The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

TCD Podcast - Dr. Jim McCabe, Ep028, Session 2 - NYPD Inspector (retired) Sacred Heart University,

June 28, 2021 Dr. Jim McCabe Season 1 Episode 28
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
TCD Podcast - Dr. Jim McCabe, Ep028, Session 2 - NYPD Inspector (retired) Sacred Heart University,
Show Notes Transcript

I chatted again with Jim McCabe, retired Inspector with the NYPD, and professor of Criminal Justice at Sacred Heart University.   Jim is an evaluator with the ICMA, having conducted 80 police management reviews in the US.  A member of the NYPD, Federal Court Monitor Team, Jim also teaches Criminal Justice courses, including  Police Management and Research Methods. 

We spoke about a wide range of issues including analysis of police departments, procedural justice, both inside and out of agencies, and the vacuum of leadership.  We discussed the idea that policing is customer service-based and that surveys to gather perspectives and collect data in and out of the organization could be of great value to focus on process and improved service delivery.  

[00:00:00.060] - Steve Morreale

Well, hello, everybody, this is Steve Morreale. You're listening to The CopDoc Podcast coming to you from Boston. And today we have another opportunity to speak with Dr. Jim McCabe and he's sitting at his home in New York City. In Queens, is a professor at Sacred Heart University and retired police inspector with the New York Police Department. We've talked to Jim before. I considered Jim to be a colleague for sure, but a thought leader, very active in what's going on in policing in America.


[00:00:24.120] - Steve Morreale

So we're going to start to chat about analysis of police agencies. Good morning to you, Jim.


[00:00:28.740] - Jim McCabe

Good morning, Steve.


[00:00:29.580] - Steve Morreale

How goes it there?


[00:00:30.930] - Jim McCabe

Things are well, thank you.


[00:00:31.590] - Steve Morreale



[00:00:32.100] - Jim McCabe

 It is spring. Spring has sprung. Looks like it's going to be a nice day here in New York.


[00:00:35.640] - Steve Morreale

So, Jim, we've talked before and you and I have the opportunity of talking quite often, but we talked before about the work that you have done and the work that you do with ICMA and your own work on the side, basically serving as a consultant to police agencies to take a view of where they are, where they've been, where they might be to help leaders strategize. And so one of the first things I know that you do is to seek some information about the police department.


[00:01:00.690] - Steve Morreale

And I'd be curious to know and for you to tell the audience, what is it that you look for? What is it that you ask for and what do you do with it once you get it?


[00:01:07.860] - Jim McCabe

So just as a back story, I've done about 80 studies of local police departments around the country in 40 different states. And this work began after the financial crisis in 2008 when police departments around the country were looking for solutions about staffing generally. Did they have enough? Did they have too many? And how many do we really need to ask? When you ask any police chief in the country, how many police officers do they need? The answer is generally more.


[00:01:34.140] - Jim McCabe

We just need more. So local governments, it's an expensive probably the one of the most expensive line items on their on their budget. So they were looking for professional consulting services. And as you said, International City Managers Association started a consulting group in order to provide those services. So what do we look for and what do you know and what do you do with it? Well, every study starts with data that is extracted from the cat system.


[00:01:57.600] - Jim McCabe

And we believe that in order to understand the workload and the staffing needed to meet that workload, it all starts with the calls of service, both self initiated and from the public initiated. How much time is spent on those calls for service and what kind of calls the police are being asked to respond to? And that requires an awful lot of work. You can imagine in a typical typical community is probably one call for every resident every year. So in a community of about 25,000, you're going to have 25,000 calls for service, a combination of self-initiated and public initiated.


[00:02:29.790] - Jim McCabe

So from those calls, we're able to develop workload models and the workload model will basically illustrate over the course of a 24 hour day how much time is spent handling calls. And with that information, you can overlay the staff that's available to meet that demand and developed over the years, what I call the rule of 60 and the rule of 60 suggests that police officers on patrol should not be dedicated to work more than 60 percent of the time on average.


[00:02:58.080] - Jim McCabe

And that's sort of like a threshold, the 60 percent threshold. So, for example, if you have 10 police officers on duty and available for work, no more than six of them should be assigned to calls at any one time throughout the day. And when you breach that 60 percent threshold, things start to happen with the officers on patrol. They stop getting nosy. They stop getting interested in handling proactive work because they want to remain available for the next call to come and they go into a largely reactive role.


[00:03:25.590] - Jim McCabe

So you want to avoid that reactive role. So it starts with that. And then once you know what the 60 percent threshold is, then I suggest that that whatever number it takes to meet that threshold on patrol, that should be about 60 percent of the personnel was for personnel in the department. So you can tell with those two sixty's within reason how many police officers that particular community would need, both to handle the workload from service and then for the other things that police departments typically do.


[00:03:50.610] - Jim McCabe

So that's number one. That's the big ticket item. And then from there, you have a laundry list of probably about 50 items that we request from departments, everything from personnel rosters, shift schedules, a case management for detectives. How many cases are assigned? What's the caseload, what's the clearance rate, what type of cases do they have? And then we look at every organizational element in the department and there the definitions are less quantifiable and it's more of a best practice to sort of approach evaluating what they're doing, what they're not doing, make recommendations for change.


[00:04:20.940] - Jim McCabe

So it's a lot of information and you know a lot about the department before you get there. And if I can add one of the key pieces of any study and I like to do this is immediately that we get to the department is to do a series of focus groups with the police officers, typically just one focus group with police officers and one focus group with first-line supervisors. I used to let them just go and we learned that after about seventy-five minutes we have enough information and with two seventy five minute focus group sessions with the rank and file officers and first line supervisors, we will probably know more about what's going on in that police department than the police chief does from even being there on a daily basis.


[00:04:55.590] - Steve Morreale

I don't mean to interrupt, but having done that myself, you're absolutely right. Some. What happens, and I'm sure this is what your experience has been, just being listened to, having an opportunity to be heard and to vent. It's amazing how much they'll regurgitate. You sometimes just say, OK, OK, enough. Is that true?


[00:05:12.450] - Jim McCabe

That's true. I joke with them. I say all we need to do is put a case of beer down on the table here and this could go all night. No, you're right. You do get that reaction like, hey, thanks. This is they cathartic. You know, this is like a therapy session. We kind of got this all off our chests. And because people like being hurt and when they believe they're being heard and and I always have to end it with a caution, just because you told me something doesn't mean it's going to change.


[00:05:33.660] - Jim McCabe

But I'll do my best to reflect your opinions and your attitudes in the work. And sometimes it does change, sometimes the actionable items that the public can use.


[00:05:41.440] - Steve Morreale

Well, so as you go in and do these and again, I my experience has been sometimes once you present the report, the people who have either saw it or the politicians that have saw it, someone doesn't like it because it actually speaks the truth and it uncovers some things that maybe they were trying to avoid. Has that happened with you? Because it's certainly uncomfortable for me. You go in there and you try to make an honest assessment. Here's where you're at.


[00:06:04.050] - Steve Morreale

Here's what's going on. And here are some recommendations on how you might be able to fix it. But that resistance and reluctance is hard to overcome sometimes. Sometimes you're uncovering things, ineptitude in a lot of ways.


[00:06:14.550] - Jim McCabe

Yeah, and I will have to say on that, because primarily the level of resistance you can predict, depending upon where the interest in having the study comes from. So if it's the city manager that is calling in the quote unquote expert to study the police department against the wishes of the police chief, you're going to be in for a more resistance than if it's the police chief initiating the study. You have more chance of their being received. Well, and with that in mind, I get it.


[00:06:41.520] - Jim McCabe

Is this strange guy from New York maybe has a little accent, I'm told. You know, I don't know if that's true or not, but what is this guy going to tell me and how do I get him out of here as quick as possible? So what I do to counter that they raise their comfort level is to say, hey, look, this is your opportunity to get what you want, that the city has maybe not been receptive of providing in the past.


[00:07:03.060] - Jim McCabe

So if you give me your ideas and they make sense and I report them, they're going to be more credible coming from me and you might actually have some success in implementing or even getting them. I say the joke in the consulting world is being a consultant is looking at the client's watch and telling them what time it is. So it's not like you're coming up with the great ideas. The great ideas exist there. It just they need to be vocalized.


[00:07:24.850] - Jim McCabe

They need to do need to gain credibility in the eyes of the people that are going to act and that you raise a lot of eyebrows when you go in with that. And I don't mean that in a bad way. That's like, wow, I never thought of it like, yeah, maybe I should open up to this guy. He obviously talks the talks on language. He knows our job. So maybe this is my opportunity to get something done here and it's effective in various degrees.


[00:07:44.100] - Jim McCabe

I can't say that's a magic bullet, but it certainly is helpful.


[00:07:46.790] - Steve Morreale

Well, it seems to me when you write a report like that, it's important, it depends,  is there an ulterior motive. And that's a real problem for the consultant in some ways to say, am I being used here as a hatchet or am I actually being used as somebody who is an efficiency expert to try to make this agency, help the organization provide better service? And that, I think, is a conundrum that you face. I'm sure right away you don't like to be used.


[00:08:09.840] - Jim McCabe

Yeah. And you have to be a fool if you think that they're not trying to use you. Somebody is trying to use you to get something done. And yeah, that's Full-frontal in my mind. But I like to take the opposite approach both with the client and the police department and say, hey, I'm nobody's fool, I'm a social scientist. I'm going to collect information, I'm going to analyze the information and I'm going to report it in a way that's subjective.


[00:08:29.460] - Jim McCabe

And I'm not going to be, I'm not writing somebody support. I'm going to write what I see. And somebody might like it and somebody might not like it, but it doesn't mean it's going to be changed. And I've had that experience where the client will say, you need to take this out, you need to change this. I'm like, well, that's not going to happen. Maybe we'll get some words wrong. We misinterpreted some figures or call the unit a different thing and that'll change.


[00:08:49.320] - Jim McCabe

I don't want change and stuff like that, but substantively, it's not going to get changed and it's up to you. It's a public document because public funds go to pay it. You can release it or not release it, but I'm going to call it like I see it.


[00:08:59.730] - Steve Morreale

That's an interesting perspective, too, Jim, because I know that at times after you finish, you get a call, you might get a call from the mayor's office or you may get a call from the police chief. You may get a call from the local paper asking you what the story is and you have to push them back, say, hey, it's a public document. We released it to someone. So the question goes to whoever paid for it.


[00:09:19.530] - Jim McCabe

That's right.


[00:09:19.860] - Steve Morreale

And then let them fight the fight rather than fighting the fight. Correct statement?


[00:09:23.520] - Jim McCabe

Yeah, it's typically our approach is that we're not going to respond to press and everything goes back to the back to the community.


[00:09:28.740] - Steve Morreale

So it seems to me to when you're writing this and pulling this all together and you're making recommendations that written properly, you're saying now is the time. You know, there are some great opportunities to some great things going on. There's room for improvement. Now is the time to strike to have that conversation about how policing could be in the future. And that brings me to the next point. And that is, what are the prescriptives in your mind about where policing needs to go?


[00:09:53.220] - Steve Morreale

What are the areas for attention based on some of the studies that you've done, some of the focus groups that you have been engaged in what are the common threads, what are the common themes?


[00:10:02.890] - Jim McCabe

So from my perspective, the police profession is seriously out of balance. What do I mean by that? Number one, we talked about mission creep in the past. And I believe that the core mission of the police has been diluted with so many overwhelming requests for service that sort of interfere with the police officer's ability to provide effective crime reduction, traffic safety, to sort of control things that the communities pay the police to do and many communities.


[00:10:27.040] - Jim McCabe

There has been an over focus on those things at the expense of other key perspectives that need to be considered like community satisfaction, customer satisfaction.  So you can't arrest your way out of problems. You can't summons your way out of problems. if the people that you're providing those services to are dissatisfied with your approach. So I think from a customer perspective, from a true customer perspective, the police can do a much better job understanding their customer and providing the services that their customer wants.


[00:10:56.200] - Jim McCabe

And by customer, I mean, maybe the person who calls line one, maybe it's the motorist at the end of a traffic stop, maybe it's the organized community that requires police services in whatever manner they require, that the police could do a better job understanding their, quote unquote, customer. Go ahead.


[00:11:10.990] - Steve Morreale

Yeah, well, you know, you say customer. I love using that. And I think in some cases it's resisted because who the hell is the customer? The person I arrest? Some the reaction you get. But do you feel it sounds like you feel do you feel that policing is a customer service organization?


[00:11:25.480] - Jim McCabe

Of course it is.


[00:11:26.110] - Steve Morreale

How so?


[00:11:26.110] - Jim McCabe

They provide the service of public safety and crime prevention. Of course it is.


[00:11:29.410] - Steve Morreale

How important is trust? How important is relations? I see your head shaking. It's everything, right?


[00:11:34.520] - Jim McCabe

It's everything. It's what it's built upon. The police are empowered to use it. So let's go back to the core mission. Right. So the core mission of the police is the legally justified use of legitimate force, period, the police or the force of the community that will enforce laws in order to maintain social control.


[00:11:51.670] - Jim McCabe

If you don't have the trust of the people, you don't have the trust of the community. You can't use and apply that force in appropriate fashion because it's distrust and it's not it's not legitimate. And that's got to be restored. Well, quite frankly, let's take a step back. It only has to be restored because there's a perception of a lack of trust and people that the police, I believe, are more restrained and more judicious in their use of force today than they've ever been since we've been keeping track of the uses of force in the sensational and say criminal depictions of the use of force that we've seen on the media and social media that has eroded that trust.


[00:12:26.620] - Jim McCabe

But that doesn't mean that the police service in general is like that. I think it's more restrained now than it's ever been, but we've got to get that trust back. So, yeah, whatever we want to define the customer, the customer needs to regain the trust.


[00:12:36.730] - Steve Morreale

So do you see reluctance to even ask or survey? It seems to me in my experience, I say, do you do surveys, customer service and ask important, do you do them internally? And so many people refuse to do it. I think they were afraid of what's going to happen or what's going to be said. It seems to me that somehow we have to remind people that it's to your advantage to know how people feel about you so that you can make some take some corrective actions.


[00:13:00.280] - Steve Morreale

What's your take on that?


[00:13:01.450] - Jim McCabe

Yeah, absolutely, Steve.  It's a long time coming. Just waves of examples I've been teaching for the last 15 or so years. And before that, I had occasion to do presentations to community groups. And I would always, depending upon the forum, obviously, but I would always say ask on a scale of one to ten, evaluate them with ten being the best, one being the worst. Evaluate the police in your community and the score then you get invariably is going to be about a 7.5.


[00:13:25.780] - Jim McCabe

And that has been sort of universal, regardless of where I've asked that question. So how could that be 7.5? That sounds pretty low. Seventy five out of one hundred. And then you ask, well, have you ever had contact with the police then? The answer's generally no. That's the way you get that seven point five. Where does that come? Well, it comes from perception. It comes from the media. It comes from word of mouth from other people.


[00:13:44.800] - Jim McCabe

And then when you actually ask people who have had contact with the police to rate the service they get, including those that have been arrested or received tickets, their opinion is overwhelmingly positive and nobody knows that. But I do think, like you said, that there is a reluctance on the part of police departments to ask that question because of the fear of what the answer might be, because their perception is that the people are rating us a seven point five.


[00:14:07.570] - Jim McCabe

And I don't want to create the evidence that shows that I'm failing. Well, the reality is, if you ask the people who are actually consumer service, you're going to get a pretty good a pretty good rating. So let's engage it. Let's figure out a way. I mean, it's 2021.


[00:14:18.910] - Jim McCabe

You can develop a number of different cost-effective ways of measuring the customer satisfaction of police service. Actually, it's incumbent upon you to figure it out because that's going to be the evidence part of the solution to this problem to demonstrate. Yeah, we're actually doing a pretty good job. And here's the evidence to support it.


[00:14:33.520] - Steve Morreale

You know, as they do training for police, as you do sergeants and mid managers and executives. I usually play the scheme in it, but I actually put this on the board. 


[00:14:41.590] - Steve Morreale

I'll say, OK, from a scale of one to five, you use ten. I want you to rate morale. I want you to take pride. I want you to rate community-mindedness. I want you to rate community support. There's a long list here, Jim. I want you to rate reactive  how are you as a reactive agency, I want you to rate proactive and then the last two really sort of bite them. What's the view of the troops of the administration looking up to administration, and then lastly, what's the administration's view of the troops as they look down on the troops?


[00:15:07.950] - Steve Morreale

And it just really amazing. So I've got twenty-five to 40 people from all over New England. And what you begin to see and it doesn't really matter where the scale ends up, but you look to say, well, what's below the average? Those are things that you want to work on. What's above the average. Those are things you can be proud of and you want to work continue to work on. So it's the same sort of thing.


[00:15:26.460] - Steve Morreale

But there are going to be some poor scores and that's not necessarily negative if you accept it as an opportunity to improve. I mean, your thought on that.


[00:15:33.630] - Jim McCabe

That's exactly right. The last statement you made there, Steve, it's an opportunity to improve. But I think the world of the police chief is we have to avoid criticism because that could be the landmine. I step on and I'm going to lose my job. So if I don't ask, I don't have to worry about that. But when you ask oh, I have to deal with the results. But the results shouldn't be viewed as a negative. They should be viewed, like you said, as an opportunity to improve.


[00:15:54.630] - Jim McCabe

It's like going to school and not taking any tests. So how do I know if I learn anything? Feedback is valuable and to the extent that departments don't use enough feedback to improve their performance now and there's an extension of this Steve.  I talked about balance earlier and that balance also extends to the police officers themselves. Now, you had a scale of one to five about morale, morale. I'm doing a survey with another police department and posed the question.


[00:16:17.980] - Jim McCabe

The morale in this department is high. And it was on a Likert scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree that of the one hundred and fifty responses, three agreed with that statement. Three, 147 disagree or strongly disagree. And three. So morale in the American police departments is in the toilet. And with low morale comes a whole host of negative performance outcomes, including fill in the blank for investigations less responsive to the public and let alone the mental health and physical health outcomes for police officers themselves.


[00:16:49.500] - Jim McCabe

So while everybody's beating the drum about police reform and defund the police, there's eight hundred thousand men and women that are really feeling the effects of that. We need to start paying closer attention to the adverse health effects that all this progressive drumbeating is causing. So, yes, as we restore trust and legitimacy with the community, as we continue to fight crime and improve traffic safety, we have to keep front and center morale and well-being of the officers that we expect to do that very difficult and very important job.


[00:17:17.880] - Steve Morreale

How do we continue to recruit, given everything that is is so negative? Are you hearing that the concerns I'm sorry, I talked to. Are you hearing the concerns about.


[00:17:26.070] - Jim McCabe

Oh, my goodness, yeah. You've got to scratch your head and wonder why would anybody want to be a police officer today? You look at the recruitment dilemma. You look at the retention dilemma. I don't know how much money in the world it would take to get somebody to take a police job in urban environment. New York City, over the weekend, there was acid thrown on a police officer at a Molotov cocktail thrown out there. Well, who signed up for that?


[00:17:46.810] - Jim McCabe

It's just not right. And I can't blame people for leaving and I can't blame people for getting to their retirement eligible here and getting out. It's a problem and it's going to be a long term problem that needs to be given some serious consideration. I don't know if money can fix it, can't pay your way out of this either.


[00:18:01.980] - Steve Morreale

So let's go back to your history as a police officer and rising through the ranks at NYPD. One of the jobs that you had was as a precinct commander. And certainly you could not have done that job without outreach and without dealing with the community and without creating relationships. Talk about that.


[00:18:17.100] - Steve Morreale

Talk about how much fun it was, how difficult it was, how much effort was required.


[00:18:22.110] - Jim McCabe

So I was a precinct commander in New York and Compstat is a very centerpiece for police management, was then still is now. So there's a very significant expectation that the precinct commander will be able to reduce crime in that community. But as I went about doing that, it occurred to me very quickly that, well, that's only one small part of the job of getting back to that balance that I discussed, I've been discussing is that, OK, you need to make sure that crime is going down.


[00:18:46.680] - Jim McCabe

But there's also a community out there that requires your attention. And they often are not interested in crime reduction, but they have other issues that need attention. So one of the things I did when I was there is I got myself trained to be a bike patrol. So I have my my bike uniform and I'd go right around the community on the bicycle. And I made a habit of stopping in the local elected officials offices to fill up my water bottle of water that I was out of my mind.


[00:19:09.030] - Jim McCabe

What the hell are you doing out here on a bicycle?


[00:19:11.130] - Steve Morreale

Were you a captain at the time? A captain at the time? 


[00:19:14.180] - Jim McCabe

Riding around on a bike, sure. So that's sort of started my thinking about this, this notion of balance. Yeah. We just can't we just can't focus exclusively on crime reduction. We need to consider at the same time the interests of the organized community and the customer that we serve and the individual interactions. And we need to figure out ways of measuring that, tapping into that level of satisfaction.


[00:19:35.010] - Jim McCabe

So I did a whole bunch of things that were a little kookie.  Surveying the elected officials and the business owners and creating clergy councils and monthly civic breakfasts. And I think my officers thought I was a little bit nuts. But, the idea was, is that we need to engage people and come to an understanding of what they needed from us, from the police, and then do we could provide it. So, yeah, there was a lot of what a lot of interesting things going on in my precinct.


[00:19:59.250] - Steve Morreale

So what was the most fun you had on the job? You miss it. I know you've said that before. What was the most fun? What did you enjoy the most?


[00:20:05.340] - Jim McCabe

That was probably the most rewarding part of my career of being a prosecutor. There's an expression, you don't miss the circus. You miss the clowns. And I miss I miss that. I mean, it was a short period in my career, but it was the most rewarding. And I think I developed the most relationships with people during that time.


[00:20:20.070] - Jim McCabe

But it was three hundred people in my command and took that seriously and I took their well-being seriously. I enjoyed it, but I like to think that they would have left me there. I'd still be there. They'll be going away. They'll be on the bike. They'll be on the bike. A couple of pounds lighter. But that's okay.


[00:20:36.210] - Steve Morreale

What's the craziest case that you recall that you were involved in?


[00:20:39.930] - Jim McCabe

Next question.


[00:20:41.370] - Steve Morreale

Come on, Jimbo! You can do it. What do you what do you recall? That was what was crazy, out of the ordinary. And you think, oh, my God, what am I doing here? How did I get this call?


[00:20:49.710] - Jim McCabe

You really want me to answer that question?


[00:20:50.790] - Steve Morreale

I do.


[00:20:51.690] - Jim McCabe

All right. So I'll keep it. I was on a bike and we had a pretty serious prostitution problem in the community. And prostitution is in and of itself. It was not the main concern. I mean, obviously, it's concerned with the violence that surrounded business and if you can call it that was problematic. So the stabbings and shootings and homicides in and around and robbery in and around the house, that might be house of prostitution.


[00:21:14.250] - Jim McCabe

So there was one particular place we could never get into. And I was riding my bike down the street one day, middle of the afternoon, and I noticed the door was open. So I hopped off the bike, put it on my shoulder, ran up the stairs, and then found myself alone in the middle of about 30 people, 15 johns, 15 prostitutes and a couple of armed bouncers, if you will. And I was like, oh, no, no, I'm in trouble.


[00:21:37.260] - Jim McCabe

So it was sort of like a tactical retreat with my bike drawn and my firearm drawn. Call for help out on the bike is a lot of fun, but obviously can do some stupid things while I'm out here.


[00:21:47.220] - Steve Morreale

So because you have such access and what's the reason that you put your bike on your shoulder so you'd have it?


[00:21:53.430] - Jim McCabe

Yeah, I don't want to leave it on the street.  It might get stolen then.


[00:21:57.690] - Steve Morreale

Then, how to do you back to the precinct. That's great. That's great. So what about the camaraderie. Do you think it's there still. Do you miss it now.


[00:22:05.910] - Jim McCabe

Yeah, like I said, you know, you miss that. You don't miss the service, you miss the clowns. They're the best people to work with. Their sense of humor is, I think, unrivaled practical joker. Just a lot of fun. I miss being in that environment. And I think to some extent, going back and working with police departments sort of exposes me to that a little bit. That's why I kind of like doing think fills the void, I presume. Yeah. Yeah.


[00:22:25.980] - Steve Morreale

And do you feel like you're giving back?


[00:22:27.840] - Jim McCabe

I do. I do. Of course. If somebody asked me the other day, do you know how often departments implement the things that you tell them to do, the recommendations you provide? And I you know, I don't I wish I did. I wish I had a feedback loop. See whether or not my ideas, my recommendations were actually landing. I like to think they are I like to think they're grounded in reason and objective.


[00:22:47.310] - Jim McCabe

But you never know. I think I'm giving back.  I wish I had more evidence of that, but keep soldiering on


[00:22:52.230] - Steve Morreale

Back to that, because I think that's important, because going back to 2008, when you started doing that, when things were not as bad as they are now, where the public scrutiny was not as intense as now, how do you guide the conversation on moving forward from here?


[00:23:08.310] - Jim McCabe

So it's a very difficult thing to do now because it's almost this sense of helplessness. Where do we go? What do we do? But it's sort of like, OK, never let a good crisis go to waste. Now is the time to maybe advocate the things that you want to change. And there's ample opportunity out there. Just it's hard to see it, though, when you're in the in the thick of things, when the fight when the bullets are flying at you, you don't see the opportunity, but think the realization that it's there and that the police need to be part of the conversation that capitalizes on that opportunity and not have it dictated to them is really important right now.


[00:23:43.050] - Steve Morreale

You know, Jim, it struck me as you're talking and I think to myself, a police in many cases are called to disorder situations and to bring some order to chaos. And we can do a very good job of that in many cases on the street, we're not really good at doing that in our organization. In other words, we don't use those same skills to come back and say, OK, time out, what are the things that we can accomplish?


[00:24:06.030] - Steve Morreale

And so it seems to me the outsider that you and I could be sometimes can some help that dialog, create that dialog. What's your thought on that?


[00:24:13.350] - Jim McCabe

Yeah, you know, I was speaking about that this morning with another colleague. It's sort of like the frog in the pot dilemma. Are you familiar with that? Where you if you put a frog in a pot and heat the pot, the frog isn't going to jump out when the water gets too hot because it's an amphibian and just acclimates the temperature and ultimately the frog will die. So the story goes. But if you take a frog and drop into a pot of gold and water, the frog will jump out immediately because it perceives the order to be a bit too hot.


[00:24:37.770] - Jim McCabe

So the analogy here is that when the police are immersed in their environment, they don't see the opportunities that are in front of them. Sometimes it needs an outside agent to point them out. Sometimes it needs a crisis to point them out that you can plan all you want. And if you don't see what needs to be done, you're never going to get there. You're going to miss those opportunities. So maybe it's the outside world coming. Or some type of external event that forces the issue, but we're here at a crisis point now, maybe it's time to start looking for the opportunities that are out there.


[00:25:07.520] - Steve Morreale

You think there's sufficient leadership in police agencies now?


[00:25:10.250] - Jim McCabe

I think that police agencies are overmanaged and under led by an extreme factor. There's a wanton lack of leadership in the police service.


[00:25:19.250] - Steve Morreale

That was pretty direct!


[00:25:20.750] - Jim McCabe

Yeah, well.


[00:25:22.250] - Steve Morreale

No, you're absolutely right, Jim. Let's let's wind down a couple of questions as we began to take advantage of your time today. And I really do appreciate you being here. What's on your to do list, both personal and professional?


[00:25:33.950] - Jim McCabe

Well, I have, um, like an idea guy. I never I'm not happy unless I have a hundred things going on at the same time, not unlike yourself. You know, there's always there's always a lot of things going on. So I'm on the faculty at Walden University University. That's a full time job, my full time teaching low expectations for service for the university and also research. I have probably a half a dozen projects in one form or another, both local and national, on police operations, police officer well being. My experience around the country over the last 10 or 12 years or so, turning that into a book on assessing how to conduct an assessment of a police department, I'm also developing that notion of balance to management and policing the balanced scorecard sort of approach that'll be at the next book after this book that I'm working on. And then I'd like to write something about leadership and policing. You know, my position is that, as you said, a direct position on the lack of leadership.


[00:26:22.940] - Jim McCabe

And we need to do the police need to do a better job leading. And it starts with taking care of each other and then looking out for the best interests and meeting the needs of the police officers, and then they can do the work that they're so sorely needed to do. So I've got a full plate and then oh, yeah, I'm also fully engaged consultant and working on the federal monitor team and in New York City and around the country with the local police departments.


[00:26:43.840] - Jim McCabe

So doing more time in the day to do all that stuff. It's a labor of love. It's a lot of fun, he said. I like to think I'm contributing value. I'm just plugging away with all those projects.


[00:26:52.350] - Steve Morreale

Those people who are listening, who do not have the advantage of a consultant like yourself and their team, come in, take a view of what's going on and what could be what are the things that you could say two or three things that a police agency, a police leader could look at to start to pick apart what they're doing and how they could make some improvements?


[00:27:11.630] - Jim McCabe

Well, I'm going to go back to the police officers themselves. I think there's an expression in the service industry that the customer is number two.


[00:27:18.830] - Jim McCabe

That sounds kind of counterintuitive. Well, the employee is number one. And if you take care of your employee, they will take care of your customer. And I think, like I said before in this climate that we're in about police reform can't neglect and overlook the feelings, attitudes, opinions, well being of the people that we ask you to do a very difficult job. So for those of you who are listening, let's pay closer attention to the people that are employed, the police officers, the civilians, non sworn employees that are doing a very difficult job in very difficult times right now.


[00:27:48.350] - Jim McCabe

And we should be able to help them do their jobs better. And then they will be able to help regain the trust of the community that is looking for that trust and Walden University. So I think it starts with them. So you got to figure out a way of understanding what they are facing, what their opinions are, what their attitudes are, and then try to figure out collaboratively how are we going to improve their situation and then you can move from there.


[00:28:09.140] - Jim McCabe

I think that's being neglected in the current conversation.



Well, interesting, because I think what you're saying in sum is pay attention to inside before you fix outside and the outside fix will come a little bit easier once you've got your handle on your people.


[00:28:22.220] - Jim McCabe

You know, there's a lot of attention paid to this notion of procedural justice. If you treat the public with fairness and give them voice and neutrality, that they are more likely to see you as legitimate and comply. Well, I like to say that's external procedural justice. That's from the inside of the agency outside. Well, if you talk to cops, Steve, you said before.  If you ask those questions about how administration treats them, you'll see that their perception is of procedural justice internally is not that high.


[00:28:49.950] - Jim McCabe

They believe they don't get the support that they need. They believe they're not treated fairly. They believe that they're not getting the respect they deserve. So my advice to people that are listening, let's focus on the internal procedural justice, give the people the voice, the fairness, the neutrality that they think they deserve and the support that they deserve. And like you said, then they can commit themselves to providing those services to the public that the public deserves as well.  So it does start there.


[00:29:15.260] - Steve Morreale

Well said. Well, Jim, I really appreciate your time, your energy, your thoughts, your input, because I think it's extremely valuable. And I hope that the people who are listening from across the country, you know, that third of the people listening are over in the U.K. or in Europe or in Ireland where you and I have spent some time. And so that's great. So I thank you very much Jim, for your time.


[00:29:33.290] - Jim McCabe

You're welcome, Steve. Thank you.


[00:29:34.440] - Steve Morreale

You've been listening to The CopDoc Podcast. I'm Steve Morreale. I've had the pleasure of talking to my friend and colleague, Dr. Jim McCabe in New York City, a professor from Sacred Heart University and a former inspector retired from the New York Police Department. Thank you very much for listening. Stay tuned for other episodes. We'll be back in the next week. Thanks.