Dr. Ernie Cuthbertson is a Captain, responsible for training with the Greensboro, NC Police.
A U.S. Marine veteran, Ernie is from Pennsylvania and related to NC to begin his 20 plus years in law enforcement. Captain Cuthbertson is focused on leader development and succession planning for agencies.
[00:00:02.990] - Intro
Welcome to The CopDoc Podcast. This podcast explores police leadership issues and innovative ideas. The CopDoc shares thoughts and ideas as he talks with leaders in policing communities, academia and other government agencies. And now please join Dr. Steve Morreale and industry thought leaders as they share their insights and experience on The CopDoc Podcast.
[00:00:32.750] - Steve Morreale
Well, Hello again, everybody. This is Steve Morreale, and you're listening to The CopDoc Podcast. I'm here in Boston, and today I have the honor the privilege of talking to a colleague in Carolina. And this is Ernie Cuthbertson. He's a captain in charge of training and is not so recent is Dr. Ernie Cuthbertson. We had an opportunity to talk before, but I want to say good morning.
[00:00:52.730] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Morning. Good, sir.
[00:00:53.630] - Steve Morreale
And I wanted to give the audience and the listeners an opportunity to understand your history and policing and what turns it took. We started talking about your gang work. So you have the floor.
[00:01:04.610] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Okay, real quick. Early on, as a kid, forged a really strong relationship with the local police officer in the neighborhood. I grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania, just south of Philly, just north of Delaware. And Chester is a really interesting little town industrial town. But that relationship, it fostered growth, opportunity and literally to this day. And I still have a very strong relationship. So that's how I kind of ended up in law enforcement. Lifelong member of service. I've been in a uniform since I was six years old, from Weeblows to Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts to ROTC, to 21 years in the Marine Corps to 29 years in law enforcement.
[00:01:42.890] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Been at it for a while.
[00:01:43.910] - Steve Morreale
That's great. Well, thank you for your service, especially from a fellow vet. But you said you started in Pennsylvania. How the hell did you end up in North Carolina?
[00:01:52.190] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Well, family is originally from North Carolina.
[00:01:53.930] - Steve Morreale
[00:01:54.350] – Ernie Cuthbertson
And so in the late 70s, when the automotive industry started to take a dump, pretty much, the family relocated a little bit. So we came to North Carolina for a short period of time and then ultimately working for General Motors. My granddad ended up out in Southern California, Long Beach. So just that migration trying to stay gainfully employed. And there's a World War Two. That where the money was.
[00:02:18.410] - Steve Morreale
Yeah. And the opportunity I see. So when you were in the military, were you stationed in North Carolina?
[00:02:24.950] - Ernie Cuthbertson
I was stationed in Camp Pendleton, in the Marine Corps, Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. I see and served overseas in Okinawa, Japan and mainland.
[00:02:37.550] - Steve Morreale
So you come out of the service. You serve the country. You say I want to do some more.
[00:02:40.430] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Oh, yeah. It was hard finding a job after first Gulf War. So I piddled around the construction and other stuff, and one day just struck up a conversation with Ed. And he's, like, put an application. And 29 years later, hey, it worked out. So still plugging along and it's a very humbling experience law enforcement because you see people at their greatest highs and their lows at times. But it gives you an opportunity to be a bridge builder in both the community and personally to provide, provide a service or level of care in the community and afford relationships.
[00:03:15.410] - Steve Morreale
So talk about the city that you serve. How big is it? What's the population? How big is your agency?
[00:03:20.690] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Greensboro is the third-largest city in the state. It's right in the middle of the state. We have roughly, like, around 800 plus employees, civilian and sworn. And it's a pretty diverse community. We have one local high school that I think there's over, like, 30 different languages spoken in this one high school. But with that being said.
[00:03:40.310] - Steve Morreale
How many do you speak?
[00:03:41.510] - Ernie Cuthbertson
[00:03:43.190] - Steve Morreale
[00:03:43.610] - Steve Morreale
I'm just asking
[00:03:45.170] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Yeah, a lot of broken Spanish. I'm often corrected on that. It's a very dynamic community. We have large Asian population, large Spanish-speaking population from both south and Central America. And when I say Asian, I mean from Vietnam to Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Japanese and Korean. But it's a very vibrant, very busy community. And, yeah, that's a snapshot of Greensborough.
[00:04:09.590] - Steve Morreale
What's in Greensboro that drives opportunity. I mean, there must be universities. What's there?
[00:04:14.690] - Ernie Cuthbertson
There's five universities in the city with those five universities. When you look at the Southeast, United States industry has gone. We've gone from furniture.
[00:04:24.170] - Steve Morreale
Furniture and textiles
[00:04:26.690] - Ernie Cuthbertson
To service-driven economy.
[00:04:28.490] - Ernie Cuthbertson
So it's still, I guess, finding its way through. Most young people in our region are relocating to larger Metropolitan cities for better opportunities because those mainstream industries that used to be present, especially textiles, they don't even exist anymore. So like I said, I think all communities are going through that transition. You look at any place where you had. Ohio is the best example I can think of the automotive industry. And when it started to go global and move abroad, a lot of those other companies that have provided the resources, they kind of went away as well.
[00:05:03.710] - Ernie Cuthbertson
It's interesting where we are right now because it's a very good book, and I tell everybody about it. It's living on $2 a day. Catherine Eaton and Lucy Schaefer. But it paints a picture of the largest cities in the country, medium-sized cities and in places like the Mississippi Delta and Johnson City, Tennessee, where you have really a causal mix of people just trying to get by day to day.
[00:05:27.950] - Steve Morreale
Yeah. So you've been in policing for a good, long time military before that. And now you have risen. You were a captain. You were a patrol captain when I called you to arrange for this, you were just kind of hanging on. They were using you to be a patrol commander for a couple more shifts. But now you're in charge of training and you have an idea about succession planning and about leadership development. Talk about your view. You're an education-minded guy that I hope a lifelong learner clearly.
[00:05:53.270] - Steve Morreale
But do you see that in some of your colleagues, or do you see some who have kind of just checked out?
[00:05:58.730] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Well, I do. But first of all, the whole conversation centered in and around succession plan just excites me to begin with. My first experience with succession plan was actually in the military, and I had a commander, and his thing was, everyone in this unit knows what's on everyone else's desk. So if somebody is away or something happens on the battlefield, you can pick it up and the mission continues to go forward. So I took that literally and said, I want to learn more about this secession thing.
[00:06:24.530] - Ernie Cuthbertson
What is it about? Is it just a combination of strategic planning or play on words? How do you develop someone to be a leader and step up to take on secession? So from my undergraduate coursework to my master's degree on through my PhD, I literally just continued my ideas of secession planning throughout all of that, carried into club administration and even looking at it from a sociological mindset. So this is the thing. It's really interesting about law enforcement, because law enforcement, especially for administrators. Now they will get into the executive function either by force, force retirement or through the process of contracts, especially if you have a chief that has risen through the ranks.
[00:07:11.870] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Or if you have a new chief that comes in pretty much he or she sets the tone of where the agency will go. But when that position is vacated, often you have a little bit of internal chaos that takes place because there's nobody really to grab the helm and make mid course corrections to steer the ship. Now I'm going to put that on pause for a second, because if you actually go back and initiate a succession plan, it's already in place. You've already groomed people for succeeding others when they actually leave.
[00:07:41.810] - Ernie Cuthbertson
So I think all agencies large and small can actually do a phenomenal job because they're doing a lot of things already in place in house, but they just need to carry one step forward. There's a small Department not too far from us. They have a very detailed, well thought out secession plan, and this is what they did, which I think is kind of forward thinking. They actually went out to 2026 and looked at their projected retirement. That was including the chief, the deputy Chiefs, Kathryn's, Lieutenant Sergeant, all the way down the range.
[00:08:13.490] - Steve Morreale
I'm laughing because we don't look past yesterday or tomorrow. Go ahead.
[00:08:19.370] - Ernie Cuthbertson
So what they did, they actually started looking at training and experience and classes and grooming of people who had an interest in filling those billets once they were vacated. So already they started the process of secession, be it formal and informal in order to direct people to those positions through pathways and in developing officers. When you look at experiential learning, you look at critical thinking. You look at developmental pathways to help people solve problems. And the majority of the problems that we have right now in law enforcement will be solved by the young men and women that are pinned on the badges day in and day out.
[00:09:01.790] - Ernie Cuthbertson
And we have to invite them into the conversation. And I really don't see a lot of that taking place around the country.
[00:09:08.090] - Steve Morreale
So let's talk a little bit about that. I think what you're starting to say is sort of amazing. Look, we're in crisis at this point in time. Police have the disdain of so many people, but there are still plenty who support police, but we have to earn trust constantly and build relationships. It also strikes me, Ernie, that. And by the way, we're talking to Ernie Cuthbertson, a captain from the Greensboro, North Carolina Police Department. Dr. Ernie Cuthbertson. And he is in charge of training. So many people that come on, the Department in your Department specifically raise their right hand at the beginning, and they will retire at the same rank that they started.
[00:09:44.150] - Steve Morreale
So few want to step up and say, I'll be in charge of other people. But it also strikes me, especially with the experience you've had in the military that we supposedly in policing structured ourselves in the likeness of the military. But that was back in the 40s. I am troubled that we have not kept pace with how the military develops its people. Now we're still living like it was back in World War II, and I don't think we do a very good job in policing, of helping and grooming.
[00:10:12.890] - Steve Morreale
And that's all about training. So talk about that. Talk about what you bring to the table, your mindset, the conversations you're having. And the last thing you said, Ernie, is extremely important. And that is we hire people supposedly the best of the best when they come in, and then we tell them to sit down, shut up and do what they're told instead of picking their brains and engaging them to make the Department - their Department the best it can be. Right.
[00:10:35.870] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Well, one of the things I think is really crucial. Robert White, he's a retired chief of Denver Police Department. I met Chief White years ago, actually in Washington, DC. And the one thing when he became the chief of police in Greensboro, North Carolina, one of the things that was really interesting was the way he would direct and move. And what I mean by that is he actually would seek out patrol officers and ask them questions about, how would you solve this problem in Raleigh, North Carolina, Chief Harry Dolan.
[00:11:06.650] - Ernie Cuthbertson
He had a process of decision making that was pushed down to the lowest levels of the patrol function, the P ones, the P two, the P three, the corporals and sergeants to make those decisions because his thought process was if you run it up to flagpole, it usually sits at the top for a couple of days, then time the flag comes down and you get the answer to go back to the community to respond to the citizens concerns. It's probably over at that point. Why not place the confidence in those young people to make informed decisions based on practical teachings, using Sarah, using problem-oriented policing, using cop.
[00:11:42.230] - Ernie Cuthbertson
They have the basic foundation to make decisions. They're doing it every day, and they demonstrate it every day. So we need to honestly. And it's interesting to hear you say how we model ourselves after the paramilitary structure of the military. But yet we have not evolved as a profession in order to groom the newest talent. What you see as far as think about back in the 1920s, people like Kurt Lewin and organizational development theory and where that all went well. And then you look at the automotive industry, like in Japan, ties in right management by objectives.
[00:12:19.130] - Ernie Cuthbertson
But what do they do in that process? The people actually doing the work on the assembly line had conversation with supervisors to bring about solvability. It really doesn't matter if you look at secession plane across the board. You see it public, private and in the military specifically, but it can be re engineered to facilitate the change that law enforcement needs into the next decade, into the next 50 years.
[00:12:43.310] - Steve Morreale
Let me interrupt you because you're striking a chord with me. The real problem is that so many people who rise to become Chiefs, deputy chief's, command staff seem to have the feeling that they have to know all of the answers, that's the position they're in. And instead of seeking information from the people that are closer to the problem, and that is, in many cases, patrol officers or communications officers that are catching calls. And I think some of the fear is, Well, I'm in charge. I'm making the decision.
[00:13:10.610] - Steve Morreale
No one's taking that away from you. It's still your decision to make. But imagine if you make a decision that is informed by people who are doing this every day and engaging that that's it. And then sharing back. Thank you.
[00:13:22.370] - Steve Morreale
You helped us come up with a decision. So that strikes me as something we still have to do in our training, especially as you're developing new captains and lieutenants to say, don't make the decision unilaterally. Engage your people. And by the way, don't be afraid to gauge them inside the agency and outside the agency. Go ahead. I'm seeing your smile. Other people can't see it.
[00:13:42.590] - Ernie Cuthbertson
But you say that I think about one of the greatest life lessons I've ever learned. We had a very bad torrential sto rm coming upon land in Japan, and we had to literally break down a couple of tactical helicopters to get them in a hangar. Well, two of the CH 53s, were so vertically tall they could not fit in the hangar. We did everything taking off equipment taken off tail sections rotors doing all of this stuff. And we had this kid over in the corner just jumping up and down.
[00:14:12.230] - Ernie Cuthbertson
I can tell you, I can tell you. I can tell you how to fix it. Just listen to me. Everybody discounted this kid and told him to shut up. So this kid just started screaming at the top of his voice and said, if you lower the air pressure by £32 on all the wheels, it will drop the overall vertical height by 2ft and allow you to slide the helicopters right in the hangar. And from that day to this day, I've always remembered that story and everyone that I work with, I empower my people and I give them credit for the decisions that they make, and I elevate them and showcase them at every opportunity that I have.
[00:14:46.790] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Why? Because it's growing capacity. It adds fuel to the sucession plan and model. And you put people in the driver's seat. When I go to command staff meetings, I showcase what officers are talking about, good things that are going on in the community and it's coming all from them. So if we take that motivation that intestinal fortitude and we granted you can do succession planning either formally or informally. I kind of like the formal process and the reason being it really helps to develop because you can use career planning and development schools that they attend and also the evaluation instrument in order to forge that relationship in order to help that young person.
[00:15:25.430] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Because this is the thing. No Chief, no administrator in law enforcement does it by him or herself. They do it organizationally through culture and climate, by moving their people forward and moving the organization.
[00:15:36.650] - Steve Morreale
So I just wrote down that I'm listening and watching a thought leader, and in my view, a future chief. And whether that ever happens or not, it's of no import. But as you watch what's happened in the country, from Chauven to Brown to so many things, we say that there is systemic racism is there. I don't know. You live it. You're a man of color, but you're a man who has served this country. Tell me what you think. What's your own perspective? You're out there on the streets.
[00:16:04.010] - Ernie Cuthbertson
I think we have an opportunity to be change agents in law enforcement. And what I mean by that is there's two sides to a coin. But I think there's more positive interactions on a daily basis than there are negative as it relates to law enforcement.
[00:16:18.110] - Steve Morreale
[00:16:18.530] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Now, if the truth be known and it's interesting. We bring this up, I think right now where law enforcement sits, it's just like low hanging fruit. Right?
[00:16:26.630] - Ernie Cuthbertson
So it's really easy to just walk up to an Apple tree and pluck that Apple off. It's like right at the bottom. But it's very difficult to get to the top. And when you talk about the construction of the criminal justice system, you have law enforcement, you have courts and you have correction. All three parts of the system really haven't been retooled since Presidents Johnson's Commission on Law Enforcement back in the late 1960.
[00:16:51.210] - Steve Morreale
And so many of them Ernie, so many of those recommendations were never followed. Correct?
[00:16:55.790] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Exactly. And that's where I was going. They would never, never follow. And it's interesting when you look at across professions and you look at any type of Nielsen ratings or whatnot law enforcement is still at the top, still at the top, above legislative officials, above clergy. They're still at the top. So there's a lot of men and women daily doing the right things for the right reasons and pushing it forward and doing everything that he or she can in order to help. That's all they want to be.
[00:17:26.990] – Ernie Cuthbertson
It's just the help not trying to helping people to solve their problems. A lot of things that have happened to law enforcement in the last couple. I must say the last two or three decades are truly not law enforcement problems. And add to that, law enforcement is ill equipped in order to deal with those problems. And the best examples I can give is, well, the one example I can give is actually mental health. I think it's Pinellas County, Florida. The chief in that county literally took the mental health field by storm when he and now this is pre-Covid.
[00:17:59.690] - Ernie Cuthbertson
I mean, we're going back probably about three or four years. And PERF has done an excellent article on this. But she said I'm going to take X amount of dollars from my budget, and we're going to shift that money over here to work with our mental health practitioners. In addition to that, we also have identified a very core group of people who need mental health services not to be incarcerated.
[00:18:21.710] - Ernie Cuthbertson
[00:18:21.950] - Ernie Cuthbertson
And it's amazing in this community that I'm talking about Pinellas County, Florida. They've literally turned the tide. None of those people have reoffended and returned back to the criminal justice system. But it was forward thinking of a Sheriff to do something totally out of the box. And the idea came from where it came from, the men and women doing that function day in, day out because they wanted to see a different outcome.
[00:18:44.270] - Steve Morreale
That's amazing. And I'm actually very lucky and gratified to be working with the Garda, the Irish National Police. And they're starting to do a co-response system, which is modeled after so many here in the United States, where somebody is showing up at the scene with an officer. The officer sort of fades into the background, lets the clinician deal with it, but is ready if there's any problem. And so many of those things in some cases called the jail diversion program. And I never really understood that.
[00:19:10.490] – Steve Morreale
Like, what do you mean, the jail diversion program? We're trying to avoid putting people who have mental health conditions out of the system and into the mental health realm rather than the criminal justice realm that I see you're smiling. And it's amazing. And trust me, your people, my former colleagues, they don't want to deal with that stuff. Hand it off.
[00:19:28.790] - Ernie Cuthbertson
True when you think about just the interaction of the clinician and an officer working together, hand in hand. That's a win win all day long. One of the things I realized early on in my law enforcement career that I'm not a big guy. I don't have a whole lot of muscles, but I was just always amazed at what I identified as Officer A and officer number one. Now, Officer A was a guy that he or she that had gone through the Academy, got an undergraduate degree, had major coursework in psychology, sociology, political science, and criminal justice.
[00:20:02.990] - Ernie Cuthbertson
So they were astute and attuned to dealing with whatever the problem was with the number one guy out of the military didn't have a lot of formal education beyond high school. I just thought that physically manhandled my way through a problem and situation, and you learn early on through the school of hard knots that doesn't work. So marrying that relationship is just a wonderful thing. I just wish we could broaden that horizon a little bit, especially on the academic side, because I think colleges and universities, if either side bothered to extend the olive branch, I think you could come up with some policy revisions to inform like we've never had before, but that's where we are right now.
[00:20:43.010] - Steve Morreale
Well, you're looking for more action research, but it has to be the right person doing it for the right reason, not to beat up the police, but to actually improve services. And I think we could do a much better job. In many cases. I think there's been a lot of mission creep. We do a whole bunch of things, right? We say yes to so many things that probably are not in our domain, but we're the 24/7 group right here. You are the captain of patrol just before this job, and I'm thinking about all right.
[00:21:06.170] - Steve Morreale
So we're in the middle of all of this stuff. Somebody shoots a black man, somebody kneels on a black man for way too long, he dies. And yet every single day, you have to figure out as a captain of patrol, how to get your people their heads in the game, to still provide services without that noise or to try to work through that noise. It's a very difficult time. So as you were talking to your lieutenants and your sergeants and your troops, what were the things you were saying?
[00:21:34.370] - Steve Morreale
How did we learn from the mistakes of so many others, so that the Greensboro Police Department was still providing service to its citizens?
[00:21:42.230] - Speaker 2
Well, first and foremost, I think it's important to have open and frank conversations and dialogue with the office doing the work day in day out. COVID itself presented such a one never had to deal with but every day these men and women are coming to work, dawning in uniforms, putting on mass and going out and doing the best they can as far as service delivery. I think that's one part of it. I think the other part of it is to if the Academy and law enforcement well, I'm going to say if law enforcement did a better job of showcasing those wins, mind you, because critical incidents are very far and few between when you look at it statistically as far as those incidents that occur, but in the same breath when they do occur, I think it's crucially important to have conversations that's one meaningful, that's proper and prudent, and also that looks at the totality of the situation and what is actually going on at the time.
[00:22:39.170] - Ernie Cuthbertson
There's a lot of information out there right now, but oftentimes the only thing we see as consumers of information is a very small snippet of a ten or 15 minutes incident. And we have to take into account why this is being shown. Programming is called narrow casting. Trying to get your attention. I want you to focus in on them. I want you to focus on what's going on right here. But yet if you look at it in its entirety, maybe it's not as egregious as it's made out to be.
[00:23:08.630] - Ernie Cuthbertson
So I think that's important. I think the other thing, too, that we're going to have to look at law enforcement nationwide. There are a lot of law enforcement agencies right now that are reprioritizing, how they dispense service delivery, and a lot of that has to do with recruitment and retention. There's not a single law enforcement agency in this country right now. This is not being impacted by recruitment and retention. And just look at the rates of retirement. NYPD attempted to put the brake on retirement for their office because it was like a mass exodus.
[00:23:42.110] - Ernie Cuthbertson
But in the same breath, if you're looking at law enforcement in its current state, it has grown. It's not an infant anymore, and it's time to refashion, retool, and get back in the game. When you talk about organization development and what it all espouses, it's really interesting how we choose to look at and identify problems. And from an organization standpoint, there is no one agency that is just like another sister agency in law enforcement. What you have is a culmination oftentimes, and I use it often, but it's this whole one size fits all approach.
[00:24:19.310] - Ernie Cuthbertson
What may work for Agency A may not necessarily work for agency B, but any aspect of succession planning from the ground floor all the way up to the executive level, there needs to be an interconnectedness of internal law enforcement, and that's at the individual officer level, the supervisor, mid-level executive level. But you also have to bring the community into fold as well to be part of that. And those discussions are not going to be easy, but they're needed because with that, you can have discussion to send implications and also recommendations that are meaningful, and it means something not just to the officers but also to the citizens.
[00:24:59.510] - Ernie Cuthbertson
As far as how an officer responds to a call for service, I think I love doing ridealongs all around the country. Covet kind of impacted it a lot, but it's amazing the tools that officers have in his or her tool belt when they're faced with a problem on that call and how they respond to a citizen. And I see a laundry list of survey. How can I help you? Well, have you considered this given options and availing themselves? And like I said, with what we talked about just a few minutes ago, with the clinicians being present now with officers, the officer initially on the approach, they step back.
[00:25:36.530] - Ernie Cuthbertson
The clinician steps in that is going to be a model. Some researcher around this country is going to start looking at and using in order to infuse better relationships between citizens and law enforcement officers going forward.
[00:25:49.790] - Steve Morreale
So are you a member of NOBLE?
[00:25:51.530] - Ernie Cuthbertson
No, Sir, I'm not.
[00:25:52.490] - Steve Morreale
You need to be a member of NOBLE. And the reason I say I had an interview with the President of NOBLE, Linda Williams a couple of weeks ago. She earned her doctorate and she's now in Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State. So when we talk about and by the way, for those who don't know, it's the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, what I want to know, Ernie is. And again, we're talking to Ernie Cuthbertson, a captain in charge of training down at the Greensboro, North Carolina Police Department.
[00:26:16.790] - Steve Morreale
And he is also Dr. Ernie Cuthbertson and has taught off and on for an awfully long time. You are now in charge of training. One of the first things that seems to happen is that when there is going to be cut, training gets cut. How are you rethinking with your chief and the command staff, how you are training and improving and increasing the readiness of people to deliver services, to climb the ladder, to have development on any number of specialties, including leadership development. What are you thinking?
[00:26:46.790] - Steve Morreale
What are you trying to do?
[00:26:47.630] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Well, when I think about it, actually, I have a saying and a lot of my colleagues and friends pick on me when I say this. I enjoy reading. If you're ever down this way, you come to my office. Books are everywhere. I got one or two, three book cabinets and my current reading list is about 40 books, and I've read all of them since, like January 1. And we like midway in a year. So I love books written between 1850 and 1950.
[00:27:13.190] - Steve Morreale
[00:27:13.370] - Ernie Cuthbertson
If you want to learn something new, read something old. But with that being said, it brought me back to, like Kurt Lewins three step process, which is a driving force for me regarding organizational development. And with that, it's a process of unfreezing moving and refreezing. So the unfreezing is organizational climate. I'm looking at where I'm at right now. Today, not yesterday, not tomorrow where I'm at right now.
[00:27:35.090] - Steve Morreale
[00:27:35.510] - Ernie Cuthbertson
I want to be able to motivate change now. That's going to require action.
[00:27:39.590] – Steve Morreale
Well, don't you have to create a sense of urgency to other people have to buy in to say, we got to do. We can't stay stagnant. Go ahead. Right.
[00:27:46.790] - Ernie Cuthbertson
And that urgency is created by - - - actually my dissertation. I actually talked about it in great detail, but it's a step to succession, which is like a step ladder. I call it open path of the executive leadership. So the individual officer self identifies as a potential leader. He or she is mentored, and that mentor is either assigned or recommended. You have cross training and then you step up one and then you have first line supervision, which is the corporate Sergeant. They demonstrate continuous advancement and middle level positions with cross training and mentorship occurs.
[00:28:21.110] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Then you have that organizational culture climate now with that you have to take. And that has to come from the executive leader that says, hey, as an organization. And I mentioned this earlier when we started talking, we need to make some mid-course corrections. So if we see nationally, this is a problem going on. Well, how long will it be before it in facts, agencies A through Z. We can start right now with affecting that change. So we're going to move the movement or those mid course corrections, implementation of change and show the officers the new way of doing business and the new way of doing business now, as relates to mental health is having those clinicians in the car embedded with the officers day in, day out, helping citizens with that mental health issue or crisis that's going on.
[00:29:05.270] - Ernie Cuthbertson
And then you have organizational capacity. That's the refreezing based on Kurt Lewins original organizational model. We're going to refreeze where we're at now because we just want to hold it and that holding changes made permanent as officers accept a new way as the normal way. Now, if you add that unfreezing moving refreezing and you add that to secession planning, what you end up with is sustainable leadership. And that's what law enforcement needs right now in order to turn the Todd and make those mid course corrections that I alluded to earlier.
[00:29:37.250] - Steve Morreale
So as you're getting ready to come up with a training regimen Besides secession planning, where are you getting these ideas? Who are you seeking that information from? What do we need?
[00:29:46.310] - Ernie Cuthbertson
The ideas primarily are coming from, and I will give credit where credit is due every morning. The highlight of my day is actually reading what I call the perf newspapers because there's so much valuable information that's actually coming out of PERF right now, and IACP and I'm literally going to have to dig into Noble, because if my memory serves me correct, there's a certain rank requirement for Noble. I think it's like Lieutenant or Captain Orbug. You're in there like I said, and I think that could probably I would love to see that change at some point, because there are some fine individuals around this country doing righteous work that is actually below that threshold probably add value to it.
[00:30:26.630] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Then I looked at her recent research. They put this in what they call the Critical Response Tool box for first line.
[00:30:34.070] - Steve Morreale
Yeah, I saw it.
[00:30:34.970] - Ernie Cuthbertson
And I tell you, that thing is jam packed with great information.
[00:30:39.170] - Ernie Cuthbertson
It is. And if you look at, like, Tucson, Arizona, they have a probationary period for Sergeant training, 40 hours block of instruction. Sergeants have to go through daily observation reports. And that report goes all the way up to, well, it's actually fashioned by other sergeants that's monitoring them. And it goes to the Lieutenant all the way up to the cafe.
[00:31:02.270] - Steve Morreale
So they've created almost like a field training Sergeant program. Right.
[00:31:05.570] - Ernie Cuthbertson
And this is the thing. This is the beauty of what we're talking about today. In most agencies, you have the field training program or the PTO program at the lowest level, then at the highest level, you have deputy Chiefs and above Smith, the National Academy SPI. But, Steve, there's nothing in between. There's nothing in between to develop people. So all of this stuff could be fashion. And it needs to be fashioned in such a way that it works for the agency. It needs to be used as a template.
[00:31:34.910] - Ernie Cuthbertson
And I tell you from that, you will grow organizational climate, culture and capacity to end up with what you want that actually serve the citizens.
[00:31:44.030] - Steve Morreale
Well, I think the military does a very good job of investing in their people and getting them ready for not only the position they're in, but for the next position we don't do that. Sounds like you want to do that. And I think that's a great opportunity to invest in the people that we have chosen as the best. So I've got to wind down because you're on a time constraint. But I'd be curious to know you said that you're reading books. Well, you're doing off a lot of reading from a different from any number of places, including historical stuff.
[00:32:13.190] - Steve Morreale
Are there any contemporary books that you're looking at that help plant seeds? Because it seems to me that's exactly what you're trying to do is find those seeds and figure out what seeds you want to plant in your organization and see what grows and getting feedback from others. Where do you seek your information?
[00:32:28.850] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Well, I seek my information from everything from peer reviewed academic journals to American society, criminal justice, to ACGS where you and I first met years ago. One of the things that's really interesting to me, too, is taking that information and looking at the counter to that information and looking at both sides of the puzzle because I like looking at things and using what I call the golden ratio method. Everything in this life cell development flowers down to the cells in our body. They all start out and grow the same way.
[00:33:04.970] - Ernie Cuthbertson
And if you take that information and you're open minded, it leads you to some of the top books that are out there right now, like The End of Policing by Alex Mattel. I brag about this book every time I talk to somebody. But Katherine Eaton and Luke Schaefer's book Living on $2 a Day that should be required reading for every citizen in this country. Because what I don't think most people realize is a lot of communities across the country are struggling, and the people in those communities are struggling.
[00:33:36.110] - Ernie Cuthbertson
And with that being said, there's a little outtake in one of the chapters in a book, a gentleman, he worked for the automotive industry for a number of years. Family was fortunate enough to open a series of restaurants in 2008, when the economy started to decline. This gentleman, his children all ended up living in the same home, 21 individuals in one house with scarce resources. But they were still trying to maintain the family structure and do the right thing day in, day out. In the book, it also talks about husband and wife living in Johnson City, Tennessee.
[00:34:08.150] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Their income was based on their ability to stay healthy and to give plasma almost weekly, which is the only income that they have. And I'm saying that to say, for law enforcement officers to understand those stories. In addition to research, in addition to how looking at problem analysis and information coming from Perth, it helps us be more informed about the community in which we serve. And this is a phenomenal job. You meet phenomenal people. No, two days are the same, and looking back, it doesn't seem like it's been 29 years.
[00:34:42.230] - Ernie Cuthbertson
In my rearview mirror, I feel like I just started yesterday, still excited to come to work every day. Usually my day started at 430 a. M. And I'll run all night long, and it's truly a well.
[00:34:53.090] - Steve Morreale
It’s been a pleasure to chat with you because I think what you're showing is the humanity of police and how important that is to realize that not everybody that you encounter are bad. They've just done some bad luck and that one of the things we can do is to reach down and help those people that need to contact with us. Last question is this, if you had the choice to talk to anybody famous that were live, that you had some respect, and maybe some of the people that are in the readings that you have taken part of, who would you want to pick their brain?
[00:35:22.610] - Ernie Cuthbertson
Well, actually, there will be two. I would love to have a conversation with C right. Mills and August Bomber, and it's interesting, though, because we're talking about literally two sides of the same coin. I found a book by C. Wright Mills on my desk, an old bookstore in Baltimore. The lady told me she had the book on the shelf. I said, Ma'am, it takes me 7 hours to drive there, but please don't get rid of that book.
[00:35:47.450] - Ernie Cuthbertson
I'm on my way to get it.
[00:35:48.470] - Steve Morreale
You drove up for it?
[00:35:49.670] - Ernie Cuthbertson
I have to get the book. We're looking for answers every day in law enforcement, and they're literally right there before us. August bomber everything from traffic enforcement to bikes on cops to community policing before it was defined as community policing. You and I would not have the education and the credentials that we possess right now if it was not for his pioneering foresight of developing police into a profession. And I had a long, drawn out conversation once with Robert White in his office in Denver while doing my research.
[00:36:28.770] - Ernie Cuthbertson
And when I told him, actually, I just poked the bear. But I said, I don't think law enforcement is a profession. It ended up in a two hour conversation with him doing all the talking. I was listening and writing notes. So it is a profession that's developing by leaps and bounds and has developed and look at what Volmer gave birth to. IACP ASC. Yeah, it's just amazing. And when you look at the text and you see it pinned as the father of American policing, it's not enough.
[00:36:58.890] - Ernie Cuthbertson
This should be required reading for everybody that declares that they are a police executive in this day.
[00:37:04.290] - Steve Morreale
Yeah, I am trying to get Will on the podcast because he wrote it. But I do think if you're a student of policing, you're absolutely right. We have to understand where we were, how we got to where we are, and most importantly, how we're going to get through the next Millennium, which I think is important. So thank you. I've had the pleasure of talking with Ernie Cuthbertson, who has plenty to say, and I can't overstate how exciting it is and how exciting you are that you've got such hope and such promise and such vision.
[00:37:31.830] - Steve Morreale
And yet here you are in Greensboro, trying to do the best you can for your officers, your fellow officers, they're not yours, but your fellow officers, which is so important. So thank you. You, before we sign off, have the last word. What suggestion can you give to police officers who are listening to students who would like to be police officers? To give that view of hope?
[00:37:52.110] – Ernie Cuthbertson
Please be open and be part of the conversation, because that conversation is so laced in value for everyone. So don't sit silent on any issues or problems that are seen or observed in law enforcement. Start the conversation.
[00:38:08.010] - Steve Morreale
And by the way, if you're hearing any pounding it's, Ernie making his point by pounding on the desk, which I think is terrific. So thank you. Thanks very much, Ernie. I appreciate it. Ladies and gentlemen, this is another episode finished of The CopDoc Podcast. I'm Steve Morreale in Boston. Ernie Cuthbertson, in Greensboro, North Carolina, until the next episode. Thank you very much for listening. 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.
[00:38:35.850] - Steve Morreale Outro
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. We appreciate your time and energy and welcome feedback. Please feel free to reach out to me by email at [email protected]
[00:38:55.290] - Steve Morreale
Check out our website at copdoc.podcast.com. Please take the time to share a 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, and for that we owe you a debt of gratitude.
[00:39:24.150] - Steve Morreale
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.
[00:39:34.470] - Outro
Thanks for listening to the Cop Doc 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.