The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

Dr. Gary Cordner - The CopDoc Podcast Ep 016 - Academic Director Baltimore Police Academy

April 12, 2021 Dr. Gary Cordner Season 1 Episode 16
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
Dr. Gary Cordner - The CopDoc Podcast Ep 016 - Academic Director Baltimore Police Academy
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
Dr. Gary Cordner - The CopDoc Podcast Ep 016 - Academic Director Baltimore Police Academy
Apr 12, 2021 Season 1 Episode 16
Dr. Gary Cordner

We interview Dr. Gary Cordner, the Academic Director of the Baltimore Police Department.  Gary has been a police officer, police chief, professor, Academic Dean, and Research Director at the National Institute of Justice, in the LEADS program.

We chatted about the current state of policing, national standards, leadership, and training for police officers.  We discussed the efforts of the Baltimore police in enhancing training to meet the requirements of a Consent Decree with the U.S. Department of Justice  

Show Notes Transcript

We interview Dr. Gary Cordner, the Academic Director of the Baltimore Police Department.  Gary has been a police officer, police chief, professor, Academic Dean, and Research Director at the National Institute of Justice, in the LEADS program.

We chatted about the current state of policing, national standards, leadership, and training for police officers.  We discussed the efforts of the Baltimore police in enhancing training to meet the requirements of a Consent Decree with the U.S. Department of Justice  

[00:00:00.055] - Steve Morreale

Well, hello, everybody, this is Steve Morreale from Boston, and you're listening to The CopDoc Podcast. Today, I have the pleasure to talk to Dr. Gary Cordner, a colleague from many years ago, now active in police education, police training, and we're talking to him from Maryland today. So good morning, Gary. Good morning. Why don't you tell us about yourself, your history, how you came to policing and the steps along the way, your trajectory in and out of policing, police education and CJ education.


[00:00:27.985] - Gary Cordner

Thanks. So be glad to warning to your listeners I'm old, so my trajectory is long. That's OK.


[00:00:36.055] - Gary Cordner

I actually came up into your neck of the woods, Steve, for my undergraduate education. I went to Northeastern to get a degree in criminal justice out of high school. And as you would know, maybe some of your listeners know North-Eastern very strong with what they call co-op cooperative education, at least it was back then and still is. And I follow that path. So it was a five-year bachelor interspersed every three or six months with working some kind of thing.


[00:01:00.805] - Gary Cordner

So anyway, a native Marylander. And so my very first co-op job was with the Baltimore Police Department very first, why I eventually had like five cop jobs, but that was my very first one who was unpaid and so was more probably the equivalent of an internship in most people's minds. But I'm proud to say that that that was 50 years ago. And today I'm back working for the Baltimore Police Department and I'm actually getting paid. So that's that's a good part of it, too.


[00:01:28.105] - Steve Morreale

So it's almost like I don't mean to cut you off, but it's almost like the circle of life. Things happen strangely. So along the path, what did you do as you got out of college?


[00:01:36.925] - Gary Cordner

So I worked as a police officer in Maryland, but not in Baltimore just because the other place offered me a full time job first. And I ended up working there for three years. And then my mentor back at North-Eastern, who was Bob Qiam, had always told me that I should think about getting a little more education and that if I ever thought I would, that I should go to Michigan State because he had taught there before northeaster. And so after a few years of being a cop, I decided, OK, I'll go get a Masters applied to Michigan State.


[00:02:01.975] - Gary Cordner

Got accepted, went and got sucked into higher ed, more or less. I honestly, when I first went to Northeastern with the intention of getting the Masters, I didn't even know what a PhD was. I mean, not only was it not my plan, I had never heard of one. At least that's my recollection. But they were nice to me and they gave me opportunities and I ended up staying there for years instead of one came out with a PhD.


[00:02:21.565] - Gary Cordner

And then it was like, OK, what am I going to do now? And I did teaching jobs a couple of different places altogether. I was out teaching in universities for three and a half years when I sort of started to get the itch again and I hadn't gotten it all out of my system, if you will. And so then I did a crazy thing. I started applying for police chief jobs. Not that I was probably qualified, but it was just seemed like something I might want to try to do.


[00:02:42.205] - Gary Cordner

And at that point, believe it or not, I had actually already coauthored a police administration textbook with Bob Sheehan. So start applying around for police chief jobs and was getting nowhere. Those goofy college professor with practically no experience trying to be a police chief somewhere. And then I just lucked out. Did get the chief's job in a small town in Maryland, my home state. Just a little funny story about that. I was so proud to get the job.


[00:03:05.005] - Gary Cordner

Eventually found out that it was like the third time they had advertised the job. They had picked two or three other people who then turned it down when they found out how low the pay actually was. So I was so proud to get it. And I was like, you know, they were they had to settle for me. But anyway, I did that police chief job for three years was a great experience. We went really, really well.


[00:03:24.295] - Gary Cordner

I probably stayed just long enough, you know, to enjoy the honeymoon period and not long enough to get into serious trouble and then ended up back in Hirut and then ended up doing thirty one years in higher ed all together, most of it at Eastern Kentucky University, a place that I really appreciate it eventually even served as a dean there for five and a half years. And then, you did a few things after that, taught in Pennsylvania sort of second teaching career, ended up doing some work for the National Institute of Justice with the program they have called Lead Scholars, which was a really nice gig.


[00:03:51.985] - Gary Cordner

The lead scholars were mid-career police officers with an interest in research and education and basically supporting them, mentoring them, helping them in their career progression. Very nice experience. And I also got to do some international work with ISATAP, which is an agency of the Department of Justice, and actually got to have a pretty, pretty extensive hand in police reform in Ukraine to this day is something I'm really proud of and hope to get back just to keep in touch with it.


[00:04:16.525] - Gary Cordner

And then a year and a half ago, I saw this job for the academic director in the police academy, Baltimore Police, and applied for it. I was lucky enough to get it. So, as you said, circle life back in Baltimore, which I was literally born in Baltimore. My folks grew up in Baltimore. So I get the sort of wind down my career trying to do something useful for a change.


[00:04:35.845] - Steve Morreale

Well, what a story and what a trajectory and what a weave with a couple of detours here and there. So now here you are in a time and a place where policing is under such fire and you're dealing with trying, I presume, to improve the curriculum at the academy. So let's talk about training and training standards and your perspective there. What strikes me is that. As we go from state to state and having been abroad like yourself, weather, sometimes our singular organizations, and it's much easier to to to drive through a standard.


[00:05:09.225] - Steve Morreale

We've got 17-18000 different police departments and countless police academies with varying stages. And, you know, Gary, some people will come out as a police officer a full-fledged police officer after 10 or 12 weeks and others, it takes 30. And you have to wonder, I presume, because I certainly wonder what the hell is that gap and what are people missing? So what's your take on what's going on in terms of standards, your view of what Baltimore is trying to do to to help these young men and women who come into the business, learn how to interact and how to understand?


[00:05:42.495] - Steve Morreale

What's your take on that?


[00:05:44.205] - Gary Cordner

A big question, Steve? You and I both had the experience of traveling internationally and interacting with police and trying to explain to them the American system and how crazily fragmented it is. And specifically, as you pointed out, how short training can be in comparison to what's used in some other countries, not all. I actually think our system of training and not to mention policing is not as crazy as they as it sounds to them somehow or another works out.


[00:06:09.255] - Gary Cordner

And even in terms of our training, as you know, when people come to police training in the US, they typically most of them typically have had at least some college might just be a few credits here and there, but maybe close to a third have even got a college degree. So when you build that into the profile of the people that go through our police training and then we give them 10, 12, 16, 18, 30 weeks, whatever it is of what we call police academy training, it's it's actually built on top of probably more education than is true in a lot of other countries.


[00:06:41.325] - Gary Cordner

So sometimes I think the comparisons that are made are deceiving when they pointed our system and say, oh, my gosh, how could you do that little. But anyway, that aside, it is a really challenging time. Let me let me tell you the situation we're in in Baltimore, which is not unique, but it's specific. And we're under what's called a consent decree. And so we're under the jurisdiction of a federal judge. And the city of Baltimore signed a consent decree something like five years ago now, which as I forget exactly.


[00:07:07.395] - Gary Cordner

And I think maybe 400 paragraphs and Baltimore doesn't get out from under that consent decree until it demonstrates compliance with 400 hundred paragraphs. It's daunting, frankly. Anyway, a lot of them pertain to training. And so in Baltimore over the last several years, the training has actually changed a lot, not because necessarily because people in Baltimore were smart enough to figure out what they should do, but because the outsiders are telling us we have to do it and we have to do it to their satisfaction or else will be under a consent decree forever in terms of giving in-service personnel some quality training that many of them hadn't had for some time.


[00:07:45.855] - Gary Cordner

Let me stop there. State of Maryland requires every police officer to have at least 18 hours a year of in-service training. Baltimore, of course, had always met that. In fact, it always exceeded it. Unfortunately, in the past, what Baltimore PD would mostly do, and I think this is true of a lot of police department, is they'd give every officer the same one week of in-service training and it was probably close to 40 hours of death by PowerPoint.


[00:08:07.605] - Gary Cordner

And most of the officers in the department regarded the training as wasteful, uninteresting, close to useless. Not every little bit of that, of course, but largely just kind of a game. And so we stopped doing that starting maybe two years ago now, typically putting on two day courses that everybody has to go through that are sort of intensely adult learning oriented, intensely engaging and clearly up to snuff in terms of content as well. And the officers in the police department and raved about the are raving about and continue to rave about the training that we now deliver them because it's not a waste of their time.


[00:08:41.415] - Gary Cordner

They used to just really dread, dread the sort of research and for the dread having to go to training and now they don't.


[00:08:48.075] - Steve Morreale

So tell me why. Tell me why is it more active rather than passive?


[00:08:51.975] - Gary Cordner

I think that's a lot of it is. We're treating them as adults who have got something to say to themselves. We've tried to switch from being instructors to facilitators, not carefully designed lesson plans, not as many PowerPoint slides that crammed with text that nobody can read or care about a lot more activities. So it's much more engaging. The officers are much more involved. And I think also the nature of the training is much closer to being realistic, meaningful, relevant to them and their jobs.



And you might have thought you would know that training would always have been of that nature, but I don't think it was.


[00:09:24.615] - Steve Morreale

So I'd like to talk about leadership, which is one of the focus or the foci of the podcast and how the department is beginning to attend to the development of leaders, present and future. And I'm curious to know what impact or input you've had in that process.


[00:09:41.415] - Gary Cordner

Not too much to this point, I don't think yet. That hasn't yet been one of the primary focus or foci of the consent decree. And again, we have so much training we have to do under the consent decree that we've got relatively little breathing room to do much else. But that said, again, like most states, perhaps there's a. Required five-day course for new sergeants required by the state, I mean required five-day course for new first line administrators, which in our case would be lieutenant.


[00:10:08.235] - Gary Cordner

The police department has always had those courses going back, probably as far as anybody can remember, but we've redesigned them to try to focus them a little bit less on show and tell from different parts of the police department and more. First of all, more focused on what sergeants and lieutenants actually do, teaching them how to actually do what they're going to have to do, but then also making them also more focused on leadership, mentoring, coaching, helping police officers see the big picture, all those things that we might associate more with leadership and management.


[00:10:33.915] - Gary Cordner

So the effort is there already, but it's also an area that we haven't completely turned our attention to. I would say it's a challenge. You know, one of the things that I appreciate my police experience, such as it is, and it wasn't much, was in relatively small agencies. I think I've sort of cultivated a reputation during most of my career as being sort of Mister Small Town, Mister Rural. And now here I am in a city police department with about twenty five hundred officers.


[00:10:55.695] - Gary Cordner

And the challenge, delivering training throughout a large agency and the challenge of creating meaningful change in a large agency is that's a big challenge. I have all the respect in the world for the people in the BPD at the top that are trying to figure out how to do that. I'll also mention I think it's related to your question, Steve. Baltimore PD has been through some tough times for probably 20 years, maybe even a little longer. I mean, it's a tough city.


[00:11:18.285] - Gary Cordner

Nunver 1, three hundred murders a year. But in addition, it's had too many police commissioners over too short a period of time, too much political interference that every other mayor goes to jail and some of the police commissioners have as well. And so it's just been chaotic to a degree. And because it was so chaotic for a significant period of time, a lot of that, just the sort of basic foundation, foundational infrastructure issues were let slide.


[00:11:42.285] - Gary Cordner

Cops are cops. They were still responding to calls. They were still investigating murders. They were still putting Narcan in people that were about to die, that the work was getting done at the street level. But the agency was allowed to just kind of slip in training and technology and management and leadership and just just a whole lot of the things that interstitial things that make a police department better. And so currently, it's partly a process of trying to rebuild all that after years of neglect.


[00:12:06.645] - Steve Morreale

That's a big job, a big chore. And what I'm curious to know is your role, your new role here at the police department. Is this the first time they've had academic director? I'm starting to see this happen across the country, which is good. But what is your role or what have you carved your role to be?


[00:12:22.625] - Gary Cordner

It's a great question. I want to just say right off the bat, I am not the commander of either the academy or actually what we call the education and training section. And thank goodness I mean, thank goodness for me. I think also thank goodness for them. So there's a police major who's really in charge, which means, you know, he has to handle all the personnel issues, wrestle with the arrest of the police department's bureaucracy, et cetera, et cetera.


[00:12:42.435] - Gary Cordner

And so mine is really kind of more of a staff position. You have a bunch of people under me, not a huge bunch, some units under me. Certainly I have a big responsibility for curriculum, board structure, development, and really to be the primary liaison with educational institutions, the universities and colleges in our area, of which there are several, of course. So that's more what I do. The Major and I technically are on the same level.


[00:13:02.655] - Gary Cordner

If you look at the organization chart, his picture in mind are both jammed into the same box. But like I say, he's carrying the heavy load and I'm not you're correct in regard to, I think, a little bit of a trend. LAPD, I think is maybe best known. Lou Antonell out there has been the academic director for a good period of time. New Orleans PD has got an academic director within their police academy and educator. And I think it was partly the fact that our current police commissioner and a couple of his immediate staff came from New Orleans to Baltimore about two years ago now.


[00:13:32.355] - Gary Cordner

And so I think partly they brought that idea that having an academically oriented, high-level person in the academy had value. Interestingly, when I did, I did my co-op in the Baltimore PD. Fifty years ago, there was a guy named Norm Pomrenchi who was the director of the police academy. Maybe he was even called education and training. Then he had come from the University of North Carolina. I don't I don't think you or I would quite call him an academic, although in his day he probably was.


[00:13:59.385] - Gary Cordner

When he left Baltimore, he went over to head the Southern Police Institute over at the University of Louisville. So there's sort of a tradition in Baltimore of having someone sort of like me. But in between, when they filled the position, it's mostly been with a police person, rather academic.


[00:14:13.585] - Steve Morreale

So in your transition. Have you enjoyed the role?


[00:14:15.615] - Gary Cordner

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's


[00:14:16.575] - Steve Morreale

what about it is it that you like. It's challenging.


[00:14:19.095] - Gary Cordner

I'll tell you that for one, you know, kind of laugh because as a college professor, the last thing that we're ever graded on and said, well, we teach, that's almost an afterthought in the higher end world. I'm exaggerating, of course, but the thought that they would hire somebody like me in order to make sure that their level of instruction and their consistency of instruction was what it should be is almost laughable because I was one of those college professors that would sometimes walk into the room and say I was making it up as I went along, but if I wanted to, I could.


[00:14:46.395] - Gary Cordner

So I've always thought of us college professors as being about the least accountable professionals that there are in the world. And now I'm in a place where they actually let stuff actually matters. That's interesting. It's interesting. Think the recruits have to pass the test, Steve.


[00:15:01.255] - Steve Morreale

That's very interesting because of academic freedom and the things that we you and I have wrestled with in the academic after you transition out. So you're writing a blog that I follow an awful lot of talk about that blog and how you keep pace.


[00:15:12.355] - Steve Morreale

You're looking at things that are going on all over the world. Why and what?


[00:15:15.805] - Gary Cordner

So I started that very good question. And that's one of those hobbies that you referred to as we were talking earlier that you take on. And then a few years later, you say, what was I thinking? But I started doing that when I was teaching. And specifically the reason I did it was for my students. I would make them follow the blog. I would include test questions from the blog to try to make sure they actually looked at it right.


[00:15:35.785] - Gary Cordner

And the reason for it was that any textbook that we use in class, Steve, is is inevitably at least two years old just because of the publication process. And sometimes it's three or four or five years old. So with the blog, I was trying to give my students some up to date important information about stuff going on in American policing or in policing around the world. And also, I was the absentminded professor so often I would walk into class intending to talk about something like that.


[00:16:01.195] - Gary Cordner

But then I'd forget by putting it in the blog, it saved me from my absentmindedness. And then it became somewhat popular with a few of my friends, like you teach the same kind of classes that I always taught. And so I just tried to keep it up. And actually I've incorporated it into the police administration book that I first did with Bob Sheehan. It's now in its 10th edition, believe it or not. Another police and society book that I do with a couple of other fellows.


[00:16:22.825] - Gary Cordner

We've incorporated those blog items into those books just to try to give them that sort of up to date current events kind of flavor. And I try not to put things in the blog that everybody's already seen on Twitter or in the news, but maybe things that might have been overlooked or things that just strike me as really interesting or important.


[00:16:40.135] - Steve Morreale

So what's going on in the country today? What's your take? What's your take on the slaps towards police, the generalizations, and the painting with a broad brush when something happened, as happened in Minneapolis and on and on and on, when we could talk about that ad nauseum. But what's your sense?


[00:16:57.655] - Steve Morreale

Is it accurate? Is it inaccurate? How do you have discussions in the Academy about these things? And do you use these, does Baltimore use these as teachable moments to try to avoid similar issues from happening in that department to address that last point first?


[00:17:11.635] - Gary Cordner

We do try to and I've just finished I don't know if you've seen it yet. I've just finished reading Rosa Brooks's new book, Tangled Up in Blue Policing the American City. And one of the things she points out is that when she went through as a 40-year-old mother with kids, when she went through the Reserve Police Academy in D.C. Metro probably five years ago now, they didn't really talk about things like that, which I think five years ago, maybe few academies did.


[00:17:36.025] - Gary Cordner

But currently in Baltimore, we do try to talk about that. We have a lot of lessons in our academy on the history of Baltimore, the history of policing in Baltimore, the recent history of policing in America, race and so on. We try to talk about that a lot, probably more than the recruits actually want, want to hear about it. But we think it's essential. So I'm proud that we are doing that. We probably weren't doing it three or four years ago.


[00:17:58.165] - Gary Cordner

So. So it's new.  It's a crazy time, isn't it, Steve? No. On the one hand, I go two ways. On the one hand I'm so old. I can remember the 60s and the 70s when police were very unpopular. The assumption was that police were all a bunch of jerks and thugs and uneducated bums. So in some ways it's similar in my mind at least. I do think some people in policing today shouldn't. I shouldn't put it this way, but got a little bit spoiled post 9/11 where police were all heroes, if I can interrupt.


[00:18:25.435] - Steve Morreale

They were heroes as early as covid and then all of a sudden they took a turn.


[00:18:28.855] - Gary Cordner

Yeah, that's right, too. That's right. The first responders. Right. And and then the police were the mean old people make trying to make others wear masks and closed down restaurants that had too many people in them. And I mean, that's fundamental to the police role. I sometimes think you can't live with them, you can't live without them, or there's a sort of a love-hate relationship inevitably with police given their fundamental role. That's just my view.


[00:18:47.965] - Gary Cordner

But put all that aside for a minute. First of all, I'm pretty sure policing is better today and in America than maybe it ever has been. It's not good enough, but I think it's better than when I started to think of some of the dumb things I did and certainly some of the even dumber things that some of my colleagues did. And so I think policing is better now. So any sense that we have an epidemic of bad policing is, I think, completely mistaken.


[00:19:08.365] - Gary Cordner

What we do have is way more knowledge now, thanks to media, social media, body worn cameras, YouTube, you name it, the average person in America is way more aware of what police have done good, bad or indifferent than they were in my day. I mean, I don't think the six years of policing that way back in my day, I don't think anything I ever did was captured on camera. I could have. I could have and probably did get away with some things I probably shouldn't have done.


[00:19:33.565] - Gary Cordner

I didn't do anything real bad, I don't believe. But but that is so fundamentally different now. And I think that feeds the situation that we're in currently is is it's just the extremely heightened awareness. And probably I mean, ultimately, that's a good thing. But, boy, it's painful.


[00:19:47.845] - Steve Morreale

Well, it is painful. And some of the things that you see on video look horrible. And sometimes it's just a simple arrest. And you've made arrests and I've made arrests. And it's never easy when the other person does not want to comply. It looks horrible when it gets out of hand, it even looks more horrible and I understand that and we're only sometimes watching snippets. And I sort of liken it to when you watch a game and the ref in a sporting pulls out the flag or blows the whistle, it's almost what they saw was the aftermath of what started it in the first place.


[00:20:17.305] - Steve Morreale

And the second person usually is the one that gets the penalty, not the one that kicked somebody. But so I want to talk for a few moments about where policing is going. You understand that more than anybody talk about procedural justice and transparency and we talk about evidence-based policing and obviously back many years, problem-based policing, or problem-solving, all of these things add to the complexity of a police officer's job. Plus, I think they're being called on to do things in the social arena that it's because the social arena is not there.


[00:20:46.355] - Steve Morreale

You know, a social worker is not going to be on 24/7, but police are and they get these calls. So what's your take on that and how complex it's become?


[00:20:54.305] - Gary Cordner

It's a great question. Another big one starting from the end of your question, I guess. I mean, I think you're exactly right that there is clearly some limit to the extent to which police can be defunded or police can be replaced by somebody else who doesn't carry a gun. Exactly where that limit is. I don't think we know, do we? There's that Kahootz program out in Oregon that I think they say that they handle 20 percent of the police calls, 30 percent or something like that's a pretty big number and that's pretty cool.


[00:21:19.495] - Gary Cordner

You know, and on that point, as many others have already said, it's not like the police. We're looking for increased market share and reached out to take responsibility for people in mental health crisis, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I don't have any police that actually want to do that. I got stuck with it because the social safety net and the social services in America got DEA funded and stretched so thin and underfunded for so long, tons of things have just fallen into police and police would be glad to be rid of a whole lot of it.


[00:21:47.215] - Gary Cordner

I think so, yeah. I mean, if I'm remembering numbers right now, I might not have a right. Who says they can handle 30 percent of calls in Eugene, Oregon? Now, Denver, I think it is that I recently read about, has got a new non police response. And they're estimating that if they gear it up to go even twenty four seven with a number of those units throughout the city, if I remember correctly, and don't don't with these numbers, but they're estimating that they can handle maybe three or four percent of the calls the Denver PD responds to.


[00:22:16.795] - Gary Cordner

Well, that's a really big difference between three or four percent and something like 30 percent. Is that because Denver is a big city with probably a lot more people in crisis, serious crisis than maybe Eugene, Oregon? Or is it that Denver just hasn't figured out how to get up to the level that Eugene has? I don't think we know the answer, really. So what am I trying to say? I believe there is some amount of police workload that can be siphoned off to others and maybe they could do it better and safer.


[00:22:42.055] - Gary Cordner

On the other hand, that's like on the one side, right on the other side is so much of what police would get called to do is ambiguous. You don't know what it is. Do you get there? And it sounds like it sounds like something really serious. And it turns out it's not what it sounds like nothing. And it turns out to be a guy with a crazy guy with a gun. It's very frequent that you don't know.


[00:22:58.675] - Gary Cordner

Do you get there? And as long as we don't know what it is till you get there, it's going to fall in the lap.


[00:23:03.205] - Steve Morreale

Well, I really like the term that you just use. And it brings such clarity that it is ambiguous. You never know what you're walking into. And so you have to bring somebody with some power and authority not to abuse that power and authority to sort it out. And  many times it's nothing here. We're moving on to the next call. I understand, Gary. We need to wind down. I have a couple of questions that will be a little bit more personal, and that's not so personal.  But what's on your to do list?


[00:23:26.335] - Gary Cordner

I should be retiring. Steve, you and I talked about that. I'm older than you are. But but you can almost identify, you know, I mean, seriously, I'm really enjoying the job that I've got. I don't know how long they'll keep me. You know, if they define if they define the Baltimore police, I assume I'll be one of the first to go because I'm definitely probably not critical to their survival. But it's a really meaningful job that I've got to the extent that I can help Baltimore PD get better and serve in the citizens of Baltimore better and comply with that consent decree, which is both necessary.


[00:23:55.825] - Gary Cordner

I mean, the people of Baltimore say constantly, constantly remind ourselves, you know, there's a reason why Baltimore is under a consent decree. So they've got a lot there's a lot of things to fix and prove that they've been fixed and fix them in a way that as soon as the feds leave doesn't slide back to where it was. So so it's actually a big responsibility, and especially because for me, this was coming back home and a chance to try to make a meaningful contribution.


[00:24:16.745] - Gary Cordner

My old hometown in my profession is that's probably what's on my bucket list. And I honestly, I don't know what's beyond that. Did I dodge? That question satisfactorily?


[00:24:24.265] - Steve Morreale

It's good enough, of course. Of course. It's the last question. If you had a chance to sit down with somebody dead or alive that has some notoriety and meaning in your life, who would that be?


[00:24:33.075] - Gary Cordner

My goodness gracious. I would probably say Bob Sheheen. He has passed, of course, my mentor. He was a professor at Northeastern University. When I got there to work on my undergrad degree in criminal justice, took a bunch of classes from me, ended up following him around when he did some of his management studies. And in towns in Massachusetts for which he was famous, he ended up asking me to to help write the police administration book when I was when I was.


[00:24:59.285] - Gary Cordner

In undergrad, I started working on that with him. He's the one that sent me to Michigan State and he said such a big influence on me and he's been gone for a good while now. And even before he was before he passed, you know, I was several states away and not in as close a contact with him as I wish I had done. So I would probably put him put him there at the top of the list. Mention two things real quick.


[00:25:20.945] - Gary Cordner

I'd say one of his other main mentees is my lifelong close friend, Jack Green.


[00:25:25.595] - Steve Morreale

Oh, yeah.


[00:25:26.105] - Gary Cordner

You know Jack.


[00:25:26.825] - Steve Morreale

Yeah. From Temple first. So well, Temple. And then onto Northeastern. Right?


[00:25:30.315] - Gary Cordner

So Jack and I were undergrads at NortheEastern together.


[00:25:32.555] - Steve Morreale

I didn't know that.


[00:25:33.425] - Gary Cordner

We were both under the wing. Jack, of course, is older than me. I always like to put it out like one or two years, but that he was actually a year ahead of me at Northeastern. But in any event, Jack and I were both tremendously influenced by Bob.


[00:25:45.275] - Gary Cordner

The other thing I'll say is I'm not a bit like Bob Sheehan, but I mean, he was much more gregarious, authentic. He was one of these guys who was always in the moment. And I think my mind is always wandering off somewhere. I always think of this one experience I had with him. I was a student and I was just walking across campus with the Northeastern back in the day. Of course, North-Eastern is right and right in Boston.


[00:26:05.435] - Gary Cordner

I don't think there was a blade of grass there when when I went and this is when this was in the anti-war days, the Vietnam War. And so we passed by some guy who was passing out placards about some protest that's going to happen or some something. And I'm trying to ignore the guy. Bob stops and talks to it. And that's just like that's the kind of guy he was. And like I say, I'm not a bit like that.


[00:26:23.285] - Gary Cordner

So I wish I was more like him. But you can only be who you are.


[00:26:26.435] - Steve Morreale

Thanks. All right.


[00:26:27.035] - Steve Morreale

Here's my last question. What hobby do you have besides the blog that sort of keeps you grounded and gives you something to do and take your mind off of the busyness of life?


[00:26:36.905] - Gary Cordner

Yeah, that's like most workaholics. I don't have a good enough hobby. I do like to play golf. I don't play it near as much as my wife thinks I should. It keeps giving me gift cards and equipment and golf balls and tees trying to get me out there. So so there's that I do like to read. And to be honest, I've probably not read as much as I should over the years. You know how it is DEA if you had to become a professor and you get better at talking and writing than you do at reading.


[00:27:03.215] - Gary Cordner

And so I've skimmed a lot more books than I've read professionally for which I apologize to lots of other authors who I should have read more closely. I actually haven't done it much lately, but I used to actually like to do some fiction. I sort of picture myself sometimes one of these days just being gone fishing. That's a great way to close.


[00:27:19.535] - Steve Morreale

Well, Gary, thank you so much for being here on this Saturday morning. Have you got snow down there?


[00:27:24.635] - Gary Cordner

We've got a little bit of snow and a little bit more ice than snow, which made this last week a little bit tricky for us.


[00:27:30.785] - Steve Morreale

Well, I want to thank you very much for being here. Appreciate it. You've been listening to The CopDoc Podcast Steve Morreale from Boston and we're listening to Gary Cordner, Dr. Gary Cordner, who is now the academic director of the Baltimore Police Department Academy. So, Gary, thanks very much for joining us.


[00:27:45.725] - Gary Cordner

A pleasure, Steve. Sorry I had to drag you in from using your snowblower.


[00:27:49.565] - Steve Morreale

No problem at all. Thanks.