The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

TCD Podcast Chief Ron Sellon - Mansfield, MA Police - Ep 36

August 23, 2021 Chief Ron Sellon Season 2 Episode 36
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
TCD Podcast Chief Ron Sellon - Mansfield, MA Police - Ep 36
Show Notes Transcript

We chatted with Chief Ron Sellon from the Mansfield, MA Police Department.  Chief since 2013, Ron earned his law degree from Massachusetts School of Law.  

He is an active member of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and is a Vice President with the International Chiefs of Police Association.  

Ron is an FBI National Academy graduate.  He is focused on ensuring his agency is proactive, using Evidence-based and data driven decisions.  He has established a model Problem-oriented unit in his community. 

In a wide-ranging chat, we spoke of leadership, reacting to the current issues, and the future of policing. 


[00:00:02.640] - 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.

 


[00:00:32.550] - Steve Morreale

Well, hello, hello again, everybody, this is Steve Morreale, this is The CopDoc Podcast coming to you from Boston. And today we're talking to Ron Selin. He is the chief of police in Mansfield, Massachusetts, outside of Boston, and is actually sitting in Florida. Good morning, Ron.

 


[00:00:51.630] - Ron Sellon

Good morning, Doctor. How are you today?

 


[00:00:52.950] - Steve Morreale

I am fine. So, talk about what you're what you're doing down in Florida. And, of course, you're dodging the hurricane.

 


[00:01:01.800] - Ron Sellon

Yes. So,  I'm attending the FBI National Academy Conference in Orlando, Florida. Just happens to be in Orlando, Florida, this year.  And  it's an outstanding opportunity to connect with old friends, to meet new colleagues, to network, to learn about some of the more innovative stuff that's going on in the world right now in the world of policing and stuff, It just presents so many opportunities from a learning perspective.

 


[00:01:28.920] - Steve Morreale

Yes. You know, let's talk about that. It's something that we glance over and gloss over once in a while when we talk about the training opportunities, the learning opportunities of the National Academy of SMIP the Senior Management Institute for Policing from PERF. But talk about that. Talk about your experience. Let's start with that. Your experience and how beneficial it was to go down to Quantico, to be accepted, to go down to Quantico and spend many weeks there.  Talk about that, because most people don't know.

 


[00:02:00.420] - Ron Sellon

Yeah. So I, I like I call it the greatest educational opportunity of my entire career. And that's coming from the perspective of having you know, I and I also attended law school at one point. So, I still call it the greatest educational opportunity of my entire career because I got the opportunity in 2011 to attend the two hundred and forty fifth session of the FBI National Academy, and it brings together two hundred and fifty professionals from around the world.

 


[00:02:29.190] - Ron Sellon

And it essentially is in my opinion, is the preeminent leadership and lot for it for law enforcement and for policing, training and development. And you just you learn so much not just from the classes that you attend there, but the people that you meet and that become your lifelong friends and that you can network around the world and around the country as a result of it. It's just I, can't say enough about it.

 


[00:02:54.710] - Ron Sellon

It was it was funny because every night excuse me is every night we would get together after the sessions were over in the boardroom, in the boardroom. And I went and it was and the great thing about it is, is that it is you go you buy a pitcher of beer. It was like five dollars at the time. No, I think it's like seven fifty or so. And I would find a table, I would find a table with an open seat and I would throw the pitcher into the middle of the table and say, OK, here's a pitcher of beer.

 


[00:03:18.900] - Ron Sellon

Let's talk. Who are you? How did you get here? Tell me your stories.

 


[00:03:23.350] - Speaker 2

Well, you can't be a shrinking violet in that situation, right?

 


[00:03:26.970] - Speaker 3

You'd be surprised.

 


[00:03:28.110] - Speaker 2

No, I know it was some people that never left the room. We don't go all the time about it.

 


[00:03:32.760] - Steve Morreale

Yeah, well, I understand that. But it does broaden your horizons. And I think, you know, for me, the experience that I've had and I've spent plenty of time down at Quantico with DEA and the FBI and had done some training at the  National Academy. What I  find fascinating is exactly that, that there are so many people out there and policing is policing, but it also takes the blinders off for you who's a Mansfield police officer and becomes very, very inculcated in Massachusetts, in the Commonwealth and laws and the people around you.

 


[00:04:05.580] - Steve Morreale

And until you raise your periscope and get out there and basically shake hands with others, you don't know what you don't know.

 


[00:04:16.520] - Ron Sellon

That's exactly it, you end up and it's funny because 80 percent of the I believe the statistic that I saw recently was that 80 percent of the police departments in the United States are less than 50 cops, which means that we oftentimes we end up on our own little islands. We end up in our own little you know, you call them like a fiefdom, but you basically become so insulated that you don't understand what's going on. Sometimes two towns over, they could have a fantastic program.

 


[00:04:43.340] - Ron Sellon

But you've never heard of that. You would think that would be just that would solve a problem within your community. And it's so important to get out of to get out. I tell people all the time I'm like, get out of Mansfield. Like go to conferences. We send people to the Bonn conference every year. We send people to a number of different conferences. And it's for them to network, for them to learn, for them to better themselves and to bring stuff to bring something back.

 


[00:05:09.000] - Ron Sellon

I don't care what it is, but bring something back to the town and back to the back of the police department. When you come back.

 


[00:05:15.290] - Steve Morreale

You know, not everybody can go to the National Academy and those that do rave about it. And I understand that. But I also want to move to the fact that you're very active in the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the IACP. You are one of the vice presidents. And again, it's international.

 


[00:05:34.340] - Steve Morreale

And certainly you may or may not know, I spent many weeks, 16, 18 weeks in Ireland and was working with the Garda. And if you begin to ask and if you start to talk to people and just ask questions, how are you handling this? What's going on? What's keeping you busy? Those kinds of questions, cops are just ready to vomit on you. Right. And you can learn so much just by asking questions. My concern is that it's interesting because we do become insular and we do become you talked about fiefdoms, But when you get outside of your group, I'm trusting that even in this conference, you're at and certainly at the IACP conferences and such, you'll almost always bring back a new idea. Is that a fair assessment?

 


[00:06:18.980] - Ron Sellon

What you just you hit the nail on the head. And I will give you a great example. Last night I met up with Brad Flynn, who's the Helena, Alabama police chief. And he is he is putting together he's working with Culture City right now on making on making communities more inclusive for sensory issues for children with special needs. My God, both of our youngest children of special needs. And we started last night a group of people talking about what he's doing in teaming with Culture City and actually making his entire community, not just the police department, the entire community, sensory inclusive.

 


[00:06:54.770] - Ron Sellon

And it's just an amazing program. And I can't wait to get back because that's going to be number one on the agenda when I get back. Every single time that you get together with people like that, you come across something else. And it it's we need to understand we can't be so arrogant as to think that we have all the solutions ourselves. Somebody else out there has a solution to one of my problems. I don't know who it is and I don't know where they are.  But I need to find

 


[00:07:16.310] - Steve Morreale

Let's talk about your experience. Well, go back to IACP because we hadn't talked about that. So you've been active with IACP, you ran. You're now one of the vice presidents. Talk about what that does and how that also assist you in understanding the bigger picture.

 


[00:07:29.820] - Ron Sellon

My experience prior to, so, yes, I got elected as the vice president treasurer w last October. And but my experience prior to that was I was a member of the Human and Civil Rights Committee for a number of years. And in the wake of  Ferguson and what I refer to as we're in the midst of the second due process revolution right now. And I have the opportunities that I was given there on that committee where you cannot calculate the value of it. I worked with so many civil rights and advocacy organizations. I worked with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. I worked with the Human Rights Coalition. I worked with the Anti Defamation League and to build those relationships. And I can't tell you how valuable that has been over the last few years.

 


[00:08:21.950] - Steve Morreale

Well, it gives you a whole different view and perspective? And I think what it would seem to me that it does for you as a chief for your community, but also you as a professional, is to learn how to navigate and seek information from those who do not see the world the same way that you do. You're shaking your head. What are you thinking?

 


[00:08:42.110] - Ron Sellon

That's perfectly said. It is understanding the fact that it gave me the ability and it didn't come easily, but it gave me the ability to navigate very difficult conversations with organizations that traditionally do not see us as allies, for better or for worse, and to be able to engage in that conversation and to find commonality of purpose and help them in some regard. And it just it helps to build the bridges that need to be built today. Especially I can't say enough about my time on that committee was it was invaluable.

 


[00:09:20.220] - Ron Sellon

Carmen Best, the former Seattle police chief who I adore, is still the chair there. She just the work that they do there is invaluable.

 


[00:09:27.340] - Steve Morreale

So you talked about the second due process revolution. And obviously we go back to so many things from Michael Brown to George Floyd to the mistakes that are being made to the accusations or the assertions, let's say, that criminal justice and police are systemically racist. You also said that you were on this committee called Human and Civil Rights. And that strikes me when I have interviewed and spent time over in the UK and in Ireland and the EU. They are all they are not about civil rights.

 


[00:09:58.330] - Steve Morreale

They're all about human rights. And that changes. And I'm sure that one of the things that you began to realize when you were on this committee is just how important that is, but how underutilized that term is in the United States. What do you think?

 


[00:10:11.890] - Ron Sellon

Yeah, you know, what it comes down to is the we seem to when we hear the phrase procedural justice, I think that oftentimes what is found is, is that people misinterpret exactly what that is. And at its core, essentially, basically what it means is, is that is that people need to be able to feel as though they've been treated fairly and that cuts across the board. Now, one of the things that I've been talking about and I've been blessed for eight years as police chief knock on wood, but watch, the first one will be waiting for me when I get back. We haven't had one grievance in eight years, but that's because one thing that we talk about is the community members and procedural justice. But one of the things that we also need to consider, too, is that when we're dealing with employees, that they need to feel as though they've been treated fairly. And that's one of the other things right now is just trying to get making sure that the unions feel that all the employees feel as though they're being treated fairly at its core.

 


[00:11:02.590] - Ron Sellon

That's essentially what when we talk about human rights, when we talk about civil rights, realistically, people need to be able to feel as though they were treated fairly. It doesn't mean that they get the best possible outcome that they want. They just need to understand that they need to feel that way. And it's our job to navigate that water, and communicate that.

 


[00:11:20.020] - Steve Morreale

Others here who have been on the show, they indicate that one of the things that police chiefs need to pay attention to is when you focus on procedural justice, as you just explained, it has to be considered also internally, which is exactly what you said. In other words, if you're going to mistreat police officers before they go and if you're constantly on a ride them, if you're constantly going to micromanage them, they walk out there with stressors already, never mind the stress of the job.

 


[00:11:44.680] - Steve Morreale

And you've been on the job and I've been on the job. And so many times it's the stress from inside that's really more difficult to negotiate than the stress on the street. I can control the street. I can't control the backstabbing or the constant needling by supervisors.  Again, I have the luxury of watching you, but you're shaking your head. What's your thoughts?

 


[00:12:02.170] - Ron Sellon

Yeah, and that's and that's especially right now, like so on the one of the big things that we're talking about nationally right now is obviously as officer is officer resigned. And one of the things that I feel as though as a profession, I break it into three tiers. We've done a good job over the years of teaching tactics. We've done a solid job of teaching knowledge, which is criminal procedure, criminal law. What can you do? What can't you do?

 


[00:12:25.150] - Ron Sellon

But the thing that the profession has been horrible at doing over the years is teaching mindset and mindset. As I break into two categories, their decision, there's decision sciences, decision making, and then there's also officer resilience. And what we're finding is, is that because of the neglect of focus on mindset and also resilience, what we're finding this is the careers are ending at 20 years that should have gone 30-32 years. Careers are ending in 15 years, that oftentimes when you really look at excessive force complaints, they really break down to,  I don't want to call it a panic, but it basically comes down to if you usually look backwards in that officer's career, there are significant stressors that are occurring.

 


[00:13:03.580] - Ron Sellon

And there wasn't enough of an internal process to get them assistance or to intervene early enough before it get before it escalates. To that point, when we talk about what we talk about everything that's going on right now, one of the things that we've made a big effort for, and you and I joked before this about how we seem to collect jobs that we don't get paid for, but we understand the value of them. And one of those is one of the other ones that I have is this I'm an executive board member of the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council, one of the LECs in Massachusetts.

 


[00:13:35.650] - Ron Sellon

And it's basically nothing more for anybody that doesn't know. It's basically nothing more than a regional mutual aid facilitator. And one of the busiest team on our 40 plus community coalition is our peer support team. And we have been sending them pretty consistently to towns all over our area and jurisdiction because just because we're trying to we're trying to stay ahead of it.

 


[00:13:56.410] - Steve Morreale

Well, so let's talk about that, because wellness, obviously, when the 21st century policing report came out under the Obama administration, there were six pillars. And one of those pillars was Officer Wellness. As you well know in talking, I'm so lucky to be able to talk to people from all over the world, and we need to focus on the wellness of officers. Because of what? We asked them to see what we asked them to do, and then we asked and I know and it's probably happened to you, we put it in a box.

 


[00:14:21.880] - Steve Morreale

That's where it is. And we hope that that box doesn't open up. But unfortunately, it leaks sometimes. Sometimes you see something and it triggers that dead body that you saw that fatality or that young infant that had drowned in a pool or whatever it might be, a murder or a serious stabbing. Those kinds of things have a cumulative effect, but we don't normally I'm so happy to hear that this peer support group is active and police suicides, as you well know, Ron.

 


[00:14:47.080] - Steve Morreale

And by the way, we're talking to Ron Sellon, the chief of police in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Some of the background noise you may hear, ladies and gentlemen, is he is sitting in kind enough to sit in a hotel room where he is attending a conference in Orlando, Florida. But what I'm not sure that we do a good job of is not so much forcing, but building into an organization the need for you to go and talk it out after there is a serious incident.

 


[00:15:10.000] - Steve Morreale

What do you think about that? Is that something you're hearing across the country?

 


[00:15:12.790] - Ron Sellon

So we pay a lot of it. And again, we pay a lot of lip service to it. But we it's analogies this way. We will take people and we will say, all right, hey, here is a service. If you need it, go get it. That's like saying, when I first took over and I started trying to shift the orientation of the organization from one of reactive to proactive, the common refrain that I would hear from the command staff members then was if they need help, they'll call us.

 


[00:15:36.640] - Ron Sellon

And I said, no, they won't. They're not going to call. They're not going to come to us. We need to go to them and we need to find them. And it's the same and now the same. That same philosophy needs to apply with us is that we need to not shove it down people's throats, but we need to set certain parameters. For instance, every single time that there is a critical incident in our community, the officers have to sit through the first initial diffusing.

 


[00:16:00.820] - Steve Morreale

So you were saying that the assumption might be that while, of course, they know it's there, it's sort of the same thing. I'll tell you, because we talk about this in training all the time and sergeants or whatever I'll say to them. So you set your expectations? Of course they do. How often do you do it? I just have to do it once. Really? You know, you're going to tell somebody what you want and then you're going to assume they'll remember that for the rest of their career.

 


[00:16:21.520] - Steve Morreale

I think that that is a mistake. And again, I saw a smile on your face there. But in terms of setting expectations, don't you think that that should be a repeated thing? Especially . . . I'm not equating our officers with kids, but we have to repeat ourselves with our kids all of the time and said, no, this is what we're looking for. This is what we expect from you, and then we'll hold you accountable for that, but only after we set the expectations and make them clear.

 


[00:16:44.620] - Ron Sellon

And that's the hardest part is oftentimes in this profession. We love to check the box. If there's a hey, listen, we have oh, do we have a peer support group? Yes, we've got it. OK, great. We check the box. OK, well, the devil's in the details. Like, what do you mean by peer support? What are you doing with it? How are you using it? How does it work?

 


[00:16:59.560] - Ron Sellon

How does it operate? How do people respond to it or are they responding to it? If so, how are you going to adjust to that response? Because this clearly has to be an adjustment period after any first initial outlay. And as a profession, we love to check the box just from a liability standpoint and say, OK, we've got that now let's move on. And it's frustrating at times because you'll set up a program and then we get this mindset, this mentality that we're just going to we're going to do it once and then we're done and it needs to be reinforced.

 


[00:17:26.620] - Ron Sellon

Otherwise, it will never steep into the culture, become embedded in the culture. It's jumping back to the FBI Academy. The first class I signed up for at the FBI Academy was the master's level managing organizational change. And that class introduced me to John Kotter.

 


[00:17:40.930] - Steve Morreale

I love Kotter. Yep, yep. Sense of urgency and that the steps of change. I know.

 


[00:17:46.300] - Ron Sellon

And I'll tell you, I think it's over the last eight years where I have succeeded and where I have misstep, I can go right to those eight steps of Kotter's change model and I can point rate at and go. That's where I messed up right there. But in order for something to end, in order for it again, the last two steps in the change model are essentially anchoring, anchoring the change into the culture of the organization and then moving forward from that point.

 


[00:18:09.640] - Ron Sellon

And you can't anchor a change into the culture of the organization without repeatedly doing it. Otherwise, it just becomes lip service and your costs are going to end up rolling their eyes going, yeah, yeah. They say that we're supposed to do that, but you know how it really goes.

 


[00:18:22.300] - Steve Morreale

You know that it's interesting. So I'm writing so many things down. We're only as good as our people in the agency. And so, so many things. Development, training, community-mindedness, driving core values, identifying the core values of the agency. And it also strikes me and it surprises me. I'm so . . . While I'm removed from policing after thirty-five years of being in the business, I'm still very active in it and have many friends, colleagues and have offered some consultation to agencies.

 


[00:18:52.810] - Steve Morreale

But it strikes me that so few chiefs have spoken out about what's going on in the country and to address that at the local level, to say, look, here's what we're doing, here's what we're about. Here's why this should not happen here. I can't guarantee it, but here are the things we're doing to learn from the mistakes of others to make sure that that doesn't happen on our doorstep. Why do you think that is wrong? Why is there a reticence to speak out?

 


[00:19:20.630] - Ron Sellon

So I would. I'll tell you, it's funny that you should say that the last year has been very difficult on the profession as a whole, obviously. And for me personally, the difficulty has been in what has happened and this is going to come out sounding really strange. The good part is that people came out of the woodwork in the community that felt a certain way that I never knew, felt a certain way, and that now I had now I can at least have a dialog with them.

 


[00:19:47.720] - Ron Sellon

And it is probably been on an almost weekly basis that I get somebody who will send me something from the ACLU talking points or something that they heard from this organization or that organization and then demand that, you know, why aren't we doing this here? And it's OK, let's can we meet up? Can we have a conversation? Can we talk about this? And then individually meeting with as many people as possible to de-escalate their tensions over their perception of what's going on versus the reality of what really is going on?

 


[00:20:21.260] - Ron Sellon

It's almost like we're in a political battle for the most part. And people are just they hear a talking point and they run with it. And I tell people all the time, I said, I don't talk politics, I talk policy. And if you want to talk policy, then let's talk policy, because I will tell you what we're doing. I'll be honest about what we're doing, what we're not doing, and I'll explain exactly why on both occasions, on both accounts.

 


[00:20:41.510] - Ron Sellon

But I think that right now, nationally, I think it's difficult to have those conversations. Listen, I know some executives that they lock themselves in their office and they're waiting for this to blow over. It's not blowing over. This is the new normal. This is and quite frankly, there are opportunities to have conversations with people now, but don't want anything to do with the police chief that are now willing to at least sit down and have a conversation with me.

 


[00:21:03.350] - Ron Sellon

So there's people avoid conflict for the most part, and there's a lot of that going on.

 


[00:21:08.240] - Ron Sellon

There is. Put on top of that covid and the way you had to react and the way you had to change and the policy changes that had to happen. And the fact that so many agencies made changes but didn't let the town know what they were going to change. You would have to, in a town that I'm familiar with. You would have to drive up and you would go to the police department and would say, you're not allowed in here. You know, please go to your car and make a call.

 


[00:21:30.920] - Steve Morreale

And I understand that. But they didn't communicate that until I'm there. And so I think that we could certainly all do better with communication. But talk about Kotter. But how you move now, you move to Stephen Covey. And one of the things he will say in his in one of his books is seek first to understand, then be understood. And I think that in policing, maybe you as an executive get that. I'm not sure the officers get that just yet, unless you're driving that conversation.

 


[00:21:56.630] - Ron Sellon

That's, and that's my favorite Stephen Covey quote, by the way. Yeah, it's because that and sharpen the saw.  There are I tell you, that's the most difficult part that we're dealing with right now is that the officers themselves. But let me sort of back up a little bit, because my biggest critique, my biggest criticism of the profession, at least the organization I grew up in, is that it was wholly, entirely reactionary.

 


[00:22:18.980] - Ron Sellon

In other words, in order for us to intervene into something, we had to wait for something bad to happen. Then we went and we dealt with it. And when we dealt with it, we oftentimes dealt with it superficially. And there was no follow up. There was no attempt to identify the root cause of what was actually the problem. If it was used domestics as a as the great example is that we show up. Did anybody get anybody know?

 


[00:22:40.460] - Ron Sellon

Does anybody want a restraining order now? OK, knock it off. And we don't want to we don't want to have to come back.

 


[00:22:44.810] - Steve Morreale

I'll write the report and I'm moving on. Yes. I mean, I shouldn't laugh about that, but that's the way many would react.

 


[00:22:50.870] - Ron Sellon

You're laughing because you've seen it often times, just as I have it, like, you know, and I look back 20 years ago and watching the way that some of the people that I worked with at the time, in the way that we responded to stuff and it was I just I shook my head. It's just it was embarrassing, the superficial way in which we would address certain problems and not to get too far afield. But my point my point is, is that our profession has an embedded, almost reactionary mindset in a lot of areas.

 


[00:23:19.490] - Ron Sellon

And what that does is it forces at times a retraction of proactivity. If that's a nice if that's a good way of putting it, I'm not sure if I articulated it the right way. I gotcha. And by doing that, what happens is that the officers very, very often, especially the last year, the last year, we want to a community policing award in twenty nineteen and then covid happened and I watched every single program that we were doing go down the tubes.

 


[00:23:46.490] - Ron Sellon

You're going to laugh at the statistic from 2016-2019, we cut domestic disturbances by 30 percent countermands and that was and that's.

 


[00:23:55.170] - Steve Morreale

How the hell do you do that? That's amazing.

 


[00:23:56.930] - Ron Sellon

That is, that is actually they just did a story on it on our pop unit and that's Dave Sennott, Mike Fenmore.

 


[00:24:05.100] - Ron Sellon

So wait a minute. I know what it means but what does POP mean.

 


[00:24:08.300] - Ron Sellon

Sorry, that's our problem-oriented policing. Thank you.

 


[00:24:11.300] - Steve Morreale

Herman Goldstein, it's a no, no, no, I understand.

 


[00:24:14.370] - Ron Sellon

Yeah. And that's in the multitiered follow-ups, it's the nuanced approach, it's a multitiered, disciplined, nuanced approach when it comes to responding, falloffs, wise. And over the last year I watched I would sit in my office on the weekends going through the analyst reports and would just go through them. And I could feel just the stress rising because I could see the numbers. We're just going through the roof all over again. And because of the covid protocols, our response model got all twisted up and we really did.

 


[00:24:47.870] - Ron Sellon

I like to think that we're a more innovative, proactive agency and we struggled to try and find the response, just sort of intervene and to stop the spike in domestics and such. And obviously, part of that also is the fact that you had people locked in the house with increasing emotional distress, emotionally disturbed persons calls you had. You know, there was a host of other factors that went into it. I think, you know, it was I think Professor Jerry Ratcliffe from Tulane.

 


[00:25:16.340] - Steve Morreale

No he's from Temple.

 


[00:25:18.320] - Steve Morreale

We had him on.

 


[00:25:19.080] - Ron Sellon

Awesome,  I think I think I think the man is brilliant. He literally wrote the book for intelligence.

 


[00:25:24.780] - Steve Morreale

He isn't that swift. I'm kidding. We joke about it. He's a good guy.

 


[00:25:30.170] - Ron Sellon

Yes. But he commented on the spikes and certain things. And, you know, there's so many that went into why that happened.

 


[00:25:39.620] - Steve Morreale

Yeah, there were variables. But I bet as you're speaking and talking about the frustration of losing your way during covid, I don't think you should beat yourself up because we had to . . . I mean, completely policing and fire had to change, and medical had to change everything that we did. But having said that, Ron, now the challenge is how do we get back on track? Covid has sort of gone away. We have to remind people. All right, where were we going before we got sidetracked?

 


[00:26:05.960] - Ron Sellon

And that's a chore for you, isn't it? It is, because that reactionary mindset.

 


[00:26:10.400] - Steve Morreale

It's easy to creep right back in, right.  It's the natural tendency.

 


[00:26:15.020] - Ron Sellon

It just people say that nothing we can do it right. It's like literally that was the excuse for everything over 12 months, if you think about it, like we suspended due process for people in the court systems and just said covid. Right.

 


[00:26:28.790] - Steve Morreale

Well, it wasn't just Covid. There was any number of businesses you dealt with that we can't do that because it covid sorry, sorry. Like everybody is home, but we won't be able to answer your call - service calls because of Covid. What do you mean you haven't those like six months then you haven't figured this out yet. Well right. Yeah it is crazy. Well so a couple of things that I'm hearing from you, which I think is great.

 


[00:26:50.820] - Steve Morreale

Well, one thing you just said it clearly every time you speak, I'm writing things down and I had a list of things we wanted to talk to and that didn't happen just because the conversation is natural. And I appreciate that. But you just said something about analyst reports. But before you get to that, tell the audience, tell the listeners about your department, speak about your department. Where are you? How big is it? What's the population?

 


[00:27:12.260] - Steve Morreale

Try to frame that for people who are nowhere near the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

 


[00:27:17.240] - Ron Sellon

So we're about smack dab in the middle of space between Boston and Providence. And we are right next to Foxboro where the Patriots play. My department has over 40 full-time officers. We are the community of Mansfield is I grew up there. It's home. We've got about 25,000 residents there. We've got a really nice industrial park, which helps with the tax base as well. We are we're a solid middle upper class community. We just built a brand new police station.

 


[00:27:43.850] - Ron Sellon

We just regionalized dispatch as well as for other communities. There's this we've done a lot with it, proud of the work that the officers have done and the folks have done over the last few years.

 


[00:27:53.000] - Steve Morreale

So there were two things that you just said. Once again, regionalization. You talked about it with the LECs, right? The Metroplex. You just talked about it with dispatch. There's a resistance because of local control, especially in the Northeast, to go regional. But what are the benefits of regionalization?

 


[00:28:08.060] - Ron Sellon

The benefits of regionalization have been huge. And I can tell you that there was significant pushback. Initially, I proposed looking into it back in 2014, 2015, 2015 originally, and there was significant pushback because again, it's scary. It's the unknown. And quite frankly, we'd heard some horror stories from other agencies in Massachusetts that attempted to regionalize and it just went so. So what we did was the fire chief and I basically started doing you can hire a company to do a feasibility study, but we Chief Jeanie and I, the former fire chief who just retired last year.

 


[00:28:39.860] - Ron Sellon

What he and I did was we did our own feasibility study and we literally went to every facility and we reverse engineered their entire process. And what worked, what didn't work, what did they like? Why didn't it work? And I mean, we could do all kidding aside, we could do an entire podcast just on that process alone, because it was that was a lot. But the benefit to it is, is a I saved a million dollars and construction cost of the new building meant that we got every ad alternate, which is all of the you have when you construct a new facility, you get what they refer to as sorry, you get what they refer to as add alternates, which is basically a wish list.

 


[00:29:12.950] - Ron Sellon

It's, hey, if you have enough money left. Over you, can we add this? Yeah, so like we got covered parking for the cruisers, we got a massive steel building behind so that we could for storage. We got a bunch of other stuff. And so I saved about a million in construction costs. But then we also my budget went from nine hundred and seventy five thousand for my line item for dispatch in two thousand and eighteen I think it was 19 down to the town pays an assessment of about four hundred and fifty thousand, almost cut in half.

 


[00:29:44.460] - Ron Sellon

And the only reason why we pay that much right now is because we need to save for a new radio system. So the benefit was there was financial. But the other element, too was, is that when we went where a lot of communities messed up is this. They go, oh, great, we're going to save a ton of money. And that's it. No, that's not it. It's about improving services first and then saving money secondarily.

 


[00:30:02.850] - Ron Sellon

And so when we wrote when we did out the whole process, we basically made sure that we weren't going to lose any services. I'll tell you, they just finished construction of the facility. It's over in Foxborough. I would say it's at one of the highest points in Massachusetts. The radio, it's fantastic. In addition to that, we had to reinvest that cost savings back into the police department. And there were there were people that did not want to do that.

 


[00:30:25.050] - Ron Sellon

They just wanted to take the money and run. And that was another fight in and of itself, was getting people to realize that you can't just you can't just save the money and then use it for something else. Yeah, the idea of in the idea of having a dark station was broached and I told them that they will text for that because you can't go. You mean to tell me that we're about to spend thirty five million dollars on a brand new state of the art facility and it's going to be close?

 


[00:30:48.990] - Ron Sellon

It's ridiculous. So we had to reinvest the money into staff for the front desk, which we have now. Essentially, the front desk area has everything the dispatch area would have. Now, what it doesn't have is peace out the 9/11 terrorist attacks. So just reengineering that entire business model was that it was a lot. It really was. Well, any time you make a change and you buck the system, well, I think there's a lesson for you.

 


[00:31:10.320] - Steve Morreale

Back in 14 or 15, when you first introduced this, so many people would say, I tried, I'm not going to do it. But that stick to it obvious. And I think there's a lot that we learn from our policing profession to say no doesn't always mean no. No means no now. And we need to come back. We need to sort of sit down. We need to reassess and we have to have a plan. And it's that thought piece that you were just talking about by going in and asking questions of some of the experienced regional dispatch centers that you ask questions.  In essence, this is what I'm hearing and this is what I don't think police understand. I'm a proponent and I love cops, don't like bad cops.

 


[00:31:46.500] - Steve Morreale

But we are trained to investigate. But we seem to forget that we can investigate our own department. And I'm not talking about internal affairs, like by saying, well, what are we doing? What's wrong here? What can be improved? I use Marquardt's work Leading through Questions.   Sitting around the table.  And you clearly do that and you get it. And I think it becomes very, very important that it's not you imposing your will on the department, but it's you drawing your people into the conversation. So you sow the seed and it germinates by having additional ideas. Come again. I don't mean to dominate, but I see your head shaking. What do you think about that?

 


[00:32:21.840] - Ron Sellon

No, you're right. It's funny. I call it I refer to it when I say reverse engineering. That's basically what I mean is, is that it's all of our practices. We need to be constantly reassessing and looking at whether or not what we are doing is effective and is what is it we're trying. And it's funny, I think that the biggest problem in our profession as a whole is, is that we oftentimes don't understand what it is that we're trying to accomplish.

 


[00:32:43.610] - Ron Sellon

What is it we're trying to accomplish? You go to a domestic call and I always use it as an example. It's the easiest when simplest one to understand. You go to a domestic call. What are you trying to accomplish? What we deal with oftentimes is the noise, not the actual problem. And you show up and the people arguing is the reason why you got call to go there. But it's not the problem. The problem is what they're arguing about.

 


[00:33:04.320] - Ron Sellon

Why are they screaming at each other? What's going on? Is it a joblessness issue? Is it a substance abuse issue? Is it something else entirely? Is the family going through some form of crisis of some type? Obviously, they're going through some form of crisis. What's the problem and what is it that we're trying to accomplish?

 


[00:33:18.870] - Steve Morreale

Looking for the root?

 


[00:33:19.980] - Ron Sellon

Yeah, exactly. And when you've identified the root, sometimes what you find is that you realize, oh, crap, like what we were trying to do, what we were doing. From a practical standpoint, our response model doesn't fit what we really want to accomplish here. So what we need to do is sort of shift our response model accordingly so that we're attacking the root cause as opposed to just dealing with the symptoms of the problems all the time.

 


[00:33:41.100] - Ron Sellon

And it becomes that I find is the biggest issue that we have. And I would say you've got to reverse engineer. You've got to go back in and you've got to say, what are we doing? Why are we doing it? How are we doing it? What do we put in time into? And oftentimes you find massive waste of time. And even talking to the cops, they'll eventually somebody will say, I've been waiting for somebody to finally tell me, ask me why do we do this?

 


[00:34:01.230] - Ron Sellon

And I was I would tell you that I think that this is stupid.

 


[00:34:04.200] - Steve Morreale

It's been stupid for twenty years.

 


[00:34:05.670] - Ron Sellon

Yeah, exactly. But, you know, one of our favorite phrases. Well, why do we do it? Because we've always done it that way.

 


[00:34:10.980] - Steve Morreale

One thing you just said, and it's interesting, if we begin to apply the medical. Model and I like the medical model, basically, they're looking at symptoms, what are the symptoms? Ultimately, I'm looking for a diagnosis, but it's the same, I think, in policing. What are the symptoms? What are the problems? Exactly what you said with that domestic representation? I think that's a very, very good thing. We could do very well with being more evidence based, certainly more data driven, but also understanding that in order to make a diagnosis for the problem, you have to get to the root cause, the root symptoms.

 


[00:34:39.750] - Steve Morreale

Right. And there may be multiple layers there. And that part of that problem oriented policing to that same thing, the SAHRA model and the things that are quite interesting. But you said something a while ago that I alluded to but never followed up on. You said you look at analyst reports, what the hell are those and who's doing them for you and why are you doing the analyst reports are basically what we do is I break it up this way.

 


[00:35:01.200] - Ron Sellon

We have an analyst that produces the reports.

 


[00:35:03.210] - Steve Morreale

Is that analyst a sworn officer?

 


[00:35:05.580] - Ron Sellon

No.

 


[00:35:06.030] - Steve Morreale

Great. Now, when you came on, was there an analyst? No. So you had to convince someone that we should spend money on a non-sworn officer to do something true.

 


[00:35:15.810] - Ron Sellon

Yes.

 


[00:35:16.170] - Steve Morreale

Uphill battle at first, I'm sure.

 


[00:35:17.760] - Ron Sellon

This is going to turn to it's turned into a happy phrase. Now, at this point on this, while we're talking, one of our biggest problems in this profession is that we underfund support staff positions in police departments because it's easier to just hire another cop and we'll shove a cop in there. And oftentimes I'm an advocate for civilian analysts as opposed to there's two models, obviously, as you know, that sometimes it's a cop, sometimes it's civilian.

 


[00:35:38.310] - Ron Sellon

I'm an advocate for the civilian position only because of the fact that the cop didn't take the job to be an analyst forever. And eventually that person is going to want to do something else. They may get promoted out based on and so forth with an analyst. That's what they wanted to do. That's what they went to school for. There's a nice niche society of them. You can hire somebody and if they get a better paying job somewhere else, that you bring somebody else in with the same.

 


[00:36:00.060] - Ron Sellon

In other words, there's a ceiling to it, this and such. But again, getting people to understand, getting the powers to be to understand that you need to spend money on this. And why do we need. That was a question I got so often. And we don't need a pop team. We don't need a problem areas policing team. We don't need an analyst, we don't need front desk personnel. We don't need any of that stuff.

 


[00:36:24.240] - Ron Sellon

And it's like when I first took over in 2013 outside of our dispatchers, there was one civilian employee in the police department. It was the chief secretary and she'd been there for thirty five years and she, it was so there wasn't enough support staff there to help push the changes that need to be made.

 


[00:36:43.410] - Steve Morreale

So back to the analyst report. So on a regular basis, you're relying on the analyst to go through data and provide you with information. And how does that information help you manage and lead the organization?

 


[00:36:55.620] - Ron Sellon

So a good example. About a year and a half ago, I was looking through the reports and the calls were so essentially, basically when it comes to if people if you're gonna hire an analyst and again, this is a whole other broadcast in and of itself, you need to understand what you need to break the job down to one number. And for us, it's four calls for service and that's what drives our operations. No joke about it all the time.

 


[00:37:14.940] - Ron Sellon

It's all about CFSs is right where the calls for service. And every month she produces the top five individuals, calls for service and the top five locations. And then those are given to the POP team. And then our problem-oriented policing team then goes out and is given the time to try and figure out exactly, well, why, as this person had seven calls for service or twelve calls for service in the last month, why has this location and it could be we've had everything.

 


[00:37:41.460] - Ron Sellon

Domestics are usually the biggest one. Opioid overdoses obviously are another huge one. Alarm calls. I mean, how frustrated do cops get overly alarm calls? I mean, we've all we every cop in America can look back at their career and go and identify two or three locations that were just a pain in the butt. Because, you know, the minute that the alarm call came in, you were like, this is going to be us and no one going to want to come out.

 


[00:38:04.140] - Ron Sellon

And I'm going to have to walk around the whole building and it's a pain. Why is this alarm keep going on? So they go out and they also identify what the heck is causing the extra calls for service. And one of the things that I found, though, was that and it was really interesting. No, it is it was funny because I'm sitting in my house and I'm going through the numbers. And it occurred to me that in twenty thirteen we did we had sixteen hundred custody's, which is a lot for an agency our size, and it's a lot of them had to be the Xfinity Center.

 


[00:38:33.060] - Ron Sellon

Yeah. A lot of it is from that, which is why then you need to break those numbers down based upon areas of the community. And so in two thousand one of the things I found was in 2013, three percent of those calls for three percent of our total eighteen sixteen hundred custodies came from one area of town, which is which is our is predominantly minority and it is also lower socio-economically. So but I fast forward to twenty nineteen and we had seven hundred and forty eight custody's or so.

 


[00:39:04.800] - Ron Sellon

Only one point I believe was one point three or one point four percent of that 740 were from that area. But our pop team had been working with that area in the residents. And management and for three years, so I'm looking at it and I looked at my wife and I said, holy crap, I said, I think that this right here, this number shows that we are having a proportionately positive impact on an area that traditionally would have been ignored in the past.

 


[00:39:31.040] - Ron Sellon

So we went from 3% of 1600 to 1.2 or 1.3% one point three percent of 740, which shows that. In other words, it showed that what the poteen was doing. So I ended up going in the next day and walking into the park team's office and going, You guys excuse my language, but you guys are kicking ass. And the numbers show that what you're doing is working and the time that they're putting in and it's that in and of itself is critical for their morale.

 


[00:39:54.140] - Ron Sellon

And let's face it, I mean, as a profession, not having a positive outcome to the things that we work on also significantly.

 


[00:40:00.890] - Steve Morreale

So you were just talking about giving positive feedback to the POP unit. And what it seems to me is and a question that I would ask and ask of many police chiefs is, are we measuring the right things? We're bean counters. We're all about output, not outcomes. And you know that. And that's what so many places that you're seeking money from grant money are going to ask. Don't tell me how many. Tell me what's happening when you put money and attention to that.

 


[00:40:26.900] - Steve Morreale

So what you said just then is your data was showing outcomes from the good police work that would be proactive. Right. So talk about talk about that. And let's talk about as soon as I said we're measuring the wrong things, maybe you shook your head. Why did you shake your head?

 


[00:40:42.530] - Ron Sellon

Because you're 100 percent correct. We have got in the profession as a whole, we have almost there is a systemic misunderstanding of what it is that we're trying to accomplish most times. And when you look at the traditional model of policing and its metrics for success, they are what their arrests, citations, they are all enforcement action oriented. My problem with that as a metric for success is that when those are your only measurements of success, if those are the only metrics by which you are going to measure how effective your officers are, what is inevitably going to happen is that they act as if there's a gravity to them and they will pull people in that direction so long as you apply them.

 


[00:41:21.830] - Ron Sellon

That's what people will inevitably end up using no matter what you say. Right. You can say that we're going to be community oriented and that we are going to focus on non law enforcement, problem solving, so on and so forth. But if you're not measuring the outputs of those programs, what inevitably is going to happen is, is that you're going to you undermine yourself because people are going to gravitate towards what they can show, makes them, quote, unquote, better.

 


[00:41:47.180] - Ron Sellon

And that's what inevitably ends up happening with the agency. And the people that are going to measure your effectiveness don't have any measurement by which it's nothing more than lip service.

 


[00:41:57.290] - Steve Morreale

Well, that's what you constantly fed them here. Here are our numbers rather than here's what we've accomplished and here's how we did it. It strikes me, I think collectively, you know, one of the things I had written down and you walked right into it is what's the mission of policing? Is there mission creep have been have we been taking on things that we probably shouldn't have? And we get beat up because we took them on. I mean, that's the problem.

 


[00:42:18.380] - Steve Morreale

And how do we adjust? Because Ron, and I want to go back. We talked about the Xfinity Center, and that's basically a summer musical venue where you bring in all kinds of people and they get drunk and all that kind of stuff. Been there too many times. But it certainly keeps you busy, no different than a football game or a baseball game where population come. But, as you begin to think about what it is that you want officers to do well and more importantly, what the community wants officers to do, you know, the mission seems to have crept a little bit.

 


[00:42:47.570] - Steve Morreale

And so it sounds to me like you're bucking the trend. I didn't become a police officer where you're telling me that, you know, arrests are incidental and other things that I have to do. I'm not a social worker. You've heard that a thousand times. But let's be realistic, and you probably know the numbers. What's the percentage of time spent on putting hands-on people as opposed to everything else we do? It's a very small number.

 


[00:43:09.320] - Steve Morreale

Could you guess what that number is in Mansfield as far as custodies go? Yes.

 


[00:43:14.300] - Ron Sellon

So we have so last year, obviously, we had less and again, covid. Right. But our numbers have trended statistically down in custody numbers since two thousand and thirteen. We went from that again, as I said it before, is sixteen hundred custodies in twenty thirteen. And we consistently chipped away at that and we were down to around like seven forty six I think seven forty eight or so.

 


[00:43:36.710] - Ron Sellon

When you look at each one of those there's probably two to three hours per custody. And then and it's funny you should point that out because one of the things I say is I like to I try to tell people they don't. Oftentimes the some folks don't seem to understand me when I try and talk about it is we should be looking at not how many people we have, but we should be looking at breaking it into the hours they spend doing what they do and whether or not they are being whether or not it's the most effective use of their time and then reassess whether or not we need more people.

 


[00:44:08.480] - Ron Sellon

But after that, I just want to touch base on something that you pointed out that you said earlier.  I was very early. In my career, I was accused by a former supervisor of, quote, thinking like a social worker. So I should be a social worker or you should go to law school or whatever. Right. And you don't I don't know. It was you're in the wrong place. You don't know. I was I was told this multiple that you don't belong here and quote.

 


[00:44:33.590] - Ron Sellon

Well, and in the funny part about it is, though, is that like I've had this conversation with other police chiefs is that three words have killed more careers and killed more companies than any other. And that is not our job. And there are oftentimes I've heard that a lot, they're making us do things that aren't our job. OK, well, I use the plumber analogy with that. If you go if you're a plumber and you go to change a sink and all of a sudden you start encountering the same problem over and over and over again that you never did before, while you're trying to change out the same, do you get to say, well, sorry, that's not my problem, it's not my job, so I'm not going to replace the sink?

 


[00:45:09.680] - Ron Sellon

Or do you as a plumber go? All right. Well, you know what? I'm going to I guess this is my job now. And I guess this is part of the evolution of my job. And I need to learn how to do that in order to be able to finish the job. And I think that our profession as a whole, I think has evolved to get back to what we talked about earlier, like what is it that you're trying to accomplish?

 


[00:45:27.890] - Ron Sellon

What are your metrics of success and what are you trying to do? Is it like everybody says that you got a this job to help people? OK, are you. Is that what you really want to do? Or do you just want to lock people up? Because, yes, we still make arrests. But then we also have multitiered follow ups that are mandated for certain types of calls. And those in those follow ups, they all have the same outcome that we want to occur, which is a non reoccurrence of the original call in and of itself.

 


[00:45:55.190] - Ron Sellon

And oftentimes, though, that draws people in a direction of into an area. If you want to really reduce the call and you want to prevent it from reoccurring, we oftentimes end up in navigating areas that we are completely clueless on. And that doesn't mean that we have to become experts in it. But for instance, the coresponder models that are being rolled out

 


[00:46:15.290] - Steve Morreale

Love it, love it, good idea. 

 


[00:46:18.180] - Ron Sellon

At its core. It's essentially this. Like I stood I was sitting there talking to one of my sergeants, things like, well, how am I supposed to find somebody to help me do this?

 


[00:46:25.520] - Ron Sellon

I go, Well, you've got this magical thing in your pocket with a Google machine and Google the Google subject matter expert. And I'll just use autism. Massachusetts enter. And like six organizations, Fluty Foundation came up. All these other organizations, I said they're subject matter experts reach out to them and say, I have a problem, I need help. Can you help me solve the problem? And then they'll send somebody else out. That's how you build a coresponder.

 


[00:46:48.920] - Ron Sellon

You can build a coresponder model that is a one off and or you can build a career responder model that is like the ones that we have for domestic disturbances and stuff with the Family Resource Center and such in Massachusetts that that that are continuum. And that meet was almost weekly basis. But at its core, it is understanding that the phrase not our job doesn't exist. I like that. I've just you know, it's funny. It's it really is interesting in in basically just identifying people that can help you solve your problem.

 


[00:47:23.570] - Steve Morreale

Well, OK, so partnerships become important. But what you're saying to and where I've got to wind down because we're going way over. But you have had you're a lot smarter than you look. I thought that as soon as I say. But, you know, I'm only teasing, but, you know, it seems to me that at its root, you know, local police are supposed to care for the community. And if we care for the community, you're right, we're going to inherit things that come to us because other sectors are not doing their job, are not properly funded.

 


[00:47:59.860] - Steve Morreale

And many people in times of crisis and trouble, their only way, they are only governmental organization that can be responsive in any way is the police on a 24/7 police and fire. But police in this case is police on a 24/7 basis.

 


[00:48:18.120] - Ron Sellon

Yes, and the way I see the way I the way I kind of analogize it is, is that is the way we need to have a first responder mentality to a lot of very complex problems. But then we also need to know, never let a problem die on your desk and always, always find somebody else to help you solve your problem. And, you know, that's the beauty of incorporating police responses, because that's  part of the conversation nationally right now, which drives me insane, is we need coresponder models, but we're going to take the call.

 


[00:48:51.150] - Ron Sellon

We're going to take the cop out of the equation altogether, which is ludicrous to me because how so? What are you going to do? What are you going to create a 24/7 model of social workers and they're not going to communicate at all with the cops over the problems that overlap with the police departments. Are you kidding me? There's no deconfliction. You're literally setting yourself up for failure. That's how not to talk about the 9/11 Commission.

 


[00:49:12.330] - Ron Sellon

But that's how intelligence failures caused us to allow 9/11 to occur in the first place, was because this company can't talk, this agency can't talk to this agency. We're going to keep our little and we're going to keep our fiefdoms. And inevitably, what ends up happening is, is that you're going to build these insulated little fiefdoms and organizations aren't going to share information. And that's exactly the point where people fall between the cracks because there is functional overlap and the other there's functional overlap and what we do versus what agencies do.

 


[00:49:40.500] - Ron Sellon

And at 3:00 a.m., you can guarantee that if you call that there is somebody there that can answer the phone, go to the house, talk to you and have a direct point of contact with an organization that we can put you in touch with. They can help you solve your problem, regardless of how trivial you may perceive it to be or how non police oriented you may think it is. We're the only one that's in the fire department. And I think it's ludicrous that when they're talking about the establishment of coresponder models nationally, people are saying, oh, we need to take the cops out of the equation altogether.

 


[00:50:13.650] - Ron Sellon

First of all, there's two benefits when you have police involved in a coresponder model. The first is 24/7 access and a more responsive service for the community, the secondary and collateral byproduct of it, which is I've seen firsthand in my agency how incredibly beneficial it is, is it creeps into the culture of your organization and educates the officers themselves. But when you have officers that are working with our officers now know they don't need to be subject matter experts in it, but they have an understanding, drove me completely insane over the years when somebody would just like to take people and put them in boxes.

 


[00:50:52.530] - Ron Sellon

Right. And we would get a call or a mental health issue. And you would hear it from people. Oh, that person's just crazy. What the heck does that mean? Like, are they just crazy? What are what are we dealing with here? Are we dealing with a PTSD issue? Are we dealing with paranoid schizophrenic? Are we dealing with quite frankly, is the person have special needs that we haven't even identified what's going on? And when I say our response models need to be more multitiered, disciplined, nuanced, it is the nuance to it means tailored to tailored to the type of call that they try they're responding to.

 


[00:51:22.680] - Ron Sellon

And it educates the cops, the agency, the individual officers then become more in tune with the intricacies of that person's needs. And as a result of that, culturally, it helps our agencies as well. So I think that oftentimes, ironically, when you hear things like we don't want to we want to take the cops out of the equation altogether, the ironic part about it is, is that that's the that's the unintended consequence of what they're talking about doing, is actually creating more.

 


[00:51:54.410] - Ron Sellon

Ignorance or insulating the police from understanding certain things more, and they're actually perpetuating more of the same as opposed to actually incorporating that that sensitivity, that knowledge that into the police department. Yes, I hear exactly what you're saying. And by doing something like that, you could create more stovepipes, which is the problem in the first place because the communication isn't there. And then what will happen? Unfortunately, if you're not standing there, then so many of the helping professions will say, we can't talk to you because of hip hop.

 


[00:52:25.970] - Steve Morreale

What? I mean, that's crazy. What do you mean? So listen, Ron, I've got to wind down, but I have a couple of questions. Towards the end, if you had a chance to speak with somebody dead or alive who you have watched from afar or read from afar, who would you like to pick their brain? Who what person in the world would you like to pick their brain?

 


[00:52:43.280] - Ron Sellon

Teddy Roosevelt, the other second person in two days then has said that why Teddy Roosevelt? It wasn't afraid to buck the system. Teddy Roosevelt was he was trustbusting, if you think about it. Right. Teddy Roosevelt as president of the United States, took on the wealthiest men in America and the largest companies and corporations. He was a Renaissance man. You know, if you go back to his Roughriders years, you go back to his time as police commissioner in New York.

 


[00:53:14.090] - Ron Sellon

You know, he the things he accomplished, it's just I've got about probably eight books on him at home. And my absolute favorite is the River of Doubt, which is actually it's his last it was his attempt to circumvent the Amazon River with his son, Kermit. He just he was what else can you say about a president of the United States who literally goes blind in one eye because he's boxing and practicing judo in the White House?

 


[00:53:39.440] - Ron Sellon

Like, well, could you imagine that today? People would go people would go out of their minds, the Secret Service would go out of their minds. They would never let him do it.

 


[00:53:46.820] - Steve Morreale

Yeah, I understand. So last question here and thank you. We're talking with Ron Sellon, who was the police chief now in Mansfield, Massachusetts. We're talking to him while he is down at a conference for the National Academy, FBI, National Academy. And in Orlando, what two or three things are on your to do list professionally?

 


[00:54:03.170] - Ron Sellon

Oh, that is a really good question at this point, I think. So I want to enhance I want to continue to enhance the regional services through that we deliver, because what I find is, is that during periods of both financial and when the economy goes a little bit south, one of the first things to go is generally our regional services, whether it's via special tactics, a response team with our negotiators and SWAT services and or our peer support unit or our bicycle unit, which has helped Boston a number of times when it comes to crowd management stuff.

 


[00:54:42.320] - Ron Sellon

And they really do an excellent job of it. I think it's to make sure that we enhance that level of service and that we continue to and that we continue to build off of it. And I guess the other thing would be that I want to explore the unknown. And I know that sounds like kind of a dodge, but what I'm getting at is, is that is that I guess as we're navigating the hashtag reimagine police. Right. And how that works, I think that probably my biggest goal and I'm sort of thinking this as I'm talking it out.

 


[00:55:09.600] - Ron Sellon

So I think my biggest goal is to ensure that best practices and best, most efficient operating models don't get left on the cutting room floor because of politics. And I think that that's probably my biggest goal right now, which is just the fact that I feel like we've had a lot of successes and I've had and I've had one conference I've had a lot of long conversations with legislators in Massachusetts over the last year over the post, Bill, and my critiques of it, which include a number of things that we could probably do a whole podcast on in of itself.

 


[00:55:43.520] - Ron Sellon

But more importantly, my critique of them and the fact of what it doesn't include and it doesn't include any incentives for measuring best practices and then incentivizing the adoption of best practices by police departments in Massachusetts. And it was so I guess that that when you when we talk about my major goals moving forward is to ensure the best models, the best operating models, which are, I like to say are problem oriented, intelligence led and evidence based, don't end up on the cutting room floor because of because of politics.

 


[00:56:15.140] - Ron Sellon

And to ensure that, quite frankly, during this period of time where change isn't just isn't just happening, but is being demanded of agencies, that that we show people that there is a better way to do certain things and that the negative politics that are going on right now don't swallow up that narrative and swallow up the narrative themselves and with it, quite frankly, people that we're here to serve.

 


[00:56:37.200] - Steve Morreale

Well, I want to thank you. We've been talking again with Ron Sellon, the chief of police in Mansfield, and we have been all over the map. In fact, this is what conversations are about. It's like sitting down with a bucket of beer at the boardroom and trying to figure out what you guys are doing. It's been exactly the same thing. So I appreciate you taking the time out of your day down in Orlando. You have the last word.

 


[00:56:56.410] - Steve Morreale

What's would you like to leave the listeners with in terms of the hope for policing in the future?

 


[00:57:02.180] - Ron Sellon

Thank you for having me. By the way. I don't know if I said that at the beginning. I would say that we are, as I sort of let this whole thing off with or earlier on said we're in the midst of a second due process revolution. And with that means that there's a lot of change and there is a lot of tumult going on. And it feels as though we're from a policing standpoint to the cops out there, it feels as though we are going through a storm.

 


[00:57:23.810] - Ron Sellon

And the thing is, is that we will we will navigate this and we will come out of this as a profession. We will come out of this stronger, better, as long as leaders embrace the fact that things are changing and that we need to get ahead of it as much as we possibly can. And that, I would say, urge people that it is it's a period of change. It's a period of great unrest and that we will navigate it and we will make it through it.

 


[00:57:49.190] - Ron Sellon

And the way that we navigate through it is together. My last word would be don't just look at within your agency for the soul, for all the solutions, because there are people that are out there that have the solutions that you need. You just haven't met them or you haven't heard about it yet. I'm going to leave this podcast and going downstairs in an effort to try and find a solution to a problem I may not even know I have yet.

 


[00:58:09.500] - Ron Sellon

And the only way to do that is by talking with other people, by embracing a growth mindset and by focusing on being a lifelong learner.

 


[00:58:17.720] - Steve Morreale

What a way to end, because one of the things I'm hearing you say is that police have to realize that whenever possible, they need to control their own destiny or somebody else will. And so we have to become better at what we do. Embrace, change what you just said, be a lifelong learner and seek information from outside. Not just policing, by the way. But thank you. Thanks very much. You've been listening to The CopDoc Podcast Steve Morreale here in Boston, Ron Sellon, the chief of police in Mansfield down in Orlando for a conference.

 


[00:58:43.610] - Steve Morreale

We appreciate you listening and look forward to hearing from you in the near future on future episodes. Thanks. Hi, 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 U.S., but from across the globe. It's surprising and humbling to find students, colleagues and practitioners listening. We have a growing number of listeners in Canada, Ireland, England, Northern Ireland, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Colombia.

 


[00:59:09.090] - Steve Morreale

We appreciate your time and energy and welcome feedback, please feel free to reach out to me by email at The CopDoc Podcast at Gmail dot com. Check out our Web site at The CopDoc Podcast dot com. Please take the time to share our podcast with your 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 or the kinds of situations you'll find yourself in, you risk your lives for people, many of whom you don't know.

 


[00:59:43.920] - Steve Morreale

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.

 


[00:59:55.710] - 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.