The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

The CopDoc Podcast Ep 014 - Marc Plourde and Charlie Ward - Gainesville Police

March 29, 2021 Mark Plourde and Charlie Ward Season 1 Episode 14
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
The CopDoc Podcast Ep 014 - Marc Plourde and Charlie Ward - Gainesville Police
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
The CopDoc Podcast Ep 014 - Marc Plourde and Charlie Ward - Gainesville Police
Mar 29, 2021 Season 1 Episode 14
Mark Plourde and Charlie Ward

We spoke with two Lieutenants from the Gainesville Police.  Lt. Marc Plourde and Lt. Charlie Ward proposed a leadership development program for the Gainesville, FL Police Department.  The program was adopted by the Chief and Command staff and is now running its fifth annual session.  The GPD Leadership Academy runs once a month, for a year and accepts 15-20 members each iteration.  

We chatted about the process, the approach, the required readings, the facilitators, and the discussion topics for this innovative program.  The topics of leadership and development were explored and the change in mindset by course attendees.  

Show Notes Transcript

We spoke with two Lieutenants from the Gainesville Police.  Lt. Marc Plourde and Lt. Charlie Ward proposed a leadership development program for the Gainesville, FL Police Department.  The program was adopted by the Chief and Command staff and is now running its fifth annual session.  The GPD Leadership Academy runs once a month, for a year and accepts 15-20 members each iteration.  

We chatted about the process, the approach, the required readings, the facilitators, and the discussion topics for this innovative program.  The topics of leadership and development were explored and the change in mindset by course attendees.  

[00:00:00.053] - Steve Morreale

Hi, everybody, this is Steve Morreale, and you're listening to The CopDoc Podcast today, we have the pleasure of talking to two lieutenants from Gainesville, Florida, the police department in Gainesville, Florida, Lieutenant Charlie Ward and Mark Plourde. And they're here to talk about something that's going on for the last little bit to try to develop leaders in their department. So good morning, gentlemen. Morning, Doc. One, thanks for being here. Appreciate your help.


[00:00:24.113] - Steve Morreale

So, gentlemen, before we get started to talk about the program that you're involved in, let's talk about the Gainesville Police Department in Florida. Can one of you tell us a thumbnail sketch of what the department is, how big it is in about Gainesville in the city?


[00:00:37.313] - Mark Plourde

Well, we're in the county of Alachua County. Our department is, I guess, what everyone asks, how big is your department? Everyone talks about the sworn side. So we have we're budgeted for, I believe, 289 sworn currently. We are. I guess like most agencies, we are down quite a few officers. We have I think on paper we're down about twenty- six officers. But if you actually ask like how many officers could put on a uniform and go shagger a call today we're down closer to 50, we've got several in the academy, some of in the FTO program.


[00:01:06.803] - Mark Plourde

So again, I know we're no different than most agencies were down quite a bit. Gainesville has about one hundred thirty five thousand is our population. But of course, we have the University of Florida and I believe that's about fifty thousand. So it's it's a good it's a decent sized city, decent sized agency for, you know, for our area. We're one of the larger agencies, Jacksonville, a little bigger than us. And the south of us to go to Orlando would probably be the next biggest agency.


[00:01:29.153] - Mark Plourde

And the rest are relatively smaller agencies around us.


[00:01:32.183] - Steve Morreale

OK, so you're both serving as lieutenant and tell us what you're doing on a day to day basis. What's your full time responsibilities?


[00:01:38.573] - Charlie Ward

So day to day right now, I'm one of our day shift watch commanders and basically what that entails is getting the shift ready. Brief in the morning, get the crew out. They hit the road, start answering calls for service and doing cop things. And unfortunately, it comes with this role. I get to generally get to a desk and start doing administrative things, listening to the guys and girls out, having fun. We're like Mark said, we're a little bit short staffed.


[00:02:01.883] - Charlie Ward

So guys and girls are humping it from start to finish. And as the day starts to wind down, I have to start knocking out some paperwork and getting things ready for the next shift. And then I am I'm assigned to the what's called the Patrol Support Bureau. And we have the canine unit, the traffic unit, our airport officers, our field service technicians. So it's like it says it's basically just a support group for four patrol.


[00:02:24.233] - Steve Morreale

So what brought you to my attention talking to Chief Mike Wynne up here in Pittsfield? And he indicated when I asked, hey, who should I talk to who's doing some innovative things in policing, you were the first names that came out of his mouth and he talked about a leadership development program. So I'd like you to talk about that. How did that happen? What caused it to happen and tell the audience what's going on and how it's going.


[00:02:45.023] - Charlie Ward

So it's been going for about five years now. We're on our fifth class currently, and Mark can get into the real beginnings. I'll give you kind of how I came into play in the program, got started. I get promoted to corporal years ago, and I remember day one. I'm not really in day one. I hadn't been officially made a corporal, but I get told, hey, you're going to be promoted to corporal. I see. Mark, first thing he says is this isn't the end.


[00:03:08.873] - Charlie Ward

This is the beginning. And asked if I knew what he was talking about and I really didn't, I was kind of still overtaken by the announcement that I was going to be promoted. And basically what he said is, hey, you're now on this leadership journey. You're there are so many things to learn. Do you read do you talk to people about leadership, so on and so forth. And as those conversations progressed and I grew, I got promoted to sergeant.


[00:03:29.833] - Charlie Ward

At that point, Mark had been a sergeant for a little while and we started talking, hey, you know where we at as an agency? What what is our agency provide leadership wise? For those of us that are getting promoted? What do we have? And at the time, we had a lot of management classes. Hey, here are things that need to be done. These boxes need to be checked. And there had not been. And it's not just our agency.


[00:03:50.213] - Charlie Ward

I want to make that clear. I think this industry as a whole, we didn't have a consistent platform for talking and learning leadership and dealing with people and building relationships. And so the more we talk, the more the program got started. And I'll let Mark kick off. It originated from some books and leadership styles we saw elsewhere. I'll let him get into that. But that's how it started from my perspective and on my side of the table.


[00:04:13.403] - Mark Plourde

And then, Doc, my point where it started was I was back in 2011, our chief put on a week long. I was called a leadership training block and it was more I think it was more of a management style like Charlie referred to as boxes that need to be checked, how to do use of force, how to do the timesheets, etc.. It's very little leadership training in there. However, what we did have a professor from Florida State University that did a block on leadership and he passed out a sheet with a bunch of books that he suggested reading.


[00:04:40.133] - Mark Plourde

And I really didn't think too much about it. But our current captain or my current captain right now was a sergeant at the time. I was a corporal on the sergeant's list. He had to leave early that day and he's walking out the door. He turns to the group and he holds up this piece of paper with these books on it. And he says, hey, guys, there's something to this I suggest suggest you guys read this. And honestly, I don't think I was gonna get promoted to sergeant.


[00:04:59.303] - Mark Plourde

So I said, well, if I were to get promoted, I'll start reading, not thinking it would ever come to fruition. Well, one day I got the call and I was promoted to sergeant. I'm like, oh, my God, I can start reading leadership books. And so I started I went home. I good leadership book and three books came up. The Five Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell, the front line leader by Chris Van Gelder, and Rising Through the ranks by Mike Wynne.


[00:05:19.043] - Mark Plourde

And I started reading them and I got hooked on learning about leadership. And the more I read, the more I realized how much I don't know about leadership. And so one of the books I just talked about was The Front Line Leader by Chris Van Gorder. Chris is the CEO of Scripps Health in San Diego, California. It's a conglomerate of about, I think that five or six hospitals. And what's it about? Chris was one time a he was actually a police officer years and years ago, and he was sort in the line of duty and had to take a medical retirement.


[00:05:45.923] - Mark Plourde

And he actually went back to start as a security guard at the hospital where he worked and went back to school and worked his way up and became CEO of Scripps. And what he realized when he became CEO, there was so much infighting within the organization and between the hospitals, and morale was terrible. The company was losing millions and millions of dollars. And he said, you know, as the CEO, I don't think I can write a memo and change the culture of this agency.


[00:06:06.413] - Mark Plourde

He goes, but I'll bet you my front line leaders can. So he formed what is called the Scripps Leadership Academy. And we have modeled hours after that. It's basically a year long program. We have anywhere from 15 to 20. We have a lot of sergeants, corporals, informal leaders. We have some civilian staff in our program and we meet one day a month. And last year we have a graduation and then we bring in the new group.


[00:06:25.703] - Mark Plourde

And you brought up Chief when in the beginning he has been so instrumental in the success of our program. He comes down twice a year, usually in February and November. I think this year it's March and November. And I'll give Charlie credit. Charlie, we'll figure out some guest speakers to bring in because, well, why don't we call the author of this book? I said, Charlie, I had a chance in the world, you're going to get this chief to come down to Florida.


[00:06:44.333] - Mark Plourde

Charlie cold called them that. A great conversation. And he's been coming down twice a year now for five years. So we're so indebted to him. And here we are and here we are with you because I have.


[00:06:52.883] - Steve Morreale

That's terrific. So let's talk a little bit about that. Clearly, what I'm hearing you talk about is that you have to invest in your people and you have to care about your people. You have to relate with your people, because if you walk out of that building pissed off, then the rest of the people you're going to encounter, you're going to come off potentially with a surly attitude. So leadership has a language unto itself. Charlie, you started to use some of the words, whether it's empowerment or it's empathy or it is accountability, expectations, relationships, you name it.


[00:07:18.443] - Steve Morreale

So you say that there's between 15 and 20 people who enroll in this academy. And so where do they come from? Is this voluntary?


[00:07:26.363] - Charlie Ward

Yes. Or so toward the end of the calendar year, we'll put out a notice saying, hey, we're starting to prep for next year's class summit. Basically, it's an application. It's not a formal application, but hey, submit paperwork with your desire to partake in the class and we kind of lay it out. Hey, it's year long. We meet once a month. Make sure your schedule can handle it. And we start taking the quote unquote applications at that point.


[00:07:47.543] - Charlie Ward

And in general, there's been probably each year this past year we didn't have any. But prior to that, there would be a couple people that unfortunately weren't able to partake. And from what I can recall, every time was either scheduling on behalf of the agency staffing wise with just our staffing didn't allow for it or they had a scheduling conflict. But aside from that, everybody that's put in has been able to partake in the class and those that were not able to in one year would be given the opportunity in the later years.


[00:08:13.223] - Charlie Ward

So that's how we kick it off. We start taking the interest there. It is voluntary, to be honest with you. I don't believe in going and telling somebody you need to go learn about leadership. I think Mark may differ a little bit with me on that, but my belief is either they want to learn leadership is is about learning, growing, in my opinion, getting better, building relationship, acknowledging error. And I want to be around individuals when we start talking leadership who have those same desires.


[00:08:37.763] - Steve Morreale

So the two of you, it seems to me, were I use the word Gen.. But you had this dream. You had this idea. Couldn't do it on your own. You had to sell something. How would you do that? How did you deal with the chief and the command staff to ask them to give you a chance to give this a try? That's a great question. You know, I think in most organizations, but it definitely I think in law enforcement, in our organization been historically when someone was promoted, a memo was sent out department wide.


[00:09:02.153] - Mark Plourde

They got a five percent raise. This magic wand was waved and poof, here they are, a supervisor and a leader. So we kind of went with that kind of argument to we set up a meeting with the chief. I think our our management that all command staff was there. We put a PowerPoint together and we sat they gave us a half hour and we sat down with them and we presented it. And thankfully and again, we're so appreciative to this day that they gave us the blessing and we went forward with it.


[00:09:24.683] - Charlie Ward

It was I mean, it was much like we are right here with a presentation on our part, per say. But it was a lot of conversation, a lot of, hey, chief, especially for me, I was a fairly new sergeant at the time. I want to learn to do better. This organization deserves people that want to do better in their supervisory roles. Part of that's leadership. And I'm missing something. And here's an opportunity to bring leadership to the agency consistently one week at a time, every couple of years.


[00:09:50.483] - Charlie Ward

Or this is something from inside the agency that a couple of your supervisors want to do to make the people better. And like Mark said, much to their credit. Everybody in. The room acknowledged that, yes, we needed to do better for the leadership at the department and that they liked the program we presented and here we are, five classes later and we're talking along.


[00:10:10.133] - Steve Morreale

So we're talking to Mark and Charlie, Charlie Ward and Mark Plourde at the Gainesville Police Department and talking about the leadership academy that they established now in its fifth year. So talk us through the sort of things that this consists of, what kind of learning goes on, what kind of investment to people have to make in their own future? What kind of tell me what kind of a class it is? Is it lecture? Is it discussion? Is there there's something is there writing is the reflection.


[00:10:37.703] - Steve Morreale

How do you drive through these ideas of leadership, these concepts?


[00:10:41.693] - Mark Plourde

Again, I want to talk about just how our typical day goes every day starts off with a question and answer session about an hour to an hour and a half with our chief and or one of our assistant chiefs. And especially the class gets given a very unique opportunity that a lot of officers in most agencies don't get that forum with the chief. So they have about an hour and a half to ask questions about things going on in the agency, the chiefs or assistant chiefs, leadership philosophy, what they want from from the troops, what they expect from their front line leaders.


[00:11:07.233] - Mark Plourde

After that, we have usually we have a book that we go through one or two books a year. And then we always read The Five Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell as we have reading assignments coming into class. And then we'll have almost like a book review, a book club, we call it. We'll talk about that for a while. We always bring in a guest speaker, for instance, and we talk about Chief Wade, Chris Van Gorder from California, from who usually does a resume with us or in January, our first class.


[00:11:29.033] - Mark Plourde

This year, we brought in Ed Jimenez, who is the CEO of UF Health Shands, which is our level one trauma center here in town. And he's kicked off every year for us in January. We have different guest speakers. We have Jack Lannigan, who is the lieutenant in Aurora, Colorado, who was a brand new lieutenant the night of the Aurora the Century Twenty one movie shooting. We bring a teenage girl who does a lot of mental health and with officers and things of that nature.


[00:11:51.503] - Mark Plourde

So we try to bring in a lot of different guest speakers. After that, we usually have we have a session called Closing the Gap, where we will bring in folks from different areas, sometimes within the agency, sometimes outside people that we work with, maybe on a regular basis. But we don't know much about what they do with their expectations. So, for instance, next year for classes Monday, we're bringing in some folks from the combined communications center, our dispatchers, just to share just what we start building.


[00:12:14.183] - Mark Plourde

The relationship end of the year of the last six months. We take a part of the classroom and we divide the class into groups. They do a group project, something to try to address within our agency to make it a little better, etc.. More on this, Charlie.


[00:12:24.803] - Charlie Ward

No, just to go back and you mentioned what do the individuals have to invest in? First and foremost, they have to invest themselves into this path of leadership, this desire to learn how to do better for the people they work with and work around so that one investment, you take time and we do it a day, a month, and sometimes with scheduling, I mean, people have families, kids, hobbies, staffing here at the department. So the time investment, you wouldn't think a day, a month is a big deal.


[00:12:50.543] - Charlie Ward

It really is. And that's just to go to the class. So we talk about Mark mentioned it'll be book assignment. So what will happen is between the class. So the first six months we're going through five levels of leadership. They have to read the intro and then each level we want them to go through before the next class. And then we discuss that. Well, that takes time for them to sit down. Some individuals I like audio books myself.


[00:13:10.583] - Charlie Ward

I can really get through some material driving around, but that takes time away from whatever it is they want to do outside of work. And the one important thing we win the day up with is we call it lessons learned. And it's a kind of a roundtable discussion with everybody that says, hey, what did you take away from today? And sometimes people took away the same. There was something it was brought up some topic that really struck most of the people.


[00:13:33.873] - Charlie Ward

And then other times everybody has something different. They learn, but they each have to contribute in some way or that discussion. And we try to make it very open. The form and form is very open. It gives people the opportunity to discuss, and it's about learning and growing and getting involved in leadership. And that means we're going to have differences of opinion. So people have to come in knowing that, you know what, there's something I'm going to say that somebody else is not going to agree with, and we're going to have an open, honest discussion about it.


[00:13:58.133] - Charlie Ward

And we walk away patting each other on the back, say, you know what, I may not agree with what you're saying, but I understand what your point of view is. Well, isn't it, gentlemen?


[00:14:05.183] - Steve Morreale

Isn't that just a lesson in working the street, too? Because we have to understand why people don't necessarily like police, why people are calling on us to fund what the Black Lives Matter movement is about, not just what we see, but what's underneath it. So it causes or potentially to understand the other side, whether we agree with it or not. A couple of things. It sounds to me like you are pushing for no passive learning. It's active learning.


[00:14:28.823] - Steve Morreale

You are actively engaged. But how do you facilitate that discussion? Who runs the who draws people into those conversations? Is that you two?


[00:14:37.113] - Mark Plourde

That's a good question Doc.  We, Charlie and I, we we have said from the beginning, we're not we don't think that we're the great leaders. We don't we don't claim to be we don't teach leadership, so to speak. We kind of facilitate the discussion. And one of the things we get are routinely almost every on our end of year evaluations that the folks say about the class that they really liked is one they get to meet and be with folks that they usually want to get to know in the agency if it wasn't for this class.


[00:14:58.043] - Mark Plourde

Because, I mean, it's like, you know, the first class is. Always usually was real quiet and timid, but tough all the time by the by December, we're going to be all very, very close. And the other thing that people say involves all the time is they get so much out of our group discussion and we and some of them get really heated. Some voices get raised every now and then, but they always, always comes back around to some really good conclusions and real good, real good discussions.


[00:15:19.993] - Mark Plourde

That really opens a lot of eyes and will say people will say at the end, I didn't know this. I've learned this in the lessons learned segments. It was usually something that comes out of our group discussion.


[00:15:28.853] - Steve Morreale

Well, certainly a good facilitator will guide that discussion and let it happen. All right. So I see you're emotional, you're upset. You've got a point of view. Where can we go from here? And one of the things that or several the things that's being discussed over and over again is de-escalation as mental health and mental health interventions, those kinds of things. I can only presume that these are the things that are issues that you're talking about, about how we handle them.


[00:15:49.513] - Steve Morreale

Peeling back the onion. What could we do better? Is, is that a good


[00:15:53.503] - Charlie Ward

100% if you go through them? And when you look at this list of different speakers, we have come such a wide variety. So just to going off of what you just mentioned within a Jakiel, I mean, that's her background. One hundred percent is mental health and mental health and law enforcement and military. So we bring her and she generally is a four to five hour block of discussion.


[00:16:12.763] - Charlie Ward

And then after that, it's open forum, bouncing ideas back and forth between the people in the class. And then what she has seen based on all of her teachings and experiences at other agencies. And then flip the script a little bit with Jad Lannigan. His entire day is discussion on critical incident, managing and supervising a critical incident in this case, one of the worst ones in the country's history. And then what happened after and going into that mental health portion of law enforcement that quite some time had not been discussed.


[00:16:40.063] - Charlie Ward

And the things he experienced, what he saw and what he would have liked, what he is improved upon and what he would recommend. Hey, here at the Gainesville Police Department, if this ever happened, there are some things that are going to happen with your staff. They are going to go through some of these things and there is a process in place to help them through it. Here's what we did. Does that make sense?


[00:16:58.123] - Steve Morreale

It makes perfect sense. I was just about to talk about that. In other words, what about the impact on the things that police officers are called on to do? And if you're in charge, what do you do? Do you talk about them or you just bury them? And I think that's important. Here's something that is is jumping at me, and that is when you have selected people who are speaking, it's not just police. And that's so impressive because I think that we in policing and I count myself as a former practitioner, we have had a tendency to look only at policing and leading is about people no matter what.


[00:17:30.253] - Steve Morreale

So you bring in somebody from Shands and you bring in somebody from Scripps. And here are outsiders that are talking about leadership to police. Does that convert well? Does that translate well to the people who were in the room?


[00:17:43.843] - Charlie Ward

Absolutely. And I think that was part of our focus in the beginning. We did not want only law enforcement. We want you just said the reason why, because it's about people. It's about relationships. And the people don't change just because we're cops. We do different jobs and we may witness and see different things and feel different things and act in a different way than some other types of professions that are out there. But you're still working with people and people still have feelings and people still have emotions.


[00:18:08.653] - Charlie Ward

And we all interject our own personalities into our day to day work. So the same, if we want to call it problems. I mean, we have problems within our agency, just like every other agency and every other business out there. But the problems, they may not be the same outside of law enforcement, but they're similar. So when you talk to organizations and leaders from that arena, it still correlates. And the way we interact with people and the relationships we build, it's the same.


[00:18:34.343] - Steve Morreale

And, you know, at first what cops say, what does he know about my job? What the hell is he going to offer me?


[00:18:39.163] - Steve Morreale

Where does the change begin to happen? You know, I think leadership is leadership, whether it's at law enforcement, outside of law enforcement and the other speakers we brought in. And I think it goes back to the about the books we've read, most of the books we've read about leadership are non law. And so one of the first books I read, and this was before Mark and I were having discussions, I read it because on the personal side, I can be a bit of an introvert.


[00:18:59.323] - Charlie Ward

So I wanted to kind of start work on my way out of that, if I could, how to win friends and influence people. Dale Carnegie from early nineteen hundreds, I believe, and he's talking business. But in the book the whole not the whole book but a good portion. It's all relationships and how you interact with people along the way. And that translates day to day. What we do here. Still one of my favorite books and this isn't a law enforcement officer.


[00:19:19.903] - Charlie Ward

This is decades and decades before I was born even. And yet the material, because it's dealing with people, still translates to what we need to do to that.


[00:19:28.273] - Steve Morreale

Well, to me, it's like Peel's principles of policing. Those still ring true today and those who are back from the eighteen hundred in England. And sometimes we have to sit back and say, and I think the question you have to ask in my estimation is why are you here? Why are you staying? And is there were pride when they finish? Is there a pride in completion of your program?


[00:19:47.113] - Mark Plourde

Say, Yeah, I've gotten some really great reviews out of your is this the best leadership class I've taken is the best class I've taken. We have at the end we have a ceremony where everyone gets a plaque or certificate and you walk around the building. We've had 60. Five that have gone through our our academy and the ones that are now have their own offices, you will see our cubicles, you'll see their Leadership Academy plaque sitting in their desk, hanging on their wall.


[00:20:09.443] - Mark Plourde

So, yeah, there is I think there is a lot of pride. And again, hopefully that's a right. And I think one of the main goals that Charlie and I have for the leadership, because we want when they when they get here, we want them to realize that leadership isn't a destination. You don't get promoted, say, oh, wow, I made it. This is just the beginning. We hope that when they leave after the year, they realize that leadership is a skill.


[00:20:27.653] - Mark Plourde

That's something that could be acquired, practiced, developed.


[00:20:30.533] - Mark Plourde

And I think we see that here over and over, too.


[00:20:33.833] - Steve Morreale

So as you grow with 65 people, how do you measure the outcome, the change?


[00:20:39.203] - Charlie Ward

That is a tough one. And I wish there was a metric. And, you know, I would bet at least once a week we have this discussion and it give you the question, have we made it a goal in the beginning was can we shift culture within our agency from where it was? And we have shifted the culture. And I say we I'm sorry. We when I say we, it's the group of people that have been involved in this class.


[00:21:00.053] - Charlie Ward

We as a whole. And that's a bunch of people. The culture has changed. Is it what we thought it would be? I don't know. And I don't I don't think there's a metric. But I think if you go and ask, we have different people that have gone through the class, hey, after this year long discussion, if you will, with everybody, this class you went to for a whole year, did it make a difference in your work life or even if it didn't in your work?


[00:21:21.863] - Charlie Ward

I did it in your home life. Was there a difference made with you as a person? And I have not had anybody that I've asked that yet say no. So if there was a metric, maybe that's it. One hundred percent of the people I've asked that this class make a positive difference in some fashion with you. Everyone that I have asked has said yes.


[00:21:37.523] - Mark Plourde

I think leadership is like if you look at it like either when you go on a diet or you go into some, you're going to exercise more day to day. You get so frustrated if you look for changes.


[00:21:46.583] - Mark Plourde

I think if you if we look back on the year, each year we look back and we look back five years, I think we've made a change and try to up to one of the I think one of the nicest compliments we got about our program is actually from one of the sergeants who went through our first year at the very end of the year when we were going around the table. So, you know, what did you get out of this program?


[00:22:02.243] - Charlie Ward

He said this program made me a better father. That was impactful. Yeah, it was huge. I did something we didn't I never considered until Sergeant Hayes said that. Until he said that, I'm like, wow. And this impact, this class impacted somebody's life outside of work in a positive way.


[00:22:18.293] - Steve Morreale

That's why you do it. And that's nice feedback for sure. I think that's really neat when we talk about evidence-based policing or we talk about procedural justice, these conversations that you have there, what about using teachable moments and kind of driving that through the academy? Are you doing that? You see what happens in Minneapolis and George Floyd. And it seems to me an agency must have a conversation about that or it may repeat what happened. How do you have those conversations about take this opportunity, guys and gals, to talk to the people who you are invested in, who you're responsible for, and let's see what we can do to minimize those things from happening in the Gainesville Police Department.


[00:22:56.813] - Steve Morreale

Those conversations that you have


[00:22:58.403] - Charlie Ward

They do end up happening and I cannot quote the year, but as we start as procedural justice at our department started being discussed, rolled out, if you will, it naturally rolled into our class and the discussions were had, hey, is our agency doing what is expected? And presently the answer across the board was, yeah, well, if you want to look at bullet points, do we do this? Yes.


[00:23:18.983] - Charlie Ward

Do we do this? Yes. Do we do this? Absolutely. We felt as an agency, we were way ahead of the curve. So we have those discussions and the Leadership Academy, that open forum brings it to the forefront, especially when, unfortunately, you have unfortunate incidents that unfold across the country. But the ripple effect is nationwide and it rolls itself into our academy discussion. Hey, what is the thought? What is your perception of Minneapolis?


[00:23:43.133] - Charlie Ward

What happened in Minneapolis, the after effects? What would we do here if we start having the same type of the riot situations that they're experiencing? What what would we do here? Have we discussed it and what is the plan going to be? And it's not something that the Leadership Academy itself is going to be able to deal with as an agency stance to be taken. But the discussion starts in there and then it furthers itself outside of the class to the administration.


[00:24:07.313] - Charlie Ward

Hey, have we thought about this? Maybe the topic comes up and we have a good, honest discussion in the class and there's some resolution that come about that we can push off to the administration. And this was discussed in the class, take it or leave it. Basically, that's not the best way to put it. We discussed this in the class and this is what we think may be an opportunity or option for the agency in a given situation.


[00:24:29.033] - Charlie Ward

Does that make sense?


[00:24:29.693] - Steve Morreale

It does, because one of the questions I was going to ask is how do you move it outside? You've got fifteen or twenty brains in there, twenty, fifteen or twenty people in that class. My concern with training has always been we send you to training, it's in your head, we pay for it, and then it's rests in your head. We don't share it anywhere else. So it sounds to me like what you're saying is when elements of a discussion come out, somehow you're transmitting it back to command staff.


[00:24:54.473] - Charlie Ward

So the great thing when you go back to the day to day lineup, we start every day. With really two topics, which we didn't go in, one, because it's a smaller portion, but we have a captain that also sits in the class with us as a facilitator as well, so that captain will have some of the information that's needed when when people ask questions, he or she may have those answers. And on the flip side, as the discussion happens, if there's something that he or she can take back to the administrative level, to upper command staff, then then you have that transfer of information back and forth followed up with that is the question and answer sessions with the chief and or assistant chiefs.


[00:25:27.933] - Charlie Ward

The topics come up. So if there is a new role out of a policy and people don't either understand it, maybe they disagree with it, whatever the case may be, naturally it's going to come up during that question and answer session and it gives the bosses the opportunity to say, here's why we're doing X, Y or Z. On the flip side, as there's discussion at the command level on things that are happening elsewhere in the country and concerns they have not that the agency is doing wrong, but that, hey, perception of law enforcement is what it is.


[00:25:56.313] - Charlie Ward

Here's what we're thinking about doing in the future to offset that. And they can push the information out to the Leadership Academy group, which hopefully then takes it back to their respective areas. Terrific. Mark?


[00:26:06.483] - Mark Plourde

Mark, I think myself, you said something earlier, and that is, you know, we're not leadership gurus within our leadership training. I don't necessarily agree with that based on what you're telling me. But I will tell you, and I think it's important, it's not one and done as you experience. Right. Leadership is an evolutionary process. I've been a student of leadership probably for 30 years, and I still don't know it. I'm still learning constantly.


[00:26:26.553] - Charlie Ward

I learn from students. I really do learn from students. But and I also think that you recognize that leadership is a process. It's not a position. We started to talk about elite, the language of leadership, the process of leadership. And is that something that is driven through the academy, that concept that those bars and those stars and those stripes do not in itself make you a leader, your actions make you a leader, your relationships, your reflective ability to reflect on what you did and how you might have screwed up so that you learn from that.


[00:26:54.873] - Steve Morreale

But what's your take on that?


[00:26:55.963] - Mark Plourde

Absolutely? One of the one of the things, especially in John Maxwells, five levels of leadership that we spend the most time on is that first level, which is position of leadership. And just because you're giving a leadership position, like you said, you're given the stripes or the bars that didn't make you a leader. It was an opportunity to become a leader. And so we bring that up constantly in our group, which was this is a journey.



This is not a destination. We've all got a lot to learn.


[00:27:19.383] - Steve Morreale

And so management and leadership, I would think that's the first thing that you will talk about, the differences and the distinctive differences. It's hard to do because I think the idea of leadership is almost misplaced. Management is leadership and leadership and management. Well, how would you address that? What's your take on that? What are the distinct or subtle differences between the two? And most of you have to do both. Yeah, I think to actually complement each other very well.


[00:27:43.173] - Mark Plourde

However, I mean, I look at management as you manage things, you lead people, you manage checkbooks and are we manage rosters, we manage our time sheets, we manage our report, and then we actually lead the people. I think you need both. But I think historically there's just so much emphasis is much more on the management side of things than the leadership side of things.


[00:28:04.323] - Charlie Ward

So I think that is I think because going back to how do you evaluate what you did or how good you were, you can effectively look at different management topics or decisions and say, this was good, this was good, this was good, this was bad. This person completed X, Y and Z. But when you flip to leadership, how do you say this person did? Good leader. There's nothing in our manual. There's nothing that says, you know what?


[00:28:28.023] - Charlie Ward

Today Charlie did a good job in leadership because of this. You know what I'm saying? I do.


[00:28:33.153] - Steve Morreale

So you rolled out a while ago problem-solving and I read that. Tell me the mindset of the people you are hiring and the transformation you attempt. In other words, here are the expectations. How do you drive those expectations, both of you, to the people who work for you? How do you have those conversations now? We're not talking about the Leadership Academy, but we're talking about bringing somebody in, sitting them down. This is the Gainesville Police Department.


[00:28:57.123] - Steve Morreale

We have pride. These are our expectations. How do your sergeants and lieutenants and corporals have those conversations? So in my realm right now, it's probably a little simpler because I'm with the group every day and we start the day together and the expectations are easier to lay out because I can have that discussion in our briefing. Hey, you know, whether it's something for the day right now, we've had a significant increase in traffic fatalities. So the agencies desire right now for especially the patrol side of the agency, the operations staff is let's go out and do a couple of things.


[00:29:30.243] - Charlie Ward

We want to educate. We want to get we're a community oriented policing agency. So let's go out and talk with individuals in the area where these problems are happening. It's the biggest one right now is we have two two locations, one being near campus. It makes sense. You have a lot of people crossing streets. Right. So let's go out and talk with them about safety, traffic safety, pedestrian safety. On top of that, let's do some enforcement.


[00:29:51.723] - Charlie Ward

Let's increase our presence and the hopes of decreasing or minimizing loss of life due to traffic crashes. And that is a they. He has a number of goals, but that's one of the top ones now coming through my command. So in the briefing, hey, this is the desire for the current period we're in, we need to decrease traffic fatalities or at least make an attempt to. Here's how we're going to do it. Here's what I need from the officers that work this sector.


[00:30:16.663] - Charlie Ward

If you're not out doing enforcement, education is an option. And I don't know if that answers.


[00:30:22.513] - Steve Morreale

Let me begin to wrap up. What are you doing to try to change and improve the academy? What are the things that you're saying? We tried that. Let's try that and what's on the horizon for the academy?


[00:30:32.383] - Mark Plourde

I think that's a couple of things. One, I think, you know, we're always looking to bring in different speakers just to give our folks a different leadership philosophy, I think. And one of the things that we are always trying to we're going to talk about, but one of the most, I think one of the most difficult things about the Leadership Academy that we go through this every year is that some of our folks are not happy with administration.


[00:30:52.663] - Mark Plourde

Let's say they think that all of the captains, so-and-so or assistant chief so-and-so or the chief should be in here listening to this guest speaker. They need to hear this. And we are always and one thing is we're always trying to we always have to come back to is this is not about anyone else besides us. This is not about changing our administration. This is about us as a group. And what can when we leave each day, when we get done with our training class and we go back to our little worlds of what impact we make for the people that we work.


[00:31:18.673] - Mark Plourde

So I think we're always striving to emphasize that.


[00:31:21.373] - Charlie Ward

So the first couple of years we focused on, aside from the open forums and the group discussions and the speakers, we had a couple of different books and we would go through those books. And at the end of the year we sat back and looked for the first couple of years and said, you know, was that effective? Was the discussion brought about from the book? Was it effective in some of the books? Yes, some of them were, no.


[00:31:39.553] - Charlie Ward

So obviously, the ones that were that didn't produce what we wanted to, we weeded those out. But it got to a point where, like, you know, is there a way to do something out of the Leadership Academy that will bring value back to the agency aside from the individual growth that comes? And so we instituted or implemented the last six months. We brought in group projects. So we spend an hour of that day. Each month, groups are put together and they come up on their own, a plan or an area within the department that they can improve or bring value back to the agency.


[00:32:09.613] - Charlie Ward

And they spend the next six months working on this particular problem that they have identified. And in the end, they present it to the chief and assistant chief and say, hey, we saw this is a problem, here's a solution. Right? That's that's always people complain all the time, but we don't hear solutions as much as we would like.


[00:32:25.123] - Steve Morreale

Chalie, are those solutions actually adopted at times.


[00:32:28.603] - Charlie Ward

So I'll give you one last year that the last class that was phenomenal was that we had some night shift personnel and they said, you know, it would be awesome. I have seen lights that different agencies have given to their night shift officers that clip onto their vest, that it's a small light. It illuminates like, let's say you're out either taking down information on a notepad, writing a table or whatever it may be at night. Normally you stick your flashlight under your arm and that illuminates.


[00:32:50.743] - Charlie Ward

But it cumbersome and also safety wise could present a problem with these lights clipped on your vest. So you're not having to hold it. And we don't have that. And it would be nice to have that. So the group, you know, put their heads together, worked with some of the administrative personnel at the department, found money, purchase lights and rolled it out to the entire night shift.


[00:33:06.433] - Steve Morreale

In other words, positive stuff. All right. So two things as we wind down, given that you've been at this for five years, given that you're a good sized police department and right next to you have other agencies take a notice, have other agencies come to look at what you do? In other words, have you provided potential model for what other agencies might do to do something similar?


[00:33:26.863] - Mark Plourde

Not really. I mean, don't be wrong. We have I do think we've done a real good job of publicizing what we've done doing wrong. We would love to. We would love to. Charlie and I could talk about this all day. Yes. And yeah, we would love the opportunity to share this with with other agencies maybe that are interested. We submitted just this week, submitted a proposal to speak at the ICP at one of the breakout sessions.


[00:33:47.623] - Steve Morreale

Great way to spread the word for sure. How would people get in touch with you guys?


[00:33:51.733] - Charlie Ward

Email, phone, email, so we can provide you whatever?


[00:33:54.733] - Steve Morreale

OK, we'll put that on the show notes for people who may be listening, which is terrific and that I appreciate. So on your bucket list, what's on your bucket list, Charlie?


[00:34:02.623] - Charlie Ward

So for the Leadership Academy,


[00:34:04.693] - Steve Morreale

No, maybe not for the Leadership Academy, your bucket list. What do you want to do? Take your cop hat and badge off? What do you want to do?


[00:34:12.253] - Steve Morreale

What's something that you would like to do?


[00:34:14.443] - Charlie Ward

I've got a couple of things. One, one. So here's my future. I'm want to end up out west and I'm going to hunt a lot. That's my my bucket list.


[00:34:21.943] - Steve Morreale

OK, what's your definition of West where you're going to go? Idaho?


[00:34:24.863] - Charlie Ward

Oh, west of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Arizona. And in I mean the West, not not quite the California and Oregon and Washington.


[00:34:36.103] - Charlie Ward

But just short of that, I love that area, the country. I go out there and visit as much as I can. I love to hunt. And so me getting to spend as much time out there and getting my family involved in that is that's my bucket list. That's my goal. Hopefully that's where I wind up in several years and get to close out my time here on Earth in the wilderness of the western part of the country.



Terrific. How about you, Mark?


[00:34:58.183] - Mark Plourde

I've been working on my PhD the last few years, and I've kind of hit a few six months as the pandemic years, just I'm not putting as much effort into it as I should. So my bucket list is to I need to I'm just on I'm on the dissertation side of now. I've done all the classes. I just want to push through and get it done. So that's my way.


[00:35:15.313] - Steve Morreale

Where are you working on it?


[00:35:16.063] - Mark Plourde

Nova Southeastern.


[00:35:16.943] - Steve Morreale

That's where I got mine. Where I got mine. I can help. Let me know. Well, we've come to the end. We've been lucky enough to talk to two lieutenants from the Gainesville Police Department, Charlie Ward and Mark Plourde. They, along with others, suggested the development of the Leadership Academy at Gainesville, Florida Police Department. It has been a pleasure to talk with both of you gentlemen. Thanks, doc.


[00:35:37.423] - Mark Plourde

It's been quite an honor to speak with you as well. Thank you.


[00:35:39.853] - Charlie Ward

Yes, sir.  Thank you.


[00:35:40.873] - Steve Morreale

Well, we're hoping that what you've done and others that will hear this may very well consider this, because the last thing I'll say to you, I think that while we model ourselves in the likeness of the military, we don't really do that good a job. Nobody's going to get promoted in the military without going to training before and after. And you know what happens with policing. Congratulations, you're in. You start tonight. What the hell am I going to do with this?


[00:36:05.713] - Steve Morreale

I can see the chuckles and I can hear the chuckle so we can certainly do a better job of preparing people. And I appreciate the work that you're doing. It's very impressive. You've been listening to Steve Morreale in Boston and this is The CopDoc Podcast. Make sure you listen to upcoming episodes. Thanks for listening today.