The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

The CopDoc Podcast: Dr. Darl Champion, Methodist University, Ep 57

January 31, 2022 Dr. Darl Champion Season 3 Episode 57
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
The CopDoc Podcast: Dr. Darl Champion, Methodist University, Ep 57
Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Darl Champion, Sr. is a tenured professor within the School of Public Affairs at Methodist University in North Carolina.  Darl served in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps and the U.S. Army C.I.D.  He began his teaching career with Fayetteville Community College. 

In 1997, Dr. Champion was named the Outstanding Instructor at Fayetteville Technical Community College; in 1988 he was named the Margaret Lange Willis Outstanding Educator in North Carolina. In 2004 he was named Professor of the Year at Methodist University.  

Dr. Champion has been a long-term member of the Academy of Criminal Justice Science, the American Society of Criminology, the American Society for Public Administration, and the American Society of Industrial Security.  He served ten years as a member of the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and is currently a member of the governing board of the Carolina’s Institute for Community Policing. 

He has worked with a number of agencies and we spoke about the changes in policing and the history of policing.  We discussed the legacy of August Vollmer, who has been called the father of American policing.  We also discussed the challenges in policing and teaching in Criminal Justice programs using an andragogical approach. 

[00:00:02.750] - Intro 

Welcome to The Cop Doc 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.


[00:00:33.130] - Steve Morreale

Well, hello everybody. This is Steve Morreale. Welcome back to The CopDoc Podcast. It has come a long way since we started this in January. Today I have the pleasure the honor of talking to a colleague, Dr. Darl Champion. He's sitting in North Carolina. Good morning to you, Darl.


[00:00:47.440] - Darl Champion

Good morning, Steve.


[00:00:48.390] - Steve Morreale

Thank you for joining us. I appreciate it. There's been some crazy things that have been going on, as you know, in policing. And today I want to talk a bit about policing leadership. Where does policing have to go? I know that you keep yourself and your finger on the pulse of what policing is doing through some of your students and your colleagues. You and I met, as I recall, at ACJs and like-minded people have a tendency to be drawn together. And I think that's where that started when we were talking about leadership.


[00:01:13.530] - Steve Morreale

I was attending something you were doing, and later I think you attended something that I was doing on leadership. So why don't you tell the audience about who you are, where you are, what you're doing, and how you got to where you are today?


[00:01:24.900] - Darl Champion

Well, I guess you could say that my journey started back in probably mid 1960s, went to College in Pennsylvania, the small state College then that became a university called Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Not knowing what I wanted to do, I had probably two or three different majors. And finally, after I had basically a bad experience in one major, I decided it was time to really go where my passion was, which was policing and criminology. Brand told me to go talk to this new chairman that had been brought into IUP to develop a new criminology program.


[00:02:00.470] - Darl Champion

So I went in and I met him. I don't remember so much about the exact conversations other than when I walked out of his office. I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And so I ended up graduating from IUP with a Bachelor of arts, which was kind of unusual and criminology considering today most programs are Bachelor of science programs ended up going into the military. I spent five years on active duty, which was split between serving in the 82nd airport in the army as a military police officer.


[00:02:35.120] - Darl Champion

Then I ended up being selected for a special program to become a special agent with the US Army's Criminal Investigation Division, and I left the military after five years in 1975 and started teaching at a community College in North Carolina called Fayetteville Technical Community College. I was there and it was at that point I decided to go back, get my master's in South Carolina and criminal justice. And then I had the urge to continue my education and ended up applying to a program at North Carolina State University, which was an adult education focus.


[00:03:11.140] - Darl Champion

And then I took a minor in public administration. After that, I ended up having the real goal of developing an undergraduate program. And as fate would have it, I was recruited to come in at a local University to help them develop a criminal justice program. And I was a consultant, and I had no idea that as a result of that consulting job, I was offered an opportunity to be the developing faculty member for that program. So that was in 1993. I was there for up until 2018, when I retired.


[00:03:46.170] - Darl Champion

And during that time, not only was I able to work with the colleagues and the University leaders, develop an undergraduate program, I was also able to work to develop a master's program in justice administration, which was an interesting focus. It was a focus of blending and administration with criminal justice.


[00:04:05.600] - Steve Morreale

I like it when people do that. I liken that to a public administration, with exactly what you said, with a CJ bent. So you're a Pennsylvania guy. What drew you to North Carolina was it the military, and when you get out.


[00:04:15.770] - Darl Champion

It was the military. And I was assigned here to the CID field office of Fort Bragg, and I made friends with the actual operations officer who at one time was an operation officer with CID. And ironically, he was the lead investigator on the Jeffrey McDonald's case. Oh, boy, I learned a lot from him, and he was then retired and was at the local community College. And he said, why don't you come over to the community College? You're thinking about getting out would be a great opportunity. And I had taught a course in Criminology and loved it.


[00:04:48.990] - Steve Morreale

And the rest is kind of history, as they say.


[00:04:51.470] - Steve Morreale

So it's all about connections. In many ways. It's certainly the way that you and I got together. And then in our conversations over the past few weeks or months, you led me to somebody who is active in a North Carolina police agency. So you're retired a few years. But let's go back to what you were intending to do as you develop the master's program, a higher-level thinking, who were you looking and was the University looking to attract as students?


[00:05:17.560] - Darl Champion

Well, they kind of left it in my head, but my argument was I wanted to go for working professionals, and I wanted to focus on those that were primarily at the rank of either senior office patrol officer, Sergeant, lieutenants, as it would be. Our students did come primarily from senior police officers, patrol officers, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors. And we actually had a couple of police Chiefs in the program, but we had the commitment to develop the future leaders in the North Carolina criminal justice system and particularly in law enforcement.


[00:05:50.910] - Darl Champion

I was fortunate to have a friend at the time who was the director of the North Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, and she and I and I have to give her a lot of credit. She came forward with the idea one day when we were sitting around having a cup of coffee and said, you have this idea that you want to use a program that's accessible to law enforcement, similar to the program I went through at South Carolina, which was a weekend program. What about if I were able to have the Justice Academy provide you the actual location to do the actual courses, we would have the dormitory space, they could come in for the weekend, and you could do classes.


[00:06:28.720] - Darl Champion

And we decided probably a Friday night Saturday Sunday morning would be the best format. They became very popular. There was no cost to the officers other than to pay for the cleaning crew that came in after they left. And so we proceeded along that line up until probably about six years ago. I guess it was that we were asked by the state to have to start to pay a fee. So we decided it was more economical to go back to the main camp. But the whole goal was developing future leaders and giving them the skills both to be able to go into their agency and to be competitive in promotion.


[00:07:04.180] - Darl Champion

One of the things that I've seen and you've probably seen it, too, that on assessment centers that I've been involved with. My disappointment is that we see very few candidates from North Carolina for police jobs, particularly where I was at in Fayetteville. Maybe we would be lucky to have one that most came from out of state. And my philosophy always has been. I would like to see us grow our own Chiefs within the state of North Carolina.


[00:07:28.390] - Steve Morreale

So let's talk about that. Let's talk about assessment centers. Let's talk about the things that police need to understand. And certainly, as you well learn that being a line officer is much different than being a Sergeant. Being a Lieutenant is much different than being a Sergeant because now you're in charge of supervisors, and as you move up the line, there are different skills along the way in which you need to develop or point to people what the expectation is. So let's talk about some of the things that you talk about now, but we're talking about what kind of conversations were you having in the classrooms, bridging theory with practice and giving them new tools?


[00:08:04.100] - Darl Champion

Well, my philosophy has been tried to avoid a pedagogy approach to education of adults, more of the androgogy get the learners involved in their learning experience. So all our courses were developed so that they not only addressed relevant issues, but also the instructional strategy was to get the students involved as much as possible in the learning process and to do that. We had to be involved in case studies, problem-solving exercises. We had many in depth class discussions in which we examine current issues, current problems that agencies were having.


[00:08:43.680] - Darl Champion

And in fact, just probably two weeks ago, I ran into one of our former graduates and he was making the comment about the program. One of the things I really loved about the program is it brought me as a line officer at the time he was just a patrolman. They had the opportunity to interact with other law enforcement professionals of higher rank, sergeants, lieutenants’, captains. It's amazing what I learned from one engaging in conversations during the discussion. But even more importantly, what I learned outside the classroom on breaks and during the nighttime when we would get together, go out to dinner and so forth.


[00:09:21.410] - Darl Champion

And so we tried to do everything that we could to get them involved. And as we have had previous conversations, I'm very much a strong supporter of experiential learning. I think that is so crucial today to be able to use the experiential approach in terms of problem solving. And so that was one of the focuses that I had in my classes was to help them be able to develop that. The second thing we tried to do, which is really Perry I'm very interested in is critical thinking.


[00:09:51.520] - Darl Champion

We did a critical assessment thinking assessment when they came in using the Watson Glazer critical thinking appraisal, and we did a post test. What we found out that there was an increase in critical thinking levels overall from the time they came in until the time they graduated about two years later. And so I'm always challenging in my classes to have students think critically and to look at new ideas and not to be frightened away by the fact that there may be those out there in your profession.


[00:10:24.910] - Darl Champion

That's a crazy idea. But if you know, intuitively, it's something you would like to look at and explore further. And one of the things we also did, and I tried to do it, particularly in my class, is emphasized the work of those who came before us and the significance that they had. And you know, that I'm very much a fan of August Volmer.


[00:10:44.910] - Steve Morreale



[00:10:45.320] - Darl Champion

And so I used a lot of examples from his journey from the Berkeley PD through the time he was chief all the way up during the time he was an academic up until his what contributions he made and what his focus was and what his attributes were that made him so effective.


[00:11:02.740] - Steve Morreale

What I'm hearing is that I want to go back to something you said a while ago, certainly at some point along the way in my academic journey, my transition from the field to become a pracademic, as you know, I call myself and some are offended by that. But it's somebody who is practical with an academic credential much like yourself. But it troubles me that sometimes I am blasphemed. I am ridiculed by other academics, generally outside of criminal justice when you ever would utter that. I don't use exactly what you said.


[00:11:31.370] - Steve Morreale

I don't take a pedagogical approach. I take an androgical approach because what it does is it assumes that people in the classroom have some experience, have some thoughts, have some concerns and considerations about what they see and begin to think about. Well, how can we do things better? Because I truly believe Darl. And I know I'll bet you do. There is always more than one way to do something, as they say, more than one way to skin a cat. And so I remember being in actually doing a presentation.


[00:11:58.240] - Steve Morreale

And I said, hey, I don't really practice pedagogy. Use an anthropological approach and let me tell you about it. And somebody said, and this was on campus. Somebody said, you teach adults, you have adults in your classes. It really blew my mind because the fact that when you walk in, even in an undergraduate level, there are ways to teachers good teachers facilitators can draw people into the conversation about the experiences they had, what they see on TV, what they experience on social media with their friends do and begin to apply and think about it differently.


[00:12:29.550] - Steve Morreale

So let's talk about androgogy a bit well.


[00:12:31.700] - Darl Champion

I think that's one of my concerns. And you and I have had conversations about how we train police officers. I'm afraid we're still kind of anchored into pedagogies of the past, and we really need to reexamine how we are basically training police officers. One of the concepts that I have been drawn to that I'm exploring now looking further into this problem-based learning because that is a perfect example of how you bring the student to get engaged involved in the taking a responsibility for their own learning.


[00:13:02.460] - Darl Champion

And I think that if we are to be able to address a lot of the problems, we're currently facing in law enforcement, we have to change our approach. And there's such a wealth of information. One of the things that I learned, Steve, from our graduate program was there was such a richness in content from our students. I mean, it was excellent, but they brought in. And what even amazed me more is how many times they had some really great ideas, very keen insight into the problem.


[00:13:32.340] - Darl Champion

But then too, I would hear the same thing that you mentioned that sometimes they would say, well, that's not the response I normally get. Sometimes when we talk about certain concepts. And it's like when you talk about community police, I can tell you there are some officers more so probably in the past that when you talked about community policing, they weren't really interested because they were anchored in the old paradigm of traditional police services, which really where we need to go is we need to move more further towards community police.


[00:14:04.360] - Darl Champion

And one of the things that I tried to also do in terms of looking at these individuals as adults is to let them kind of search out and address some of the key issues. One of the issues that we would talk about was what should be the role definition of police. What should police be doing? And one of the things that we focused on, I would talk a little bit about incorporating the values of what is it, the police in a Democratic society. And today we're having issues whereby we are questioning the role of police and what they're doing.


[00:14:40.340] - Steve Morreale

You were just saying we're questioning the role of policing.


[00:14:42.540] - Darl Champion

Right, and I think we looked at this again back in probably the 1960’s. I remember. Actually, I remember when I was at IUP we were talking about what should be the role of policing and what I learned at IUP was talking about what is policing in a Democratic society. And sadly, I don't think we've had those conversations to how do we develop the role of policing to support the goals of a Democratic society? And so I use every opportunity to get the students involved in my classes to bring their perspectives in, to take on problems in an effort to try to find new solutions.


[00:15:26.060] - Darl Champion

And one of the concepts that I tried to push forward is a concept that I call paradigm pioneering, whereby you keep your eye on the horizon for emerging trends or new technologies and constantly be asking yourself, could this be applied in policing? And if so, how much you do it? And that was one of the things that Bomber was classic at. He would scan the horizon. He was really an intense reader of professional Journal publications, newspapers looking for the new ideas. And then he would stop.


[00:16:00.400] - Darl Champion

And they can reflect, how can I bring that into policing? And how can I make it work? And we can look at what he did, incorporating the motorized patrols, bike patrols, bringing forensics into the police Department, requiring a college degree for his officers, and also how you screen your officers. He required giving them an intelligence test to ensure that he got the best quality officers. And what he was doing in simple terms, was he wanted good, solid critical thinkers and problem solvers to me with some challenges.


[00:16:34.520] - Darl Champion

But I always looked at perspective from the perspective. These are adults. They have something to bring to the table and let's hear what they have to say embedded within some of those comments. Maybe some great ideas.


[00:16:47.030] - Steve Morreale

As you're saying that I'm writing down a few things. And I think to myself, I'm very lucky. I feel that the opportunity has to teach, and I don't call it teaching as much as facilitating at first-line supervisor training, mid manager or executive development is the one thing that I say, and I'll say it publicly. More people will hear it than attend my class. And that is I don't know everything. I don't know everything. I'm still learning. I'm a lifelong learner like yourself. And what I'll say to them is in this class.


[00:17:14.550] - Steve Morreale

If I am able to draw you into the conversation, I'm going to learn from you. You're going to learn from each other, which is very, very important. And when we talk about the training that you're talking about, it seems to me that the police are still stuck in the rut. We don't do a lot of reflection, not at all. And yet when you go to Europe, that's exactly what they do. You go, you think you apply, they use problem-based learning, and then what ends up happening is they release you and they send you to the field, and then you come back, you're still on probation and you're still on probation.


[00:17:43.590] - Steve Morreale

But you're coming into a classroom not with a field training officer, but in a classroom setting to say, okay, you tried community policing.


[00:17:50.780] - Steve Morreale

Okay, you handled this kind of a case. What happened? It's almost after-action reviews, which we don't do that. We do not do that in policing.


[00:17:58.360] - Darl Champion

Yeah. And that's sad because I think that moving forward. And particularly if we keep talking about policing as a profession, we need to do that. That should become a given no questions asked about it, because every experience we have, we build upon that, and it has an influence in our future action. And I think our students really appreciated that, because often I would hear the comment is, you really opened my mind up to something that really before I walked in here, I was kind of closed mind about I didn't want to deal with it.


[00:18:28.880] - Darl Champion

I didn't want to address it. But now you gave me a different perspective. And I think that again, going back. And I don't mean to kind of keep emphasizing this. But if we have good mentors, when we are one being educated or when we are working, it helps to set the course moving forward. And I think that one of the things, particularly with August Volmer, was he was really intent on developing individuals that could carry the message for you. You can refer to him as disciples, and probably a perfect example.


[00:18:59.820] - Darl Champion

That was O. W. Wilson, and many consider him to be the number one disciple. He was a police officer for Volmer. But Volmer realized very early on that O.W. Wilson had some unique traits that was going to make him successful. And that was proven to be right. And then you have the others, too, like B.A. Leonard. But those individuals carried forward, and they promoted the message. And I don't know if we have a clear message right now in some areas.


[00:19:23.660] - Steve Morreale

Well, I tell you one of the things that troubles me, and I say this in classes that police Chiefs have to speak up, they have to speak up. They have to defend. They have to talk about what the agency is doing as all of the problems are floating around? What are we doing to use these as teachable moments? What are we doing to try to avoid it from happening here? What is it that we do again? What's our core mission? Because I think there's been a bit of mission creep.


[00:19:48.490] - Steve Morreale

There are things police do and allow themselves to be drawn into that probably could go somewhere else. And so that's important. But I also want to say that this is a people profession, isn't it? Policing is a people profession at its base, and it's a customer service-based organization. And yet just a couple of weeks ago, I was saying to everybody, hey, what's the story? Are you a customer service-oriented organization? And they raised their hand. And the next question is, do you convey that? Do you set that out in your expectations and nobody raised their hand?


[00:20:16.310] - Steve Morreale

And I said, if you don't set expectations over and over and over again, how can you be angry when somebody does not meet your expectations? You never conveyed to them?


[00:20:26.020] - Darl Champion

Well, you know, it's interesting, Steve, one of the areas right now that I've been drawn to, and it kind of comes from my experiences in education is developing a conceptual programming model for the delivery of police services. And you're exactly right. Often we look and we can't make the connection from what the values, the philosopher vision is to what we're seeing on the end in terms of outputs. And so we need a model that allows us to see all the key components that go in to develop a high quality delivery of services.




[00:20:58.250] - Darl Champion

It all starts with your values, your philosophy, your mission goals. And then you have to look internally at your organization. Kind of like what author Jim Collins says. You got to get the right people on the bus and you got to get them in the right seats. We need to have the right type of officers coming into policing that are going to carry forward with the particular vision and mission that policing should have. And that means that we have to have leadership, leadership development, succession planning.


[00:21:26.500] - Darl Champion

We have to have quality training in police organizations, and we have to have the key people in the key positions, supervisory positions, field training positions. There was an interesting study I ran across a while back was looking at where is the kind of the week link in community police? Well, the finger pointed back. The field training on what this particular study found was that you could go into the Academy and have the perfect curriculum and you'd be promoting the principles and the procedures and the proper techniques for effective community police.


[00:22:00.980] - Darl Champion

However, when it got down to where the officer was now with the field training officer, it was where they were kind of saying, Well, you learned that in the Academy, but this is really what we're doing out here on the street when you have a disconnect. And when you have a disconnect between the Academy and the field training officer, what happens when that officer leaves field training and goes out on the street? The only other individual that has an opportunity to correct the particular problem is that supervisor will take if that supervisor hasn't bought into it, he doesn't support the values, the philosophy, the vision.


[00:22:34.220] - Darl Champion

Then you have a real problem in being able to deliver the quality community police services that you want to deliver. So there has to be a re-examination of coming together. One other thing, I would add there, too. I think police Chiefs moving forward has to have a very holistic perspective. They have to look at it from a system perspective, because what's happening over here can have enormous impact over here in police. And what happens out in society. Could you say that police Department should have had some indication that what happened in the George Floyd incident was going to happen eventually?


[00:23:06.820] - Darl Champion

Sure. I think we all agreed we had enough evidence there to see on the horizon. It was only getting worse. Something was going on here and it was going to blow up. And so now we're caught up trying to go back and quote, fix the problem. Well, it doesn't mean that we have to defund police. I hate that when I hear that terminology defund police. Really, what we need to do is to look at policing, maybe do a reset, but refund to police. And there are issues, as we all know, that regarding the police role, what should they be doing out there and what's happened over the years, police have come to a point that they have to be involved in so many different activities and responsibilities, many of which they're not properly trained for.


[00:23:48.950] - Darl Champion

And that's what's leading us to the situation we're in right now.


[00:23:51.820] - Steve Morreale

You know, it's also interesting to me that I think this is important and some people would agree or know what I'm about to say. Others don't understand that. But when a police officer raises their hand and they become sworn officers, 90% of them will retire at the same rank that they started. So few people raised their hand to become sergeants and lieutenants. But what becomes important in my mind is that the Sergeant is probably the most important cog in the wheel of policing. Very, very important. And we need to pay an awful lot more attention to the Sergeant side.


[00:24:21.810] - Steve Morreale

So let me switch. We're not running out of time, but we've got a few minutes, but I want to focus you on a couple of things. If you were brought in to consult a local police department and they're asking, what the hell should we do? What three things are you talking to people about? I think you've alluded to some of them about what they can focus on to reset the police agency, to communicate better with the community. What are the three things that we should be looking at.


[00:24:47.620] - Darl Champion

I think one of the first things goes back to my point about having a view of a conceptual model, our values, our philosopher vision, our mission consistent with what the officers are doing out on the street and the services being delivered to the community. If we have a disconnect there, then most likely we don't have a trusting community. Most likely we haven't built up the transparency that we should have. We don't have maybe the police legitimacy or the procedural justice. So to me, that's kind of the first thing I would look at to see, I want to see what your vision is.


[00:25:20.680] - Darl Champion

I want to see what your goals are and that's interesting in that I would always ask my students in the graduate program during the time we were talking about the importance of values, philosophy and vision mission. How many of your departments display what's your values, philosophy, vision and mission. And some say, well, we do have a vision statement, a mission or some would say we have a mission statement, but not a vision. Well, I think if you're really that bought in and you're passionate about that and that's what you want your agency to be, you need to display that to the public when they walk into your department.


[00:25:54.800] - Darl Champion

I think the second thing that I would probably want to look at is your leadership. Do you have a succession plan in place that you're developing, as you said, Steve, the necessary KSAs for those sergeants, for those lieutenants, that they're effective in leading those underneath them. And I've had a couple of conversations with Chiefs who said, one of the areas that concerns me right now is we're getting ready to get a promotion list together for Lieutenant, I really don't feel comfortable maybe with the sergeants I have because I don't think they're prepared and I don't know what I'm really looking for.


[00:26:29.210] - Darl Champion

Maybe and what I want in terms of them moving forward into a position as a Lieutenant. And I think the third thing that probably I would want to really look at is look at closely the community and the community in the police Department in terms of how they define the relationship. I remember a recent conversation with a friend of mine who is a retired chief, and the question was posed if you want to really develop transparency and trust, what's the first thing you got to do?


[00:27:00.780] - Darl Champion

And he didn't hesitate to say, you have to build that meaningful relationship between the police and the community. You can look at a police Department. And one of the things that I've been trying to get my hands on his office bomber was known for going out and doing evaluations of police Department. And I'm interested in looking at what was on his checklist. I kind of have an idea what was on his checklist, and I think I wouldn't be surprised to say that he was looking to see, what do you have in terms of value, your philosophy, what's your vision for this Department?


[00:27:36.720] - Darl Champion

And then how does your department deliver services to the community are the key components supportive of what the values, philosophy and vision mission is? And I think that you've got to go through it's kind of like checking your own help through a checklist to see if you have the right stuff to be able to do what you say you want to do.


[00:27:58.140] - Steve Morreale

That's interesting, because it seems, well accreditation certification may push agencies towards a self reflection or self-inspection, if you will. But there's no requirement you do it out of self-interest. But there's no requirement. There's no state requirement that you have to do certain things with the police Department. And I think that's a missing point. Do you think that the standards of training which are so different from state to state, need to have some standardization?


[00:28:24.090] - Darl Champion

I believe that in certain areas, we need to have national standards. I don't know if we really can have a national standard that's going to meet and address all the needs of all departments in all states. I think that so many departments in this country are not big departments. They're small, and so what their particular needs are and what their particular mission is, even though it is consistent, probably overall, with bigger departments, they have more unique, I think specific needs and they have similar problems, but they also have different problems.


[00:28:57.120] - Darl Champion

And interesting enough, I think Volmer was one who was pushing for a national type of standardization because what he saw was the problem where a lot of times I think you've got to be careful of politics, because politics can very quickly, if it's corrupt, can actually devastate a police Department. And we see a lot of evidence of that in historical perspective. But to cut to the chase, come right back. What you're saying? I do think there's certain areas we need to have a national standardization on agreement, but I think there has to be some leeway to allow for specific standards that are unique to the needs of particular.


[00:29:33.340] - Steve Morreale

If you look at what they do with public schools, sometimes they do a common core. Some don't like it, but they rarely yield. When the feds come in with those kinds of standards or guidelines, they yield to local control. And I think we can't give that up necessarily.


[00:29:46.340] - Darl Champion

And I think if you were going to do it, Steve, I would say, yeah, you can probably maybe do it at the state level at a minimum. But I don't know if you're going to do it 100% at the national level, if that's really going to work in the long term, because you're right. I think a lot of state governments, local governments, they're very suspicious when the federal government gets involved.


[00:30:05.910] - Steve Morreale

Well, and you know how the federal government does it. What it does is it comes down. It very rarely levies a requirement. It makes some suggestions to kind of roll it out a little bit. Hey, Darl, we get to the end. And by the way, we're talking to Darl Champion, who is a retired professor and former military person in the Army. And he is in North Carolina. He was at Methodist University. What's on your to do list as a newly retired faculty member, I know you're keeping active.


[00:30:30.270] - Steve Morreale

What's on your to do list both personal and professional?


[00:30:32.670] - Darl Champion

Well, I think probably professional or personal is spend more time with grandkids professionally, what I would like to do and what I'm currently doing. I am still teaching some graduate courses and still trying to advance the principles that I did with my graduate program and Methodist. But one of the things that I'm talking with a friend of mine at the Greensboro Police Department, who just recently took over the training division, we're going to look at how training is conducted and look at how, for example, officers critical thinking levels and possibly problem-solving skills relate to their success in the Academy, and particularly as they go out onto the street, very interested in learning styles of police trainees versus the instructional strategies that are used.


[00:31:18.960] - Darl Champion

Are we talking about pedagogy? We talk about Andrew also working with another chief who we are trying to look at possibly do a publication, and we haven't decided yet, waiting for him to basically have the time. He's involved in an initiative right now in which he's part of a consent to create review consulting team looking at a major police Department. He and I share a lot of the same values and principles. And so we've been thinking about doing something we could send a message out to law enforcement, particularly on leadership and leadership development is probably the third thing I'm really interested in is helping develop future leaders, everything from doing specific training to talking about developing succession plans because we are so lacking succession plans in law enforcement.


[00:32:05.430] - Steve Morreale

Well, that's interesting because I know that one of the people you're talking about is Captain Cuthbertson from Greensboro. You connected me with him, and I'm going to be talking with him, and he will be a guest very soon. That will be talking about succession planning and some other things he's trying to do with training. So thank you for that link. And there's that networking that always goes on before we leave. As somebody who has been at this for 25, 30 years, what's your hope for the future of policing in terms of training?


[00:32:33.050] - Steve Morreale

What one thing would you hope that people who come in contact with a good facilitator would take away to improve the way they deliver services and policing?


[00:32:42.970] - Darl Champion

Well, I think the one thing is that honest Truthful that they basically stay knowledgeable that they encourage, those that they're teaching or training have that love of lifelong learning. Don't hesitate to explore different ideas have those conversations because only by bringing people together to where you're going to bring these issues up and have lively debate and discussion, will it then be likely that maybe you'll be able to implement that in your own agency? But bottom line is, you have to be open-minded. Don't close the door on any idea.


[00:33:20.960] - Darl Champion

Take time to let it kind of be absorbed into your thinking, reflect upon it. And then basically forward. And one of my favorite points that I tried to stress is I asked the question of all my students at the end of my basic course, which I taught was the first course in the graduate program, the Foundations of Justice Administration. What do you want your legacy to be when you retire? You need to think about that because you want to look ahead 25 years. What do you want to be known by?


[00:33:51.180] - Darl Champion

What do you want to be? Your achievement, your crowning achievement. One of the favorite expressions comes out of Robin Williams Dead Poet Society, and that opening scene where he's talking to the new students. He just walked in. They don't really know him. He's talking about legacy. And I always end my classes by saying, carpet, seize the day. Let nothing pass you by because what you think is insignificant today could be monumental tomorrow.


[00:34:21.300] - Steve Morreale

That's interesting, because one of the things that I say normally is that when I walk in and I have the opportunity to talk to a group of people for 6810 hours, 4 hours is that I'm trying to plant seeds, and I liken it to gardening. When you go and plant seeds, you plant a dozen seeds, two dozen seeds. Not all of them are going to germinate, but if you don't plant any seeds, none germinate. And so really, that's what we're trying to do as educators is to get people to think, think a little bit differently, open their minds to new ideas and make them understand it's their Department, it's them that can lead.


[00:34:54.100] - Steve Morreale

And here's the last thing I'll say is I'll always ask the question, do you want to be known as a leader or a manager? And everybody raises their hand that they want to be a leader, and then we start digging in. Okay, well, what exactly does that mean? What are the differences between management and leadership? So there's a lot of work to be done out there, isn't there, Darl?


[00:35:09.740] - Darl Champion

Oh, there is. It's very much so. But I think there's challenges I'm optimistic on the glass is three-quarters full. I've always stayed optimistic. And I believe that amidst all the challenges that we're facing right now, we'll be able to come to a point in policing that I think in 20-30 years, we'll be proud of what we have done from this point forward.


[00:35:29.040] - Steve Morreale

Talk about Carpe Diem. This is the prime time for the police to do just that. Police agencies and police leaders. Seize the day, make a change and get back to developing relationships inside.


[00:35:40.240] - Darl Champion

I agree. And we need those leaders to be able to surface that take the forefront and become the models other chiefs can look to. And we do have a lot of chiefs today that were mentored under some great chiefs. Don't get me wrong, but we need more of them all levels of policing, from the small-town police department to the big metropolitan Department. They need to nurture those underneath them because they will become the protege.


[00:36:05.410] - Steve Morreale

That's right.


[00:36:05.860] - Darl Champion

And they're the ones that are going to carry that message forward. And we just got to make sure we have the right message that's going forward.


[00:36:12.090] - Steve Morreale

Great. Well, I want to thank you very much for your time and for your energy and for your input and your insight. We've been talking to Darl Champion from Methodist University. He is now in North Carolina. I appreciate all you've been able to contribute and some of the links that you have provided to me to other people who you feel are progressive and in the trenches and trying to do the right thing. So Darl, thank you so much for your time.


[00:36:34.050] - Steve Morreale

Well, thank you very much, Steve. I appreciate it and Carpe Diem.


[00:36:36.500] - Steve Morreale

And good way to end. Carpe Diem. Ladies and gentlemen, Steve Morreale, and this is The CopDoc Podcast. Thank you for listening. We are doing quite well. Listenership is up, and we're beginning to see a number of people from outside of the country listening, and we appreciate that. Thanks and stay tuned for more episodes.


[00:36:55.610] - 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.


[00:37:15.830] - Voice Outro 

Hey, everybody, a few things before you leave first. Thanks for listening. I'm so gratified to see the downloads rising in the last few months, not only from the US but from across the globe. It's surprising and humbling to find students, colleagues and practitioners listening. They have a growing number of listeners in Canada, Ireland, England, Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Colombia. We appreciate your time and energy and welcome feedback. Please feel free to reach out to me by email at Check out our website at Please take the time to share a podcast with a friend. If you find value in the discussions. We've had so many amazing guests and more to come who have shared their wisdom, their thoughts, their viewpoints and their innovative ideas. Most importantly, a huge thank you to those of you who show up for work in policing every day, not knowing the kinds of calls that you'll be sent on for the kinds of situations you'll find yourself in. You risk your lives for people many of whom you don't know, and for that we owe you a debt of gratitude. A big thanks. Hope you stay safe, healthy, and look forward to hearing from you and hope you'll continue to listen to upcoming episodes of The CopDoc Podcast. Thanks very much.