The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

TCD Podcast Ep017 - Interview with Dr. Vicki Herrington - Australian Institute of Police Management, Director of Knowledge

April 19, 2021 Dr. Vicki Herrington, Australian Institute of Police Management Season 1 Episode 17
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
TCD Podcast Ep017 - Interview with Dr. Vicki Herrington - Australian Institute of Police Management, Director of Knowledge
Show Notes Transcript

We chatted with Dr. Vicki Herrington, the Director of Knowledge at the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM).  We talked about policing, police leadership, training, and approaches to reflective learning on the issues confronting policing and the rising dissatisfaction of police service delivery, especially in urban areas in the states.  

A fascinating interview with Vicki, an international thought leader, showing the similarities and differences in policing and police leader training from down under!

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If you'd like to arrange for facilitated training, or consulting, or talk about steps you might take to improve your leadership and help in your quest for promotion, contact Steve at

[00:00:02.710] - Intro

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


[00:00:44.160] - Steve Morreale

Well, hello, everybody, this is Steve Morreale, and you're listening to The CopDoc Podcast here from Boston, and today I have the opportunity to talk to Dr. Vicki Herrington, who is sitting in the UK right now, but is working generally before covid with the Australian Institute of Police Management. So I'm so happy to have Vicki. We've talked offline and we're talking today. So good morning. It's afternoon in the U.K., but good morning, Vicki. How are you?


[00:01:10.740] - Vicki Herrington

I'm very well, thank you. Thank you for having me. Great pleasure to be here. It's a Friday. So your weekend is already almost started, right? Yep.


[00:01:18.570] - Vicki Herrington

Near enough. Near enough. This is my last engagement of the week, so make it a good one.


[00:01:24.300] - Steve Morreale

Well, I'm glad. And you said it's been a long week. It's been a long week for me, but we started talking about what you're doing, that you are the Director of Knowledge. That is so impressive. That means you are all-knowing.


[00:01:38.220] - Vicki Herrington

I know.


[00:01:39.060] - Steve Morreale

Is that so?  So, you're the director of knowledge for the AIPM, the Australian Institute of Police Management. Tell us about yourself, where you're from, how you ended up in this job and what you're doing.


[00:01:51.090] - Vicki Herrington

OK, so maybe we'll start at the beginning. I am I I grew up in London with my two sisters and my family and my mum and dad on a council estate, which is social housing estate. And I knew from a very young age that I wanted to engage in education as a way of creating more opportunities in life. So off I toddled to university to do psychology, which was really interesting. I really enjoyed that. And I went down to Portsmouth and Portsmouth had quite a sort of at the time I had a criminal psychology, what they were calling criminal psychology focus.


[00:02:24.750] - Vicki Herrington

So I was quite engaged in that. And from there sort of bumbled into a master's in criminal justice studies and the best of my love of the criminal justice system and improving people's trying to improve people's lives through the criminal justice system, through engagement and social justice enterprises. So from there, I went down the research route, became a research assistant for a project from the Home Office, which is interesting. I spent a lot of time sitting in probation offices and drug shopping centers, talking to former offenders, sex offenders and then, you know, traveled the world for bit, which was good fun and ultimately ended up back in Australia, which in 2006 I moved to Australia, took up a job at a university teaching criminal intelligence.


[00:03:06.590] - Vicki Herrington

I spent some time in the Met as a crime analyst on that path, and that was tapped on the shoulder to come across to the Australian Institute of Peace Management is their inaugural director of research and learning.


[00:03:17.220] - Vicki Herrington

I think they suspected that they well, they knew that they wanted an academic involved and I suspect they thought I was a telemarketer. Well, they term a tame academic. And from that, we were able to build a really interesting kind of portfolio, work around generating opportunities for police leadership, which informed our programs. And then kind of ultimately this job morphed into a bigger job around being the director of knowledge.


[00:03:41.070] - Vicki Herrington

But I certainly hope that that does not mean I know everything. I think the more that you know, the more you don't know.


[00:03:47.550] - Vicki Herrington

So actually, my job now is kind of coordinating a little bit all our efforts around kind of creating, curating and communicating our knowledge base, injecting that through our programs, which are designed to assist police executives and. Yeah, and having conversations like this, which stretch me and stretch my thinking and help develop my thinking to. So yeah.


[00:04:09.750] - Steve Morreale

So you've written a lot and it looks like you've written as I downloaded sheets of paper, things that you have done, you have written some alone and some with others. Law enforcement and public health, police leadership. A comparative consideration, valuing different shades of blue about diversity.


[00:04:25.380] - Vicki Herrington

It's a fun one. That one. Yeah.


[00:04:27.090] - Steve Morreale

And equivalence, quality and equity for prisoners. I'm just looking at a few. An Australian commentary on police leadership, Fostering police leadership in the Solomon Islands, the value of education and developing leadership. And I don't mean to go down all of them, but then you start working on things that are engaging communities. You talk about the impact of policing, police training and mental health, and that's in 2014, which is way ahead of when we are talking.


[00:04:53.430] - Steve Morreale

We're talking about it in earnest today. And so in some cases, it would seem that you're way ahead of us and we're way behind you. But talk about the institute. The institute is - where does it lie as governmental? Is it private? Who engages it? How is it how is it directed? Presumably, there's a board of directors or something like that about or some group of people who are saying this is what we need. So tell us a little bit about that, especially for the listeners that have never been to Australia.


[00:05:21.570] - Vicki Herrington

So the AIPM is that what's called a National Common Police Service, which means effectively it's owned by the all the other police services. So that's that's what our Board of Control is made up of all of the commissioners from the other police jurisdictions across Australia and New Zealand. So that's our board. And they effectively guide our strategic direction. And we sort of. Semi-autonomous, I suppose, within that, because we have an executive director, strategic plan and business plan that hangs off of all of that, our work is principally around providing leadership development and education opportunities for Midrand came through to senior executives.


[00:06:00.030] - Vicki Herrington

And we do that across the public safety landscape, if you like. So while we're owned by police, we have a very expansive view of those involved in public safety, including the firies. You know, in the past we've had ambulance services, the tax office. You know, you have a whole range of an increasing range of folks who are engaged in sort of policing, if you like, or public safety and debits. And so while they don't have, I guess, any sort of formal strategic buy into the organization, they are definitely a massively important part of our student body and an alumni network, too.


[00:06:34.170] - Vicki Herrington

So we we provide these leadership development and education opportunities and that can look at a bunch of different ways that can look like formal graduate programs. So we have a graduate certificate and a graduate diploma that we run in applied management and executive leadership. We have what we term the Executive Development Suite, which is a non accredited nonacademic development program, which is embedded with coaching embedded in that. We have learning circles embedded in that, as well as, I guess, some formal academic content, if you like, but it's not assessed.


[00:07:03.810] - Vicki Herrington

So it's more of a development opportunity. We have partnership at work where an organization might come to us and say we've got a cadre of newly promoted superintendents.


[00:07:14.880] - Vicki Herrington

Can you come and help us develop, you know, their esprit de corps or their kind of their leadership, the leadership skills? And so we do that. So that's in the service of individual organizational kind of strategic objectives as well. And and yeah.


[00:07:27.390] - Vicki Herrington

And I guess we've got other kind of more funding, what we would call foundational programs. So a front line leadership program, which is a five day program for sergeants or the balanced program, which is really popular, which is our Women in Leadership program, and that has a complete cross-section of ranks involved, but specifically focused on women in leadership programs.



And then if that wasn't enough, we've also got the Pacific faculty. So through this, the IBM and the Australian Federal Police, who stood up for specific faculty, which engaged specifically with police leadership development in the Pacific, which is a really important strategic partner for Australia.


[00:08:06.450] - Vicki Herrington

And we also do development opportunities broadly defined, such as seminars or having what I like to turn dangerous conversations or having dangerous ideas posed. And so I think there's a whole range of things that we do at the institute, which can be broadly categorized as leadership development and education.


[00:08:25.830] - Steve Morreale

So a couple of questions that I'm writing feverishly as it's as you're speaking. But the first thing I'm curious about is AIPM, an educational institution. So you said that you've got the graduate program and diplomas. Is it considered a university? Is it affiliated with a university? And how does that work?


[00:08:43.110] - Vicki Herrington

So we're a higher education provider, which means we stand alone with accreditation from the Tertiary Education Qualification Standards Agency, which is the federal commonwealth body, which allows universities to give awards. It allows higher education bodies to give awards. So we are accredited by them, which is, as you would imagine, is a long process getting that accreditation. And that gives us it gives the profession real freedom. And I think that's it's a it's a real it's really important for the ICAM to have that because on behalf of the profession, we can award these graduate programs, which means as a profession, they have a voice in what goes in these graduate programs.


[00:09:24.700] - Vicki Herrington

They're also as operational requirements changes, capability needs change, then we can reflect that in amendments to our curriculum as well.


[00:09:33.930] - Steve Morreale

So that's interesting. And I've had the pleasure and the opportunity to work with the Garda College and the police. Colligan in the UK. And that's not something we have in the United States. And there is some talk about that, about having a police management college. So it's very fascinating to me. You also talked about Pacific faculty, again, for somebody who has not been down there, who might be listening. What are those Pacific nations? What are those Pacific islands that you speak about?


[00:10:00.000] - Vicki Herrington

Well, in the Pacific, sort of broadly speaking, you've got three sort of cultural groups, I suppose, in the islands kind of broadly into those cultural groups. We've done a lot of work with the Melanesian Cultural Group, which would encompass places like the Solomon Islands, which you mentioned as a piece of work that I've done myself and Fiji, Vanuatu. These are the places that we're dealing with this Tonga and the sort of Polynesian nations as well. And then we've got the Micronesian nations, as well as the Karen Bass and Tuvalu and places like that.


[00:10:31.530] - Vicki Herrington

So there's a whole bunch of kind of nations and they have their own sort of collective identity as well in policing. And then we work with them individually. We work with them collectively as part of. The work, the Pacific faculty, it's it's it's really important and fascinating piece of work to try and do what we can to do capacity building around this leadership. That's great.


[00:10:52.350] - Vicki Herrington

And it extends your reach, which is important. And I'm sure you're learning in some case, they're learning from you. You're learning from them. I think if we don't keep our minds open, isn't that true?


[00:11:01.050] - Vicki Herrington

Yeah, right. I couldn't I could not agree with you more. And I think or in fact, I think all of the learning that we do have is to say, because every time we do any sort of program, we come away as facilitators or as educators, wiser and also better able to connect maybe what we're thinking about theoretically with the brutal realities of being a leader in a public safety organization. So I could not agree with you more. Definitely two-way.


[00:11:24.780] - Steve Morreale

 You said something about dangerous conversations. I mean, I understand actually, I do a training on crucial conversations and difficult conversations. And you say dangerous conversations, danger, danger. But tell us what you mean by that.


[00:11:39.420] - Vicki Herrington

Perhaps better categorized as dangerous ideas, I suppose, because I think one of the things that we need to get better at as a profession and as leaders in that profession is being comfortable being faced with dangerous ideas instead of circling the wagons and thinking that actually these things, these ideas, these alternatives, attacks upon our perceptions of professionalism or in our effectiveness, actually what's often at the root of a dangerous idea is something that might be quite interesting to consider.


[00:12:10.080] - Vicki Herrington

So I think that if you can't have a dangerous idea or engage in a dangerous conversation in a place like the IPN, where we spend an awful lot of time creating a safe, trusting environment, then when are you going to have those conversations?



And if you're not going to have those conversations and however you've got to evolve as a profession, I recognize that there are political realities on outside where being perceived to be perhaps a little bit unsure about the direction of your organization or perhaps being perceived to not be not fulfill the strong, heroic leadership mode, maybe that's a bit dangerous.


[00:12:43.920] - Vicki Herrington

But actually, I think if we can engage better in a difference, different ideas, different ways of expressing our thoughts, different perspectives on the same problem with empathy and with a kind of a curiosity that I think that can only benefit the benefit, the profession's ability to better serve its community. So dangerous ideas in the service of better policing.


[00:13:05.280] - Steve Morreale

As you're speaking, I'm thinking about Covey's work and one of the habits seek first to understand and then be understood. In other words, is that something that people would understand? You know, they don't understand us. Well, maybe they don't. Maybe we need to do a better job of helping them understand us. And by the way, we should probably work to try to understand their point of view, whatever that is, whoever that is, whether it might be black lives matter.


[00:13:28.650] - Steve Morreale

It might be the indigenous. It might be, you know, people who are attacking the police because they don't understand. I mean, but I'm curious about this. Is this a very interesting conversation? Curious about I think you've identified a few, but can you talk about something that you may be engaged in now that you say we've got to start talking about that. We've got to start drawing that out of the people who come in to help, a, understand and help them be understand themselves better.


[00:13:53.250] - Vicki Herrington

So a piece of work that I'm becoming more deeply embroiled in, I suppose, for want of a better term, is this notion of how we lead in complex adaptive systems.


[00:14:02.610] - Vicki Herrington

So I think that can go back to the learning going both ways. I'm not suggesting for a moment that I have a handle on how we lead in complex adaptive systems, but I am very curious about opportunities for influence in my systems.


[00:14:14.100] - Vicki Herrington

And it fits quite nicely with, I guess, the the academic history or the theoretical history, if you like, at the AIPM where we've talked. We spent a lot of time talking about wicked problems. We spend a lot of time talking about adaptive leadership approaches. And these are really in many ways the antithesis of what we're taught from school and certainly through the academy of what good leadership looks like. Good leadership looks like control, good leadership. Looks like knowing where you're going.


[00:14:36.660] - Vicki Herrington

We're actually we realize that if we look at problems and in complex adaptive systems, we don't know these things. But being able to confront that individually as a as a leader, to be able to say, I have no idea where I'm going here, and instead of just pretending that I do, I'm picking a direction and leading into that. Maybe it's about looking around me thinking, well, how can I get a better sense of what's really going on here?


[00:14:59.310] - Vicki Herrington

Is it about building an environment, psychologically safe environment, in which forces of difference can be heard?


[00:15:05.370] - Vicki Herrington

Is it about being able to identify and find those voices and amplify them? And is it about being able to tell a different story? Is it is it about being able to change a conversation that we're having internally? So those are the sorts of things that I'm quite interested in at the moment. And I'm interested in them from a from a formal leader's point of view, what you do as a formal leader to create that kind of context. I'm interested in it from a shared leadership point of view.


[00:15:28.140] - Vicki Herrington

So what does shared leadership look like when we think about complexity, think about emergence as a really important part of complexity. So how do we get that sort of what emerges and how can we how can we exercise leadership in that emergence to shape? Rather than necessarily trying to control it and changing things, clearly you have facilitated many a conversation and it's one of the things that I enjoy doing and I never consider myself a teacher, but a facilitator. And my sense is that and I'll ask students who are in the class.


[00:15:58.010] - Steve Morreale

Next week, I'll be dealing with sergeants from all over New England. And a few weeks later, it's mid managers. And after that, it's executives and executives and development. And I'll ask them questions. What is it that I have done in this class with you that you notice that's different? Do I know at all? Because that's the first thing I admit. I don't know at all. I'm still learning and I'm a student of leadership for 30 years and I still don't fully understand it.


[00:16:22.450] - Steve Morreale

It looks like you may feel exactly the same way. Fair statement?


[00:16:27.070] - Vicki Herrington

I mean, what I said, I think we said earlier, the more that, you know, the more that you realize you don't know. And but being humble about that and being able to recognize that instead of maybe feeling defensive about that, I think is a really important skill. And that's something I think that is quite different than the recognition that people look to you in an educational context to be the leader as well. Right. So they look to you to stand at the front of the classroom and tell them what's going to happen next and tell them what the schedule is and tell them what it is that we think they should know.


[00:16:58.000] - Vicki Herrington

And so a very different thing to do to thwart that expectation can be pretty uncomfortable thing to do. But it's actually a really important thing to do because people get to experience that as well.


[00:17:08.890] - Steve Morreale

Well, you know, Vicky, we're told, by the way, we're talking to Vicky Harrington, the director of knowledge from the Australian Institute of Police Management, and having what I find is a fascinating conversation about leadership and about policing and about training. And as you're speaking, I'm talking I've got this book leading with questions. But I think that that's an awful lot of what we end up doing sometimes. What what's troubling for for a leader is that you raise an idea with the intention that this is going to be what we're going to push through and you start letting other people engage in it.


[00:17:39.160] - Steve Morreale

And pretty soon your idea is co-opted. And very often it looks completely different from what you intended. And you have to be you have to feel comfortable enough, confident enough that this might be a better way than Steve's way of thinking or Vicki's way of thinking, rather our way of thinking collectively, I mean, sort of what you're talking about. So a lot of what I think you might do when you've been this is just a guess is to lead with questions and to help leaders do exactly the same way around their tables, asking the question and sitting back and listening to the response.


[00:18:12.340] - Steve Morreale

React to that, Vicky.


[00:18:13.550] - Vicki Herrington

Yeah. So I think you're absolutely right, but I think the listening comes at two levels. So, yes, you may be listening to what people are saying, but in the kind of you adopt this adaptive leadership approach, it's tough. It's the ability to listen to actually what's going on beneath those words. So listen to the talks about listening to the song, beneath the words. And I think that's a really important thing that we do. I can't say, yeah, we might watch an interaction in the classroom.


[00:18:34.690] - Vicki Herrington

We might hear someone talk or someone be quiet or someone be shut down or someone be, you know, someone speak with such authority that everybody agrees.


[00:18:44.260] - Vicki Herrington

It's fascinating to watch and then being able to unpack that actually what's really going on there, because our leadership classrooms really a microcosm of our organization also. Yes. So being able to use those classroom experiences as a way of unpacking what really is going on in our organizations, what are the traps that we fall into?


[00:19:03.910] - Vicki Herrington

What are our blindspots? What are the ways that people perceive us and, you know, maybe instinctively react to us?


[00:19:11.200] - Vicki Herrington

So there's there's a whole bunch of different ways, I suppose, that you could use curiosity, questions and inquiring minds to unpack what's happening in a leadership educational development context. And I just if I could be so bold as to pick you up on the use of leadership training, because that's a really important for us. And we never used the term leadership training because training suggests that, you know what people need to know and actually you don't. So actually, we talk about leadership development.


[00:19:40.210] - Vicki Herrington

We talk about leadership education, because training, it's a very different mindset that we might normally approach to other forms of police training.


[00:19:48.460] - Steve Morreale

And I agree with you and I'm sorry if I if I misspoke, but I completely understand. And obviously in education, that's exactly what we're talking about. We we vocational. Are we educating? In other words, what are we trying to do with our students and whether they are traditional students or nontraditional students? And I think what's important is about helping people become more critical thinkers and more broad thinkers and engage other people. So let's talk about this, because I think this is really important, your perspective, and this is a big question of leadership, the elements of leadership, the process of leading and leadership, what comes to mind, what's on your agenda to to advance the discussion of leadership.


[00:20:30.670] - Vicki Herrington

So I quite I like the I like to make a distinction between leaders and leadership. So I think that we as a whole bunch of the that we've done about what we perceive as being good and indeed bad leaders. Schaefer does some great work on that, ladies. It's really interesting stuff in policing and specifically so we can talk about leaders and what we think we want, what we perhaps actually do need instead. And then we can talk about leadership is a process in the process.


[00:20:56.940] - Vicki Herrington

Imagine from the group, not that think about leadership and for leadership and in terms of leadership empathetically about shared leadership, which means I'm interested in how we create those environments.


[00:21:07.680] - Vicki Herrington

How do you create an organization, this ability to be the voice of dissent?


[00:21:12.770] - Vicki Herrington

How do you create an organization's psychological safety? How do you create a particularly hierarchical organization, the ability to cool the box out?


[00:21:21.410] - Vicki Herrington

Because unless you're able to do that, then you're not really developing an environment which leadership can emerge.



And if you're not engaging in an environment which leads to promote them, I'm not entirely sure how you think you're going to be dealing with complex problem. So so for me, I suppose when you say what what comes to mind when you talk about leadership? I think about it as a process rather than maybe as a set of attributes that we could append to an individual. There are undoubtedly bits and pieces about individuals which are important so that that humility, that ability to listen, that ability to make sense of the world outside and be able to communicate and make meaning for that, for the people inside, the ability to create a vision and to communicate a vision, but to be sufficiently flexible within that, to enable and create an environment in which others can come to the table to.


[00:22:07.220] - Vicki Herrington

So, yeah, all of those things, I think, are kind of important.


[00:22:10.010] - Steve Morreale

What I find interesting is that, first of all, I've tried to develop a more global perspective and so many here have blinders on. And it may be in other countries, but there's so much that we can learn. I know that, you know, when I'm teaching even young people, I'm asking them to take a look at their local take a look at the regional talk, take a look at something on the other side of the country, and then look at other English speaking countries, Australia and New Zealand or to the places that I send them, because there's such material there from your Australian military that I use all of the time.


[00:22:43.010] - Steve Morreale

And certainly from AIPM, where I came to learn that you even existed from the police college in London from the Garda College. And so it's fascinating to understand policing is policing, is policing. Policing is about people, policing is about relationships, or we're not going to survive if we don't know the people that we're policing. And so when we talk about this, I think how much reflection is driven in your sessions, the ability to sit back and reflect how did I do?


[00:23:11.930] - Steve Morreale

How did this class go? What did I pick up on? Can you speak to that? And whether or not that plays a role?


[00:23:17.540] - Vicki Herrington

I think reflection is probably one of the most important parts of our curriculum, if you like, if you can think of it like that and were assisted by the fact the APM is in a very special place. So it's down a long driveway. You go right up a big hill and then you come down the long driveway. You've got gum trees on the side, you've got the beach to the to the right of you. And then you come through these sliding gates and you go onto the campus.


[00:23:40.130] - Vicki Herrington

And we oftentimes hear people say, at that moment, I can feel that the world is left behind me and the doors close behind you and you're in a safe place. And I know it sounds a bit trite to say that, but actually it's a really important part of the educational experience because folk come to the R.P.M. and they know that they're among friends, that they know that they're going to be treated well. They know that we're going to look after them in our sort of five star accommodation.


[00:24:05.990] - Vicki Herrington

They're going to get great food. They're going to have a great opportunity to have a barbecue overlooking the harbor, all of that kind of good fun kind of tangible stuff. And I also know that they can have a conversation at the guy I can. That's not going to go any further. They can edit their dirty laundry, if you like. Yes. In the IPN and get some and have an opportunity to reflect. So to be able to to voice some of the challenges that facing and have peers reflect that back to them and offer them other perspectives.


[00:24:32.810] - Vicki Herrington

And that's really important. So educationally, it's embedded in all of our programs. Reflection, reflection, cycle is a key part of what we do in our graduate programs. At least two, maybe three or four of the papers reflect explicit, reflective papers where they get, you know, to over a particular incident. We have something called a peer case consultation, which I think is so valuable, which is they bring a problem to the table, something that they've challenged that they've been through to the table.


[00:25:00.110] - Vicki Herrington

And they kind of give that perspective. And then they sit back and they listen as their colleagues how to dissect it. And it can be challenging. Right. And they you know, they challenge your motivations and they challenge your perspective. Those are it's explicit and implicit, I suppose, is what I'm saying. Any visit to the IBM. And it's such an important thing for policing to be able to DEA because at times our pace is so fast and our operational demands are so high and the risks are so big that actually we don't have time to draw breath.


[00:25:30.140] - Vicki Herrington

So AIPOM is a great place to do that.


[00:25:32.480] - Steve Morreale

In order to make that happen, it would seem to me that you have to develop an instant rapport, allow for trusting and open dialog. And what I find is. And I say this all the time, and I'll bet you and your faculty colleagues say the same thing, A, I don't know it all be I'm going to learn from you and see you're going to learn as much from each other as you will ever learn from me. And that's where we end up learning by allowing, you know, peers to talk to one another.


[00:25:58.850] - Steve Morreale

And so clearly, you're doing that in a very admirable way. So talk about talk about some of the courses maybe that you're working on now that the course focus dealing with issues. And then I want to switch to something completely different.


[00:26:10.760] - Steve Morreale

But what's on your to do list now to try to keep things moving.


[00:26:14.450] - Vicki Herrington

So like most organizations during the last 12 months, we have pivoted online, which is actually a really challenging thing, given everything I've just said about the value proposition of the premise, bringing multiagency groups of folks together to a location where they are treated well and they are given time and space in the beautiful surroundings to think and reflect together. Now all of a sudden covid hits and you have to do it alone.


[00:26:42.620] - Vicki Herrington

So how do you do that? And so all of ours. So the last 12 months, we've spent an awful lot of time switching up in the first instance, how graduate programs. And then we started experimenting with some of the more explicitly developmental programs into the online world. So that keeps us very busy. And educationally, you know, it's manageable. It's OK, because there is a lot more content, I suppose, in a graduate program than there is in a development program, which is much more nested on the conversations that happen between the participants.


[00:27:14.030] - Vicki Herrington

But even in those graduate programs, we found that the implicit value in those programs for the networks that folk walked away with. So as soon as you've got people walking away with those networks so much anymore, so we've had to really consciously try and embed opportunities to build those networks. I don't think we do. We do. We've definitely got better at that through more group assignments, for example, or breakout rooms.


[00:27:37.680] - Vicki Herrington

Yeah, we use breakout rooms, but more kind of I mean, they had they come and have a have a syndicate if they were on site with us, IBM. So actually we've had some type of extended concessions to be much more explicitly about sharing perspectives and ideas instead of what they would normally be, which might be how are you going with your assignment? So, no, actually, we need to think about what they syndicate sessions, how they can deliver some of that network building that has otherwise been lost.


[00:28:00.600] - Vicki Herrington

So that's the sorts of things that are keeping us busy at the moment.


[00:28:03.470] - Vicki Herrington

And, you know, Austrailia has fared incredibly well with Covid, but we still face border closures at the drop of a hat. So it's still not we're still not out of the woods yet, as it were.


[00:28:13.070] - Vicki Herrington

And so I think online and certainly Blended is going to be with us for a very long time. And I hope I'm sure that we will just get better and better at being able to deliver the same kind of value, even if it looks slightly different through an online format.


[00:28:25.730] - Steve Morreale

I want to ask a couple of questions, your perspective of what you saw on January 6th in the United States, sitting in the UK and watching on TV what happened and being affiliated with police and police leaders. What was your impression? Oh, gosh.


[00:28:41.480] - Vicki Herrington

Now that sounds that's a very curly question to give someone in the UK, because I would not in Australia, I would not presume to make any judgments about American policing. I can tell you what I felt as a citizen watching what was unfolding and, you know, the conversations being had on Twitter about it being the season finale of the United States and that in many ways it felt some real and it felt so catastrophic. I suppose I, like anyone else, was watching agog.


[00:29:10.070] - Steve Morreale

Now, I'm not for any moment thinking that that means I'm passing judgment on any of the.


[00:29:15.710] - Steve Morreale

No, I don't see it that way.


[00:29:16.860] - Steve Morreale

The system involved, you know, there are maybe it goes back to your earlier earlier point, Steve, where you said policing is policing and policing. And I kind of agree to that. But I also think context is everything. Yes. Oh, the sorts of policing you can do in Australia, which has a very different history of enforcement than perhaps the UK. You can go you can get away with a different kind of policing.


[00:29:40.970] - Vicki Herrington

It's much more enforcement heavy. We're much more Australians are much more accepting of the state, exercising power in that way, very different in the UK. And you can see this in the covert response. So in Australia, the response was high fines, stay at home or else. In the UK, the police had to adopt a policing by consent posture. So it was about engage, we engage, reexplain, we encourage. And it's a last resort we're going to enforce.


[00:30:06.260] - Vicki Herrington

And also, I think I think that point about context is really important. And the context, I guess, of the US in recent and even longer history is such that, you know, we cannot divorce that from the things that we see play out in policing. So I don't know that that particularly answers your question, but I think if police forces the world over recognize that there is an identity crisis happening or Hedda Inspector from Scotland make this point before that policing is going through this identity crisis, what do we do?


[00:30:36.080] - Vicki Herrington

What do we think or how do we engage? We have 80 percent of the things you respond to or about vulnerability, not crime. How do we deal with it in the context of challenges like defun d the police movement, challenges like the things that we saw on January 6th, and what does it mean for us? Have we done more policing, how we've been used in that? So so I think all of those things play out and are influenced and influenced by and influenced the sorts of more headline-grabbing events that we see around protests around what happened at the Capitol or what happens in Sydney.


[00:31:10.090] - Vicki Herrington

So as a leader, it's a challenging time to both hold the morale of your people together, which is an important part of trying to keep people well, because cops are getting a bit of a bashing. It's kind of important to keep those people well at the same time as trying to make meaning for those people about what these challenges mean. So what am I sensing on the outside? How can I make meaning for the meaning of that for people on the inside?


[00:31:33.610] - Steve Morreale

Yeah, it is a difficult time and but it has to be discussed. It has to be confronted. And I think in America and I think in other places, because I'm talking to other other leaders in other countries that we're called on, they are called on too many times to deal with social issues that may be in the bailiwick of a social service agency. But the social service agency has not been properly funded, is not available 24/7, is not going to be there on Saturday, 3:00 in the morning.


[00:32:01.990] - Steve Morreale

And it's the police, they're going to get called. And that's a particular issue that we have to work with those partners to figure out how to fix it and politicians to figure out how to fund it, how to fix it. There's a lot of police that would love to get rid of responding to mental health crises, but you never know what you're going into.


[00:32:18.190] - Vicki Herrington

And I'm going to say that's exactly the point. And I might of Egon Bittner's comments about, you know, police are called when something's happening that would not be happening in about which somebody should do something.


[00:32:26.770] - Vicki Herrington

And that's kind of the reality check bona fides concept of welfare. These are the things that people call the cops about. So please turn up is inevitable. It does not matter if you make some kind of strategic organizationally positioning position about we are not going to respond to mental health. You are going to get called mental health, whether you like it or not. Because if something's happening that ought not be happening about which somebody do something, then the cops are going to be called.


[00:32:50.860] - Vicki Herrington

Right. I think you make a really important point, though, about how we deal with that. How do we deal with that? And I was talking at the Law Enforcement and Public Health Conference yesterday and tried to throw off a different way of viewing things. And I suspect that the way we are funding our organization leads to these siloed responses. So even a multi agency partnerships where we're trying to smooth the pathways between police and handing over to psychiatric services or the emergency department, we still come with this effectively, fundamentally competitive way of dealing with things.


[00:33:23.320] - Vicki Herrington

And because it's based upon funding, because we're incentivized to behave that way, we're incentivized to view the problem from our perspective and nobody else's perspective.


[00:33:31.780] - Vicki Herrington

So how can we change that? Well, maybe part of it is about not funding the agencies is about funding the problems. Maybe part of that is about learning, which should lead to, it looks like at an organizational level.


[00:33:42.220] - Vicki Herrington

And how can we bring folk together, actively listen to be empathic about another organization's point of view? And moreover, how do we then incentivize shared and collective action through shared outcome instead of it being measuring success on how long it takes a year to turn around at the emergency department when you've got someone with mental health? How about we think about shared outcome? Looks like, you know, how about in the way that some some research has done in the UK?


[00:34:10.570] - Vicki Herrington

How about you don't get paid as an organization involved in prisons, for example, unless you can guarantee it must be work at two years later, this person has not reoffending. So you're actually pretty good at dealing with recidivism then? It's not just I filled in the form and referred them to the housing department and then I don't know, who cares? It's actually you are incentivized to deal with the outcome, not necessarily just the outcome.


[00:34:31.660] - Vicki Herrington

I think that's an important conversation we need to have because without it, I cannot see how we are ever going to get past that. It's my job. It's not my job conversation that poor people in the middle of the either falling through the gaps or absolutely are not being helped in the best way by talented professionals because their behavior is incentivized by their KPIs, which are which are fundamentally siloed.


[00:34:54.520] - Steve Morreale

Well, I got you going on that question. Did not I brought in another writer and it's fresh in my mind. No, I think that's phenomenal. So let's begin to wind down. What is it that you have as a hobby to take your mind off of or.


[00:35:10.750] - Vicki Herrington

Oh, man, now you might get me started again. Actually, I've had just my wonderful, wonderful husband has just got me a flower subscription. I'd never thought about this. New business models of brilliant. Right. So this is a flower subscription once a week on a Friday morning box, a box of flowers arrives on our doorstep. I'm my new favorite hobby is arranging them.


[00:35:31.930] - Vicki Herrington

It comes with a card about this is a bit of history about the flowers and how you might choose to arrange the it's like, yo, it's like I call it flower yoga because for thirty minutes. Every Friday, I mindfully put together this beautiful bunch of flowers and they last forever.


[00:35:47.440] - Vicki Herrington

My house is now full of flowers and that is an awesome hobby because it's it's actually it's a big a sustainable business is a wonderfully wonderful way of supporting start up, which I think is great, too. And I get to learn I feel like I'm having this learning experience for the rest of Europe.


[00:36:04.630] - Steve Morreale

So you're a you're a budding florist, possibly a second career.


[00:36:09.550] - Vicki Herrington

I was going to say this whole kind of criminology stuff doesn't work out the flower shop, but I wouldn't want to. I like the idea of them turning up on my doorstep and me spending time doing flower yoga instead. That's that's a great hobby.


[00:36:23.980] - Steve Morreale

Even when my wife hears it, I think I might end up trying to find someplace that she can get flowers delivered every Friday because that's one of her favorite things.


[00:36:32.200] - Steve Morreale

What's on your bucket list? What is it you want to find time to do that you have it?


[00:36:36.980] - Vicki Herrington

Oh my goodness. I'm afraid I'm one of those people that I feel like I need about five or six lifetimes to fill in all the things I want to do. And I'm so passionate about the work that I do. I love it. I genuinely love what I do. But the choices I make to follow that dream mean I can't follow the dream of raising chickens and growing organic strawberries, or it means I can't maybe spend to follow the dream of being a stay at home mom and playing, you know, doing jigsaws with my kids.


[00:37:06.970] - Vicki Herrington

So much so, you know, I sometimes feel that I need five or six different lifetimes to fully embrace everything that I really want to do.



I mean, in terms of bucket list, I am increasingly interested in global systems.


[00:37:21.700] - Vicki Herrington

And I think that there is space for places like the AIPM to take an even more bird's eye view. So we have a bird's eye view of what's going in Australia, New Zealand, and I think that's an opportunity to take that more broadly.


[00:37:35.170] - Steve Morreale

So let me ask the last question. If you had a chance to talk to somebody dead or alive who's famous or infamous, whose brain would you like to pick?


[00:37:44.000] - Vicki Herrington

The first person that's funny to me is Scott Page. So there is a mathematical social scientist and I have the Santa Fe Institute and I've become completely addicted to his work. I love it. It's so he talks about complex systems. And so he's got this great course on Audible, which I sort of consumed while arranging flowers. And it's just great. He's such a brilliant communicator of complexity and I would love to speak to him. Just get him to help me articulate what that looks like in policing and in leadership, because I think he's got such a brilliant breadth of knowledge in that space.


[00:38:19.690] - Vicki Herrington

He would be someone I'd like to talk to.


[00:38:20.980] - Vicki Herrington

In fact, you might've spurred to reach might've spurred me to drop him an email now.


[00:38:24.010] - Steve Morreale

I was just about to say, if he's alive and well, I don't work for you to reach out. You know, what I find is that sometimes I reach out for an author and you or yourself as an author and you get an email from somebody later on. It might be five years after you wrote it, three years after you wrote it, just to have somebody recognized that they read what I wrote is unto itself an accomplishment.


[00:38:45.730] - Steve Morreale

So I do appreciate it. Ladies and gentlemen, we've been talking to Dr Vicki Herrington and she sits in Hampshire, in the United Kingdom today and is the Director of Knowledge for the Australian Institute of Police Management. And with the wonder of technology, we've been able to talk to her at nine o'clock in the morning here. What time is it over there? It's not two o'clock.


[00:39:06.610] - Steve Morreale

Two o'clock, and it's coming on the weekend. But Vicki, I want to thank you for what you've shared and that we finally got together to have this taping. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.


[00:39:16.180] - Vicki Herrington

My absolute pleasure.


[00:39:17.200] - Steve Morreale

You've been listening to Steve Morreale in Boston. This is The CopDoc Podcast. Stay tuned for other episodes. And thanks for listening. Hey again, everybody, a few things before you leave. First, thanks for listening. I'm so gratified to see downloads rising in the last few months, not only from the United States, but across the globe.


[00:39:35.610] - Steve Morreale

It is surprising and humbling to find students, colleagues and practitioners listening in. We have a growing number of listeners in Canada, Ireland, England, Northern Ireland, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Colombia. It wows me for sure. We appreciate the time and energy and welcome your feedback. Please feel free to reach out to me by email at CopDoc.Podcast at Again, that's CopDoc.Podcast at


[00:40:04.980] - Steve Morreale

Or check out our website at The CopDoc  Please share the podcast with a friend, and if you find value in the discussions and the many amazing guests who have shared their wisdom, thoughts and viewpoints and their innovative ideas, I hope you gain at least something from the episodes. 


[00:40:40.200] - Steve Morreale

More importantly. I send a huge thank you and a shout out to those of you who are working public safety and policing, who show up for work every day, not knowing the kinds of calls that you'll be sent on or the kinds of situations you'll find yourself in. We understand that you put yourself in harm's way to protect the community and we thank you. We owe you a great debt of gratitude and we hope that you stay healthy and safe and look forward to hearing from you and hope you'll listen to other upcoming episodes. Thanks very much.


[00:41:17.480] - Outro

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


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