get it. But you better do that for the people that run this place because they're not practicing.


[00:20:08.850] - Steve Morreale

They're not following it.


[00:20:14.250] - Steve Morreale

Yeah. So., those are interesting stories. So you have the chance to sit down and talk with police chiefs and try to drive ideas down. So when you're sitting with police chiefs, what are the conversations you're having? You know, how do you draw out how do you begin to understand what they are thinking, what their points of view are, what the culture is, and to drive the conversation about how potentially they could get better?


[00:20:35.400] - Jim McCabe

You know, police chief is - that's probably one of the hardest jobs in the United States and right now probably the hardest job in the United States. You know, you don't get there without being confident in most of the cases. I mean, they paid their dues. They're educated, experienced professionals in a very difficult place to change the culture from the top. What they really need to do. And I worked with some that have been there, done an excellent job with this is to like you like I've been saying, you've got to connect with the people.





[00:21:03.830] - Jim McCabe

Oftentimes, the chief gets inundated with meetings and emails and budget hearings and they lose sight of the people that are doing the work. You know, they used to be you've heard the expression management by walking around so you could ask a police executive how many hours a day do they spend in meetings and how many hours a day do they spend writing emails? And how many hours a day do you spend in the car or in the detective squad or walking around the community?


[00:21:31.730] - Jim McCabe

And I think we all know what the answer is. It's a demanding job. You often don't get time to do that. You don't get time to work nights and weekends because your day is not your own. But that's what you need to do. You need to connect with your people. You need to figure it out, and you need to both enlist and empower the people at work or the need for your subordinate commanders. And it's not easy and it's not going to change overnight.


[00:21:51.170] - Jim McCabe

But if it's not done, it's not started. It's never going to happen.


[00:21:54.470] - Steve Morreale

What are your core values, Jim? I don't know.


[00:21:57.320] - Jim McCabe

That's kind of a weird question. Core values. I'm loyal probably to a fault. I value hard work. I think I'm a pretty decent guy. My integrity, I think, is beyond reproach, again, almost to a fault. But finally, you know you and I, Steve, we you know, we work with the young students. They're young. They're a different generation. I love poking fun of the millennial, the millennial mindset. And I'm the old man now.


[00:22:19.250] - Jim McCabe

We are, we are!


[00:22:19.250] - Jim McCabe

That whole nose to the grindstone, hard work, dedication, commitment. And I think it's it's a benefit to me well over my life. But yeah, those are my values for sure.




[00:22:30.920] - Steve Morreale

As a new leader, and I'm not sure how far back you would want to go. What are some of the mistakes you made and how did you learn from those?


[00:22:37.160] - Jim McCabe

Oh, God, how much time do we have? You don't know you're making a mistake until it's like somebody told me that they like the fish, doesn't see the water. You don't know. You don't realize what you do. You don't know what you don't know. And then you look back at you, oh, my God, what a jerk I was. And I'm also fighting now in my advanced age. I'm not that old, but as I get older, I'm getting more mellow, more I'm more tolerant with things that I would have probably bit somebody set off twenty years ago now it's like, yeah, whatever.


[00:23:02.750] - Jim McCabe

That's good. So I think my demeanor fight just by way of the story. I was working there and I walk in and they say good morning to my assistant and then the phone rings and she picks it up, says, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Hangs up. So I come back and I said, What was that? She goes nothing. What was that? What's going on?


[00:23:19.880] - Jim McCabe

This is nothing. I said, listen, Susan, what was that? Something that you just I need to know what that she says. Well, they see you come in and they all call. They want to know what kind of mood because some of them have business with you. And, today I could tell you're not in a good mood. And I'm like, what do you mean I'm not in a good mood? I'm always in a good mood. She's oh, my God sir. No,no, so she was like the barometer of whether or not they would come and talk to me.


[00:23:40.430] - Jim McCabe

So when you looking back, that's ridiculous. Why was I like taht? I wish I had the same kind of even keel or the like, mellowor kind of approach instead of being a little bit too tight. You know, I guess that's the nature of the business. It's a lot of pressure. There's a lot of other things going on. You know, people rely on you to do things and sometimes you get a little bit too intense.


[00:23:59.720] - Jim McCabe

And maybe I was a little too intense




[00:24:01.040] - Steve Morreale

Do you miss policing?


[00:24:02.000] - Jim McCabe

I do. I do. I do. You know, it's funny, I was on a call last night. We're doing some work with a community in the country and looking for a new police chief. And they said, yeah, we don't want some Ph.D. that's going to come in here. And what do you mean you don't want a Ph.D.?


[00:24:19.550] - Jim McCabe

Yeah, they want experience counts. And that's kind of realizing that, yeah, that ship has sailed. But I do miss it and I love it. I would you know, if it wasn't for the academic, the opportunities I got in my academic career, I would still be there now. I'd still be. That's the only real job I had up until that point. But now you'll probably, you'll probably support this now doing what we do now, Steve, you know, I would never I would never go back, but I definitely miss it.


[00:24:45.530] - Steve Morreale

Well, do you see value in being a pracademic when you're doing this work, even though you are being as you're coming in, you're being an assessor, you're looking at it critically, with a critical eye. Do you see value in the fact that you did the job for twenty-plus years?


[00:25:02.360] - Jim McCabe

Oh, yeah, without a doubt. I think it's not only in the work with police departments, it's in the classroom, too. I mean, how do we do what we do? How do you teach this discipline? How do you consult with an organization if you if you've never done it? Not only do I think that brings value, I think it's absolutely essential. You know, you can see when you go to a place to work with them and if they're suspicious of cops, we're all suspicious.


[00:25:23.510] - Jim McCabe

And who is this guy who, who's this guy going to tell me?  Once you start speaking to him and common experiences, common language, understanding, it's sort of softened things up a bit. And this guy, you know, he's one of us and you're. Will it be more effective that way. And I think it's the same in the classroom. I couldn't teach organizational behavior without having actually having behaved in an organization. Right. So I think it's essential.




[00:25:47.070] - Steve Morreale

What are the favorite classes that you're teaching?


[00:25:48.780] - Jim McCabe

I love research methods. I love teaching with and research. You know, I started doing this piece probably the second year I was at Sacred Heart because that was the class nobody wanted. I was the last guy in the door. They said, oh, by the way, next semester you teach research, math. And I love it. You know, I love helping students understand how to collect and analyze and really be skeptical of information that they see in the world becomes a more critical thinker.


[00:26:09.690] - Jim McCabe

And for them and it helps me kind of sharpen my skill in collecting data. So when I do my own research and I work with police departments around the country, I'm able to collect and process it in a better way.


[00:26:20.490] - Steve Morreale

Who inspires you or who inspired you?


[00:26:23.390] - Jim McCabe

I don't know. That's a tough question. Who do you get inspiration from? I might get my father for sure. He was a big shot in the police department. And I certainly, you know, he was my role model growing up and kind of the reason why I did what I did. I don't know my inspiration. I don't know if I've ever really thought about that, too.


[00:26:37.880] - Steve Morreale

Well, let me ask you this then, Jim. Let me be pointed. Who inspired you to go after a Ph.D.? Who would have thunk 20 years ago that you and I would be sitting with doctorates? It was never, right, it was never in my wheelhouse. But you must have seen someone else or somebody took you under their wing and said, hey, kid, you can do that.


[00:26:54.970] - Jim McCabe

Yeah, it's funny, you know, and I'm sorry to say this, but you go to a funeral, you want to your childhood friends, parents, and you see the kids, your friends in the whole neighborhood there. Tell them what they do, what I do and they want you. But you have a big DEA. That's ridiculous. So, like I said, well, you know, you get lucky every now and then you get lucky.


[00:27:12.940] - Jim McCabe

There were a couple of people and I worked in a headquarters as a sergeant and I was finishing up my master's degree. And there were two lieutenants in the office that we would be chitchatting in the morning as often as you would do. And you should know you should keep going.


[00:27:28.260] - Jim McCabe

You're good at this. But that's ridiculous. Smart people and only smart people. So I tried it and I got accepted, sure enough. And it was a labor. It was 11 years, six credits at a time. You know, they almost kicked me out because I didn't finish it to finish in eight years. So I actually had to petition several years to sue, to stay with it. But it's a demanding job and just couldn't focus and get the dissertation done within the time they wanted.


[00:27:50.250] - Jim McCabe

But I finished and I'm proud of it. Yeah, it's all right. That's good.


[00:27:53.220] - Jim McCabe

What keeps you grounded? I know you have a family. You've got to see your three daughters as I do. But what makes you grounded, Jim?


[00:27:59.460] - Jim McCabe

That's it. That's it. At the end of the day, you know, that commitment we talked about, the values is to them and to ensuring that they're taken care of. And that grounds me because at the end of the day, there are more important things that I have to worry about. I go about my business to make sure that happens.


[00:28:12.900] - Steve Morreale

So let me wind down with a final question for this segment, because you'll be back. What's on your bucket list?


[00:28:20.340] - Jim McCabe

My bucket list. I want to get a twenty-five foot scout with twenty two fifties and live in Key Largo. That's my bucket list. And then travel the world from there and the other time. That's great.


[00:28:31.200] - Steve Morreale

Well, listen, I want to thank you for your time and for your energy. I appreciate it. We've been talking to Jim McCabe, Dr. Jim McCabe from Sacred Heart University, formerly with the New York Police Department. You've been listening to The CopDoc Podcast. I'm Steve Morreale from Boston and I appreciate you listening. Stay tuned for more episodes. Hi, everybody. A few things before you leave. First, thanks for listening.


[00:28:51.150] - Steve Morreale

I'm so gratified to see the downloads rising in the last few months, not only from the U.S., but from across the globe. It's surprising and humbling to find students, colleagues and practitioners listening. We have a growing number of listeners in Canada, Ireland, England, Northern Ireland, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Colombia. We appreciate your time and energy and welcome feedback. Please feel free to reach out to me by email at The CopDoc [email protected]


[00:29:17.220] - Steve Morreale

That's [email protected] Check out our website at The CopDoc Please take the time to share our podcast with your friend if you find value in the discussions. We've had so many amazing guests and more to come who have shared their wisdom, their thoughts, their viewpoints and their innovative ideas. Most importantly, a huge thank you to those of you who show up for work in policing every day, not knowing the kinds of calls that you'll be sent on or the kinds of situations you'll find yourself in.  You risk your lives for people, many of whom you don't know.


[00:29:49.410] - Steve Morreale

And for that, we owe you a debt of gratitude. A big thanks. I hope you stay safe, healthy and look forward to hearing from you and hope you'll continue to listen to upcoming episodes of The CopDoc Podcast. Thanks very much.


[00:30:03.570] - Outro

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