The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

TCD Episode 019 - Interview with Andrew Lacey #1 Inspector An Garda Siochana, Ireland

May 03, 2021 Inspector Andrew Lacey Season 1 Episode 19
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
TCD Episode 019 - Interview with Andrew Lacey #1 Inspector An Garda Siochana, Ireland
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The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
TCD Episode 019 - Interview with Andrew Lacey #1 Inspector An Garda Siochana, Ireland
May 03, 2021 Season 1 Episode 19
Inspector Andrew Lacey

We "traveled" across the pond (and the ether) to talk with Inspector Andrew Lacey of An Garda Siochana, the Irish National Police.  We talked about the history of the Garda, the "Guardians of the People."  We talked about the training, the transformation efforts, the training of Garda, and the leadership lessons.  We also discuss the point of view of happenings in the US, from the Irish perspective. 

Andy is set to earn his Ph.D. in/around August 2021 and is a lecturer of Criminal Procedure at the University of Limerick.  A wide-ranging interview providing perspectives of life and policing on the Emerald Isle!


Show Notes Transcript

We "traveled" across the pond (and the ether) to talk with Inspector Andrew Lacey of An Garda Siochana, the Irish National Police.  We talked about the history of the Garda, the "Guardians of the People."  We talked about the training, the transformation efforts, the training of Garda, and the leadership lessons.  We also discuss the point of view of happenings in the US, from the Irish perspective. 

Andy is set to earn his Ph.D. in/around August 2021 and is a lecturer of Criminal Procedure at the University of Limerick.  A wide-ranging interview providing perspectives of life and policing on the Emerald Isle!



[00:00:02.183] - Intro

Welcome to The CopDoc Podcast. This podcast explores police leadership issues and innovative ideas, The CopDoc 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.

 


[00:00:33.033] - Steve Morreale 

Well, hello, everybody, from Boston, this is Steve Morreale, and you're listening to The CopDoc Podcast, and today I am. Talking to Inspector, not Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther, but instead Inspector Andrew Lacey from the Garda on Garda Siochana, and he is sitting at his home in the Limerick, Ireland area.

 


[00:00:54.773] - Steve Morreale 

And I welcome you, Andy. Good morning.

 


[00:00:58.313] - Andy Lacey

How are you, Steve? Good morning. Good afternoon from sunny Ireland. Firstly, thanks for having me on. I think I'm experiencing a bit of imposter syndrome here with the quality and standard of guests you've had on the last couple of weeks. So maybe I'd pictured a small bit of both my way, but I'm going to give it a go. And look, it's been podcasts have been really informative, really interesting, and coming from a police force here in Ireland that's in full flow of change at the moment.

 


[00:01:23.933] - Andy Lacey

It's been really beneficial to hear viewpoints, experiences, and despite all the different cultures and styles of policing, there's still a huge correlation between police internationally has been really amazing and really good to good to listen over the last couple of weeks. So well done.

 


[00:01:37.973] - Steve Morreale 

Well, thank you for that. And I'm really glad you've been sharing it on your side of the pond and I appreciate it. And I think I want to start to advise the audience. Not everybody knows that you and I spent some time together in Ireland. I had the privilege and the honor to serve as a Fulbright specialist with the University of Limerick a few years back and spent some time with you and with your family and with the Garda College. And for that, I, I, I thank you because I found new friends across the pond.

 


[00:02:03.233] - Steve Morreale 

What this podcast does and can do is that so many of us on this side of the pond don't have any idea what's going on the other side. And you've had the ability and the privilege to come over here and spend some time and California in New York and Boston and hopefully you will be coming back. But what I want to do is to get started is to have you tell the audience about yourself, what is your trajectory? What drew you to the Garda?

 


[00:02:26.373] - Steve Morreale 

How long have you been working? What have you done? What are you doing now?

 


[00:02:30.053] - Andy Lacey

OK, so I try to quickly bring you through. I am an inspector in An Garda Siochana is the police force for Republic of Ireland,  over 20 years experience. Now that's going to spread over five years. I started out in Dublin was our capital city, as you well know, and kind of a community policing role in inner city Dublin after some time there. Then I transferred on to Limerick City where I still live. I've spent eight years there and become again invested in community policing and a kind of a challenging area of the city prone to socio-economic deprivation, the manifestation of feuding gangs over at a time when this was kind of a relatively new concept to Ireland and a very challenging time.

 


[00:03:05.153] - Andy Lacey

And out of that community policing background, I was appointed a detective and spent five years there immersed in kind of the major fight against organized criminal gangs in the city. That was kind of the focus of our national media and politicians and all that goes with it. So, I spent a lot of time there, threw my hat in the ring for promotion, and then all of a sudden I found myself in a vastly rural district of West Clare. And I spent some time there.

 


[00:03:27.743] - Andy Lacey

This is where the famous of some more beautiful coastline of the wild Atlantic way. And that was enormous sea change for me from going where I was in city policing, a detective and organized crime. Suddenly I was in the sticks, as we call it, and patrolling in a very rural areas. But it was very good learning curve for me and my first step into managing people and managing kind of volume investigations. And as it went, it was at the time, I didn't feel like it was great, but definitely on reflection, it was very good for me.

 


[00:03:52.703] - Andy Lacey

So then another change for me. I went into the area of training and this coincided with the University of Limerick kind of amalgamating with regard to calling on the Irish police for the first time was something that we wouldn't have experienced before. And they accredited their designs and they kind of took over the training of police officers in Ireland for the first time. So I embarked on that kind of a new journey for me. And I was involved in the first B.A. in applied policing and training of new recruits.

 


[00:04:18.593] - Andy Lacey

And two years into that journey, then I was appointed the director of Post-Graduate and Serious Crime Investigation, which was one of nine postgraduate degree for training our senior investigative officers. And that was a big opportunity to kind of interact and expand my knowledge and expertise in practice and academia, meet the people like yourselves and engage in collaboration and set up dialog, which we weren't very good at doing from an organizational perspective were probably were. But instead we were starting that journey to open up.

 


[00:04:45.113] - Andy Lacey

That all coincided in the background from my own personal academic background. And I suppose I went back to college. I did a postgraduate degree in law and a human resource management. I did a Masters in Law and UCC where I met a mutual friend of ours, Professor Shane Kilcommins, and kind of got very much invested in his teachings and looking at penology and background to  criminal justice and policy and all that goes with that. And that's where my career trajectory between my career and my practice and academia kind of started to come together.

 


[00:05:14.543] - Andy Lacey

I started a PhD in twenty fourteen with the University Limerick and the Center for Victim and Criminal Justice Studies, and finally brought me to my most recent promotion then. So I'm known Inspector. And in twenty eighteen I'm back in the Limerick division about two and a half years. So I suppose for your listeners, an inspector in the Irish police is kind of middle management, but would have linkages up to senior leadership teams as well, both visually and regional regionally.

 


[00:05:37.133] - Andy Lacey

So I'm back in Limerick, where I kind have a sense of attachment to, where my family are living here for a number of years, and what I went to college myself initially, so that's very I'm number two to a very, very good superintendent out in County Limerick and would have a supervisory control over about 82 officers in a large geographical area with a population of around sixty thousand. So that's kind of where we're working in the area of community-based focused projects, crime investigation.

 


[00:06:01.873] - Andy Lacey

And I prosecute in the courts as well on a weekly basis. That's me.

 


[00:06:05.323] - Steve Morreale 

Ireland is all about counties. And you just said you're in County Limerick. The University of Limerick straddles Clare and Limerick, and you're not from either of those. You're a tip, right? Yeah.

 


[00:06:16.543] - Andy Lacey

I'm Tipperary, down to south of Ireland, quite near Limerick. But we made famous for the song It's a Long Way to Tipperary First World War song, if you guys remember that. Yeah. So about 30 minutes from here. So nice to be near home as well and near work and settled there. And we would have grown up there and my background would have been family-owned hotel. And I think that kind of molded me away in terms of my own kind of policing.

 


[00:06:39.583] - Andy Lacey

It's got it does have a good correlation with that. And it's a service industry working with people. It was hard work is a lot of work ethic involved, but you're also dealing with people and funny enough intoxication. You're meeting people at their best and at their worst through socialization and a lot of kind of stuff molded me. And my parents are extremely hard-working people. And I think that rubbed off on me and it's kept me going through much of my career.

 


[00:06:59.743] - Andy Lacey

So there were a couple of terms that I learned when I was over there. And it's not something we use over here, public order or public disorder and social issues. But before we go there, I want to talk about training, what draws people to the Garda, what drives people to go to college, what is different in Ireland, as you know and many of the listeners may not know, is that you are a singular agency. You are the police agency for all of the Republic of Ireland and everybody goes to the Garda College.

 


[00:07:28.633] - Steve Morreale 

But I learned that you have a very long probationary period. So talk about that and talk about the portfolio and the reflections that are new probationers are responsible for and the interaction between high management and each and every new Garda or guard.

 


[00:07:46.693] - Andy Lacey

Yeah, and first, this will give your listeners an appreciation where the national police force, as you said, not very common in modern policing. And I know you guys over there would have liked 16,00 - 17,000 individual police forces across. So we're unique in that way. We're a national police force with four regions, twenty-eight divisions and about fifteen thousand police officers. So that kind of gives us an idea where we're a hundred years old. We're very much we're born out of the birth of the state in 1922 is over a hundred years old next year.

 


[00:08:15.283] - Andy Lacey

And a lot of our links go back to that history. And that's why we have a kind of a deep, entrenched relationship with community in Ireland that we kind of represents the founding of the state because we were the first institution to be set up when the British forces left Ireland and then go to see a kind of was set up. And funnily enough, 90 percent of our people were involved in the war of independence, lot of our earlier recruits.

 


[00:08:35.203] - Andy Lacey

So that's a big attachment. So getting back to your question on training, yes, we have a centralized training academy and temple more there since the mid 60s. And it's changed over time in or different models, different reviews, different methods. It would have started out as very much your own police academies. They'd be short six-week program in and out and on the streets. But that developed over time. My own training was kind of a blended version, but not what we have seen since twenty fourteen when we got the university involved.

 


[00:09:02.113] - Andy Lacey

So pillar to post. You're looking at maybe two and a half years. You're looking at eight months of college-based training in the college in general for experiential learning time for thirty- four weeks. We're back on campus again and then that probationary period would go on for another eighteen months. So quite a significant time built into us very significantly since our last can of sea. Change in training is problem-based learning, reflection in depth. Look at your own performance and kind of correlating that to your experiential learning is outside and having a side by side.

 


[00:09:30.613] - Andy Lacey

So the balance is now and funnily enough, Covid has again changed the goalposts. So now we're at a juncture where we got to review it. Once again, we're only six years down. The line of what we taught was really internationally well recognized and well complemented. But now we're facing change again, and that's reflective of policing. How quickly that can change. We're going to look at a blended e-learning type stuff now have to learn the lessons.

 


[00:09:50.323] - Andy Lacey

But we're also looking at reducing the time because now we feel that maybe our officers are overassessed, that that can be a problem as well. But the key part of it is the problem-based learning. That was a big change going from roles just dictate and type learning into lecture theaters. And now to go and learn your trade, we know try and try and engage that critical assessment, experiential training within the college through scenarios and then reflecting on the true journals.

 


[00:10:15.343] - Andy Lacey

And I know you've been involved in different programs as external examiners. You get to see the level of that. And as you said, and that's for our recruits. But you go on through your  own career, whether it's promotion to sergeant, our specialization, our superintendent, every layer of that and now is associated with an additional traunch of learning. A lot of it's accredited from different universities or colleges outside us, all trying to feed into, you know, making those.

 


[00:10:38.713] - Andy Lacey

That our police officers making is not just been experts in the individual field, learning about leadership, management, communication, all this stuff that is really driving our reform at the moment and leadership, those drive reforms, no doubt about that. And good leaders will implement all these changes that we're facing now through the various recommendations and reports that were in the process of transitioning through, making it a better, more professional police force for the twenty first century.

 


[00:11:04.543] - Andy Lacey

You're quite active in the Garda in your position and in your station. I understand. And I know that you pay attention to what's going on this side of the pond in the United States. And I'd very much like your take on what you saw on television that unfolded on January 6th. What were your own thoughts? What were your what was your family's thoughts about what you saw in the United States?

 


[00:11:24.403] - Andy Lacey

It was fully put in context over here as well as Ireland as a nation was. The whole world was in was invested in your election and watching it all unfold in the media when it was fascinating and worrying and exciting and all at once. So we were actually very akin to watching American TV and around Christmas and before that with the election. So January th, when it happened, it was 8:00 p.m. over here. So you're talking about primetime and even sitting down after work and your phone lighting up and Twitter happening and  next thing you're in and you're watching it.

 


[00:11:54.223] - Andy Lacey

And it was quite surreal. Like, you know, from a police officer's perspective, it was it was fairly shocking. And I suppose we would all have a view over here of you guys being so organized and having massive resources. And something like this couldn't actually be happening because, you know, you guys are still on top of that. But I suppose maybe in hindsight and looking back at it, you know, thinking of all the different elements that fit into that day and is the fact that you have so many different police forces working in the state and you've Capitol Hill police in Washington, you federal, all that kind of stuff, was there maybe a small bit of a lack of preparation?

 


[00:12:24.733] - Andy Lacey

And I'm no expert. I'm not a commander this area like that. So I don't have a real need for public order policing it up. But maybe just looking in from the outside, from the objectively, you know, was there a lack of consistent preparation or strategy if all these people involved, what was the preparation or DEA awareness of what's coming? Or was it was it intelligence led or what was it after seeing sympathy like as a police officer, you knew it got to that stage where those guys who were up there, it just got to the point of no return there and very difficult position.

 


[00:12:53.143] - Andy Lacey

And they made operational decisions not to engage. And that was probably the right thing to do at that time. But, yeah, look, it was it was very much we're very much Americanized on our TV and Washington and all the film, the movies it goes. But it's OK to see that happening on your doorstep was it was quite shocking. And we had a funny side and sent that out that we have a guy called Donie O’Sullivan is a reporter with CNN.

 


[00:13:14.773] - Andy Lacey

I don't know is that your channel of choice? But it's kind of the main when we would have access over here. And he's a curry man and he's from Cara Sivine. And I don't know what you get there in your time of denial, but this place is as rural and remote knowledge you could get. And here he was, eyes of the world on him, our guy from Ireland and West Kerry in the middle of it all.

 


[00:13:32.233] - Steve Morreale 

And he was in the United States.

 


[00:13:34.693] - Andy Lacey

Yeah, he was reporting for CNN. He was one of our main guys on the ground on Capitol Hill. He was right in there. And he got huge praise because he actually got in the thick of it and he got the reaction there that it was a bit of staggering comedy from our side that he was so used to. This was like a nightclub on a Saturday night in Ireland. He's seen it all before. It was it was not new to him.

 


[00:13:52.213] - Andy Lacey

But, you know, that was the funny side of it. There was a downside. It wasn't it was the sad side of people lost their lives in it and the kind of ramifications after a war, a big change. But I suppose the response after was pretty swift in terms of arrests made. And the follow up was fairly impressive. But I suppose on the night and we're not privy to the ins and outs, but that's what the maybe looked like, just the preparation and the information that preparation for it might have been a little bit disjointed.

 


[00:14:18.673] - Andy Lacey

I don't know. And you probably know more how it all unfolded, you know, from

 


[00:14:21.943] - Steve Morreale 

Your perspective is very important. And for listeners to realize that this had an impact worldwide. And I appreciate your point of view on that.

 


[00:14:29.773] - Andy Lacey

Yeah. And just before we move on, you talk about the impact we had. We had something similar a couple of weeks ago in our in our main city, one of these lockdown protests that are going to happen on all over Europe. And we had it unfolded into violence with twenty-three arrests in our in our main city in Dublin. But funny enough, I'd say we took learnings from January 6th in terms of being prepared and this is there and that underbelly of misinformation and kind of criminality and criminals taking this opportunity because societies are soldiers disjointed at the moment and they see it as an opportunity to maybe go to police that are vulnerable and getting away with stuff they would normally get away with.

 


[00:15:02.743] - Andy Lacey

So we probably took a bit of learning from it. Sorry to interrupt you.

 


[00:15:05.533] - Andy Lacey

No, that's not - it's a good interruption because I want to talk a little bit about that. And that is the difference between policing in America and policing in Ireland. The fact that most of your guards are not armed and you have an armed response unit. But from your perspective, again, share with us why that is how that works and how it's received by, first of all, to protect yourselves, but secondly, how it's received by the populace.

 


[00:15:30.133] - Andy Lacey

And we're going back to history here again. So 100 years ago when we were formed, we were was in the back of war and strife and trauma. You know, history that we've had in our country, but in around that time of the War of Independence and our name as Guardians of the Peace, that that's what it translates in English and that's what we're born out of. And some of our founding visionary statements were and An Garda Siochana succeed not by force of arms or numbers, but their moral authority to serve the people.

 


[00:15:57.313] - Andy Lacey

So it's very much protection of classes of people, not by the gun. And that's what we're trying to remove the gun from our society and our politics. So that's the way it is. It's done. It's stood the test of time and one of the 18 out of 200 structured police forces in the world, our own armed we within that 18. And we're further down in terms we only have like 20 percent, 25 percent that would be armed.

 


[00:16:18.863] - Andy Lacey

And we've stuck to that. Our mantra is policing by consent that all this gets you so far and you, of course, you of incidents and situations where it's just it's just necessary and that has to happen. But that's kind of our history. We have an armed support unit now, as you touched on. So it's equivalent suppose, to a slot in your side. We didn't get that in 2008. And funny enough, that came out of Limerick City here out of a vicious feud.

 


[00:16:40.993] - Andy Lacey

And you talk about feud and gangs and you the culture and some of your American cities over the years that only came into Ireland in the 2000s and the 90s to tell was the first time we saw it in Limerick was one of the first of this kind of major family feuds in in the city at twenty-two lives were lost over eight or nine years. And borne out of that was the response units, the first time where we actually had any critical incident calls, armed force.

 


[00:17:05.083] - Andy Lacey

These guys were deployed. So I was in a detective unit in those years for six, seven years where our response were putting in doors. We were arresting people in the back of fatal shootings. And I was there with maybe a gun on my hip. So we didn't have a stab vest or a bulletproof vest until the last maybe 2008, 2009. So that was, you know, we talk about change and how slow we have become.

 


[00:17:27.733] - Andy Lacey

So it took us to get to where we are today. That's all the recent past. And that's where we were. And what we're trying to maintain is with that percentage of our police force, you know, you have to be able to still work in an environment of safety where risk is assessed and all that. So we're improving in all those areas. Pepper spray, all these things only come, again, 12 and 13, 14. So as we progress, these things are being added and we're just trying to get the balance right.

 


[00:17:51.703] - Andy Lacey

We're not trying to lose our identity that we're policing. We're consent our communities, but at the same time trying to maintain some safety for our officers and safety for the public as well. If it does arise, we have the capacity to deal with it.

 


[00:18:04.183] - Steve Morreale 

So let's switch gears a little bit and talk about leadership management. And I'm curious to know, as you reflect back on climbing the ladder and becoming a sergeant in your detective role, at what point in time did you begin to realize the difference between managing and leading?

 


[00:18:20.443] - Andy Lacey

Yeah, well, look, I'm only two steps in our kind of leadership ladder. I suppose it is. But like, very quickly, you know, no leadership. You don't have to be in a supervisory position to to be a leader. And that's probably a mistake some people make. Leadership is about, you know, people and engaging with people and performing, of course, but like manifest this way and different in different types of ways. I see leadership as engaging with people of an entity.

 


[00:18:43.453] - Andy Lacey

Emotional intelligence is something that I kind of pride myself on that that that's an area like to work on. I think that results are gleaned from that communication is a biggie. And I think we had these conversations when you were over in Ireland about getting information down to people involved, you know, the people at the end game of operations of policy to make sure that they're part of that journey. And that's a big thing that we've learned. And again, I mentioned in all that examples because it's temporary, but we have really made big leaps over over the last 12 months in communicating what's happening and bringing people along and keeping them informed and look at different leaders over the years.

 


[00:19:17.683] - Andy Lacey

And I kind of learn from them. And it's funny, I think it's only four or five, four or five years down the road before you kind of look back and you pick up on different things you've learned. Maybe at the time you didn't feel a person was a good leader. But on reflection, you kind of when you're in their shoes a little bit more, you start to understand you've got where they came from and you picked up little pieces.

 


[00:19:36.013] - Andy Lacey

You are kind of molded by your environment and extent as well. And it does help when you're working with someone who's what was similar kind of mindset to you. You know, if I was picking those couple of things again, I touched on my own upbringing, both personal and hard work, communication, knowing your people. It's a people business pleasing and just, you know, it's inherently different. But does it change a certain degree as well? As mentioned, community policing is difficult, huge responsibility as well.

 


[00:20:01.843] - Andy Lacey

And we're targets for criticism. And how we deal with that is a big part of our role as leaders as well that we can that we're able to deal with it and go and implement change and drive change.

 


[00:20:10.483] - Steve Morreale 

There are people who you learned what not to do, what not to be. In other words, other managers that you worked for, that you thought, when it's my turn, I am never going to act. That is a smirk on you. There's a smirk on your face that nobody can see.

 


[00:20:26.353] - Andy Lacey

You know how small Ireland is, so I got to be careful, right?

 


[00:20:29.893] - Steve Morreale 

Yes, yes, yeah, yeah.

 


[00:20:31.513] - Andy Lacey

Of course. There's always little nuggets and you can be very lucky. And you are molded. There's no doubt about it. My first post in Dublin, I was so. Look, on one hand, I had a police sergeant who was called a legacy family over there to someone who was a family, was well known in Dublin circles in policing.

 


[00:20:46.993] - Andy Lacey

And this guy was he was a go getter. He was everything was proactive. It was getting out there. And I know that my older sergeant was someone who was she was a lady now promoted, but she was very much looked after and was the support mechanism in that. And it worked really well. And when you are 22 years of age, living away from home for the first time in a capital city, you know, that makes a big difference.

 


[00:21:08.933] - Andy Lacey

So you take learnings from each. But of course, as you bounce along through different sections and specialties, you met different leaders and people who had different approaches. And you've got to factor in a lot of these places that you work in or pressurized environments. And results driven policing probably shouldn't be, but it is. And you see things that probably didn't work and you take that learnings and you move it. You know, it's hard to be overly critical because policing is something it's a it's a profession that is unique in that, you know, it's the one job in the world that you can be criticized for doing something or you can be heavily criticized for not doing the same thing.

 


[00:21:42.073] - Andy Lacey

It's amazing that it's also the only job in the world where every decision you make has the potential to be front page news or in a five-hour turnaround and social media via post. That's what it's like. It's the only job in the world where every day you're meeting someone who's having the worst day of your life, of their lives. And that's subjective. But it could be tragedy, bereavement, victim of crime, assault that are just simply being in a car accident.

 


[00:22:03.643] 

It's one of the few jobs in the world where harm and serious injury is. You know, it's probably less likely. And every time you start, you start your tour duty and there are things that you factor into, people you've worked with over the years and different decisions that were made. You've got to factor in all these things and based your learning and your knowledge from that in general.

 


[00:22:20.833] - Steve Morreale 

So you rose through the ranks, you know, and inspected the number two Garda station in Newcastle West. And what are the things that you began to do when you took this new position? How did you get to know the people? How did you have sit-downs with a group of people that you were responsible for? What kinds of conversations were they? How did you learn? Were you on a listening tour?

 


[00:22:42.973] - Andy Lacey

Yeah, very much so. And I think it's got to be part of your journey there myself. I was coming out of training for a couple of years, so I was going back into operational policing. So I had a bit of catching up to do and stuff. And you don't want to go and impose yourself in a in a district or division until you've got to learn the ropes back yourself a small bit. So I very much had to listen.

 


[00:23:01.843] - Andy Lacey

That was very much part of my journey back into to that role as an inspector. And I had to learn from others and colleagues at a similar level as well. So, yeah, I had to take some time when I got there first and I'd have been in Ireland to do myself. But as the months progressed, then you can find your feet and you're engaged and you're seeing what the problems are in your district. You're seeing what's working, what's not.

 


[00:23:22.093] - Andy Lacey

And then you slowly, slowly try to bring in a bit of change, that bit of initiative. And we're very much kind of into focus of community engagement where we are that's going to be our nation. It's all part of the changing operational policing model. But that's the kind of direction we want. So we got to focus in that way. So, I mean, my guards, my police officers, and we're trying to head and go on that journey together.

 


[00:23:43.093] - Andy Lacey

But at the same time, we're reflecting we're trying to better ourselves every day as we do.

 


[00:23:47.923] - Steve Morreale 

Think back to when you became a sergeant. First time you've got stripes, got responsibility beyond yourself, and you take over a unit that's a patrol unit, a detective unit. What are the mistakes that you made and how did you recover from them? How did you learn from those mistakes as a new leader?

 


[00:24:02.743] - Andy Lacey

Yeah, I suppose it's we mentioned some of your previous episodes. You got micromanagement coming into it so that that inability to delegates is. I think we all struggle with that when we when we become a sergeant for the first time, when you're being set in your ways and maybe you were at the cusp of a way before you got promoted because you were doing something right, obviously, and you had a method in the way of doing something, then that's all that has taken away from you.

 


[00:24:23.983] - Andy Lacey

You pretty much got a stack of blanks. You've got to move on and relying on what you used to previously is not going to help. So I thought that was something you've got to learn. You've got to learn that quickly. So that micromanagement thing is the biggest thing for me. I've being able to empower officers under your supervision to go and learn themselves and produce the outcomes themselves and then to kind of assist them along the way. And that's the kind of thing that's the kind of leadership qualities that I might have in terms of coaching and mentoring.

 


[00:24:48.043] - Andy Lacey

And that's a big part of my own style. And I have a big interest and involvement in sports and performance and sport and mentoring and coaching. And I think that shines through so that that's the type of stuff. And it takes some time. And as I said, when I went to my first supervisory post, it was a totally different environment to what I was used to. It was country policing, it was isolation and that. So you've got to you've got to understand that some officers operate.

 


[00:25:10.423] - Andy Lacey

And I'm a genuine believer that to every officer has something to offer in certain ways and some are very much niche orientated and crime orientated. But those other guys who from the outside, you might think that they're best in terms of output, but they've got a role to play and it's about working with them and engaging with them and making sure they come along with you. And there's always gains and an advantage from doing that, I think.

 


[00:25:31.093] - Steve Morreale 

So as you rise to the ranks and you became a new sergeant, what does the organization guard? What support does it give? Promoted people in the sergeant inspector, superintendent rank.

 


[00:25:42.403] - Andy Lacey

Well, we got we got a promotion program that goes with us now, like some jobs that doesn't kick in until  you're in the role for a certain period of time. So you could you could be in the role for six, seven months before that starts. But what that looks like, it's that kind of leadership and mentoring program that would be on for maybe two weeks and then some follow up support briefings.

 


[00:26:04.453] - Andy Lacey

And you do some tasks and you get some feedback on it and you successfully complete the program. So that's from the training point of view. Outside of that, we, from a welfare point of view, are supporting that kind of stuff. We probably wouldn't have a tiered approach beside it. So everything from our side in terms of support and welfare would be in the division itself, and that would be on the back of actual incidents or problems that officers face every day.

 


[00:26:29.683] - Andy Lacey

And then we're able to tap into that in place. Systems are mentoring, but we've got to work to do. And that that is an area that I definitely feel it's something we need to focus on more and other police forces have done working around vicarious trauma and Lincoln organizational stress to do our work and that that's something that we need to be better at, that's for sure. I even saw recently in Ireland who was a research done for vicarious trauma in relation to those in the legal profession.

 


[00:26:55.843] - Andy Lacey

So if you think about it and kudos to them for doing absolutely that they're looking after their people. So you have a study and a kind of a support environment in around vicarious trauma for barristers who are prosecuted cases in court because they're seeing photographs of tragic events and or cross-examine witnesses. Yet you've got the police officer in the corner who previously was at that scene who engage with the victim who went through all that occupation and frustrations. And you're aware your hands saying, hello, I'm over here, but that's our problem and we're going to deal with that.

 


[00:27:27.763] - Andy Lacey

But if you think about we carried out with us every step of the way and it keeps building and building and more needs to be done for sure.

 


[00:27:35.503] - Steve Morreale 

So I want to wind down and you are somebody who is a lifelong learner and you're working on your PhD. You know, what is that brought to your work? How does education continue to education inform the work that you do?

 


[00:27:50.773] - Andy Lacey

Good question, Steve. And definitely one that I'm seeing the benefits as we go. As I said, we're linked in with universities now as part of the future commission of policing. So that's a report that would have come out in 2018. It's going to set the roadmap for ongoing Ashokan in terms of our police reform. They've identified that we got to do it as more we got to embrace with top level education that helps those organizational oversight change. And yeah, I think it's something that you're probably akin to in the States in terms of collaborations with universities and academia.

 


[00:28:21.373] - Andy Lacey

But we've started that journey and I've seen that now to start my PhD. And how does it enhancers in terms of police officers? And it surely does. It gives us an insight into other contextual issues that are out there. Societal issues helps us better understand the communities that we're working. And so it's one thing being know the law and knowing our policy, but kind of broad another reason in terms of an academic appreciation and understanding, looking at the whys and the dos and looking at the third party element of it is really enriching.

 


[00:28:51.103] - Andy Lacey

And that's the direction we want to go with a critical engagement and understanding our communities and enhancing our knowledge and experience and our skill. So that's definitely been a journey that we've started on from a point of view as a person. It's definitely helped me develop in terms of my own understanding and performance and my own craft around that. And I don't like the term academic, but maybe I am turning into one.

 


[00:29:13.993] - Steve Morreale 

You will.

 


[00:29:14.863] - Andy Lacey

I will be able to connect without that practice, the professional practice and academics to study and work that we're doing that with a human rights course going at you. I know you're aware of as well. And four or five hundred officers involved and nothing that can only be a good thing. And those collaborations need to continue. And it gives us a sense of it justifies our approaches as well when we can bring others involved with our victims of crime victims of sexual violence on a sofa free of the parties involved at the end user end of that.

 


[00:29:43.873] - Andy Lacey

And that can only be a good take.

 


[00:29:45.433] - Steve Morreale 

A couple of personal questions. What's on your bucket list?

 


[00:29:48.013] - Andy Lacey

Bucket list? Well, after the last 12 months, I think everyone's bucket list is pretty much exploded. We just I just want to go to the beach. That can be one. I can't go.

 


[00:29:57.003] - Steve Morreale 

And maybe to a pub.

 


[00:29:58.423] - Andy Lacey

Yeah, definitely, for sure. For kids. Yeah. Well, look at the next 12 months to just get this to go travel again. I'd love to get over to in Boston on the to do list gets an NBA game. I've got a I've got a sixteen- year-old guy here who's gone mad at the basketball over left town. So I've got a promise in that, but I'm outside of that. And from our point of view, something that's I want to do in the city project here on states like does are an Irish site that you're aware of.

 


[00:30:22.693] - Andy Lacey

And that's going to be a legacy project. That's going to be the privilege to be involved in it. So we're doing a lot of collaborations with yourselves over there. And Dr Sarah Abbott, who I know is coming on, and Scottish police and Toronto police to the PSNI. So we're doing a huge amount of work around that to introduce city teams here in Ireland to. For bases for the first time, and as I said, it's kind of a privilege is something that you're really excited about, that we can actually make a tangible difference or a change to not only policing, but Irish society.

 


[00:30:49.033] - Andy Lacey

So that's the bulk of this, to get that done and get us successfully done in the next two years will be will be fantastic. So that's something that I'm driving towards at the moment.

 


[00:30:57.673] - Steve Morreale 

So who inspires you? Who you look to for? Advice who inspires you?

 


[00:31:05.173] - Andy Lacey

Look, I'm a big sports fanatic, they spend a lot of time coaching, watching and studying various sports. So I do take inspiration from warriors in the field, those that are operating the most pressurized situations in the sporting context. I just I'm just fascinated by it. Come, we can relate it back to policing. I think we can. It's like a split decision making, working under duress and those kind of clutch moments, as they call it, over your side.

 


[00:31:30.673] - Andy Lacey

A fascinating I saw that from an inspiration point of view. I'm going to stick to my answer on sports. That's OK.

 


[00:31:35.653] - Steve Morreale 

That's fine with me. If you have an opportunity to talk to anybody, to somebody who is famous, dead or alive, who would you want to talk to?

 


[00:31:42.163] - Andy Lacey

Steve, I'm going to pick a relative of mine, a blood relative of mine who's who is deceased. And he was a freedom fighter in the Irish War of Independence over 100 years ago, a man called Dennis Stilley Lacy. And he was one of the most renowned leaders in the Irish Republican Army at the time during the war of Independence in the Civil War. He was someone who read up an awful lot about since and, you know, salute the bravery and sheer commitment to the cause was just incredible.

 


[00:32:07.513] - Andy Lacey

So he would have been a commander in what's called a flying column, which is kind of like a form of guerrilla warfare, I suppose, back then, rural guerrilla warfare. And not to sit down with him and get a sense of the bravery, the relentless fight, the resilience, you know, and the fight for freedom would just be amazing. But when we talk about leadership and organization and stuff today, like how did these guys do it, you know, over 100 years ago with the might of British forces after they were hiding out in the mountains, they have how do they mobilize themselves and organize themselves?

 


[00:32:37.543] - Andy Lacey

How do they communicate with each other? Like, you know, they're the teams we're talking about here.

 


[00:32:40.723] - Andy Lacey

But for someone like that, we've

 


[00:32:42.933] - Steve Morreale 

Actually, you make me wonder, how did they do it? No, no cell phones, no radios and rural, open space. I mean, that's a great, that's a great question. And I can understand why you'd want to sit down.

 


[00:32:56.443] - Steve Morreale 

Well, we've had the pleasure of talking with Inspector Andrew Lacey in Ireland today. And I want to thank Andrew for coming on. And I very much look forward to getting back together with you again.

 


[00:33:06.583] - Steve Morreale 

But you have obviously given us a perspective that most do not have. And for that, I appreciate it. I thank you.

 


[00:33:12.073] - Andy Lacey

Thank you, Steve and really can't wait to have you back over here again and going over to see you in Boston and take care of my friend. We'll talk soon.

 


[00:33:19.063] - Steve Morreale 

Thanks. You've been listening to Steve Morreale. This is The CopDoc Podcast. Stay tuned for further episodes.

 


[00:33:26.173] - 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 into The CopDoc Podcast for regular episodes of interviews with thought leaders in policing.