Police officer retention is perennially a hot topic in both the practical and scholarly discussion of policing. Departmental leaders have plenty of reasons to want to retain good officers. It saves on recruiting and academy training costs. Experienced officers have good relationships with the community they serve as well as their fellow officers. They tend to pass their experience along with other positive traits to their more junior colleagues. In the ideal case, they model the professional standards policing leaders and the communities they serve want.

leadership growthOur previous article took a broad view of the issue, looking at why officers leave their departments or the profession entirely. This article will look more closely at how a department’s leadership affects officers’ job satisfaction. As one might expect, this is a substantial predictor of an officer’s likelihood to stay on the job. We’ll also explore how departmental leaders view leadership in a more modern light and, using these new leadership ideas, train and advance the leaders of the 21st century.

Job Satisfaction Factors

Common sense suggests that workers who think highly of their workplace leaders will often have a generally positive outlook on their job and at least a modicum of job satisfaction. Recent research from 2020 suggests that, among police officers, the perception of the internal work environment of a department is significantly correlated with high job satisfaction. Factors like strong supervisor support were linked to job satisfaction to a similar degree as citizen treatment of police.  The same study suggests that a positive internal work environment with good leaders can help mitigate some of the external stressors of the job, like community relations, that lead to low morale and poor job satisfaction.

While many of the factors influencing job satisfaction among officers are outside of the direct control of police executives — such as the inherent dangers of the job, budgets, and community perceptions influenced by national news stories — upper management does have a substantial role to play in the selection, training, and continual improvement of direct supervisors.

What Officers Want in a Leader

Another often-cited study of research on police workplace concerns offers critical insights into how officers feel about the leaders of their departments. Officers were asked to rank ten responses to various questions concerning leadership development and performance and factors perceived to constrain the efficacy of leaders. Here are a few of the most illustrative examples:

  • Achieving key tasks, goals, and missions was important, with roughly a quarter of the participants ranking it as their #1 response and 72% ranking it in the top five responses.
  • Inadequate leadership development systems were cited by 47% of officers as being a top three constraint to the effective leadership in their department.
  • 69% of officers rank a leader’s interest in and ability to manage the “growth or development of [officers]” as one of their top five concerns.

It may come as unsurprising to most familiar with the profession that it is “dedication and effectiveness in fulfilling the mission” that registers as the topline-reported concern of officers in the field. What is especially interesting in this set of survey data, however, is that officers place a high degree of importance on the so-called “soft skills” of their leaders – the ability to support officers with feedback, recommend leadership and professional development opportunities, and generally showing care for the needs of officers. This speaks to a desire among officers for a more modern approach to leadership techniques and the necessity to take a more holistic and research-driven to leadership development.

21st Century Leadership Development

The Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, released in May of 2015, continues to help set the plan moving forward for police training in the 21st century. The report calls for agencies to “provide leadership training to all personnel throughout their careers,” among many other recommendations and action items. A key example cited in the report is the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Leadership in Police Organizations training course. The coursework uses research-driven behavioral science and leadership theories in a framework designed to “inspire a lifelong commitment to the study and practice of effective leadership.” It also addresses a critical action item calling for a “national curricula and instructional methodology” movement.

These efforts stand in contrast to some of the more traditional approaches to police leadership training that emphasize seniority and a more military-style order and discipline when selecting future leaders. Instead, this more modern way of thinking reflects practices seen commonly in the private sector and helps satisfy officers’ needs for professional development and career advancement opportunities. It is hoped that training every officer in leadership skills will promote a culture that “values ongoing education and the integration of current research into the development of training, policies, and practices.”

“It’s complicated. It’s complex, but it’s fixable. It’s going to really take an effort to really get serious about leadership development in police agencies…” Benchmark IACP Leadership Series Conversation with Chuck Ramsey.

Reimagining leadership development and training by moving in a direction guided by data and research first and foremost addresses the needs of the communities that departments serve. Importantly, it also addresses what the study suggests the needs of officers are – to be supported, shown compassion, and offered real opportunities for growth and advancement in the profession. By responding to the needs of officers and by incorporating science and the latest research in their approach, police chiefs and department executives can foster an environment where officers feel valued, have a greater sense of job satisfaction, and are less likely to leave their job.

Departmental leaders use tools like First Sign® Early Intervention (EIS) to help spot off-track officers and identify additional training opportunities to get them back to a positive career path. Benchmark Management System® (BMS) similarly harnesses the power of a department’s data to track an officer’s progression, training status, and performance, ensuring they are both in compliance with the latest training requirements but also being offered the right performance-based opportunities for career development and enrichment.


The following is part 2 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and John Rappaport, Professor of Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar, University of Chicago. In this entry, Mr. Rappaport shares his thoughts on where policing fits in dealing with today’s broad societal issues and needs. He also weighs in on the growing importance of data collection and in-depth research to drive and direct applied science for developing more effective reform and police support measures.

RH: John, as we continue our discussion on police reform, I’d like to talk about the fundamentally broader societal pictures that relate to both police and race which have all come together, in many ways, with the police in the middle.

From my experience, a critical part of the equity conversation has to be K-12 spending for schools. It has to be housing. And the discrimination therein. There’s a very long list of things, yet from my vantage point, we are months and months into this dialogue . . . and it has not grown any broader than police. it’s still very narrow. First, do you agree?  And secondly, what do you make of that? What do you make of something, where historically there are people who say, “Hey, yes, we need to reform police”? There’s a real issue there. I hope no one’s denying that reform needs to occur, but why is it not broadened?

JR: I think that a lot of people who are active in policing issues right now would say that’s the backdrop for all of this. They would say that’s exactly what defunding is about. It’s about freeing up funds to be spent on K-12 education or low-income housing or other things. And sometimes you hear variations of the phrase — like divest-invest, right? It’s divest money from the police and invest it elsewhere, or defund and reallocate, or things like this. I agree that the messaging tends to focus exclusively on the policing part. I’m just speculating here, but it could be because there’s more consensus about where the money should come from . . . than what it should go to.

So, it may be that if you walked around and say, “Well, what should we do with this money that we’re going to gain from defunding the police?” You’d probably get a wide variety of opinions. People haven’t coalesced around whether it should be spent on K-12 or housing or what it is. But I do believe that’s on people’s minds. And I do think that’s sort of implicit – though I can understand from the perspective of the police – why it might feel like why are you only talking about us — as though we’re all the good and all the bad that society could be? There’s a lot more going on here. I think that’s right. And I believe it’s probably something that the movement should look to improve about its messaging.

RH: I asked it because I often feel like I hear disconnected conversations. So what are the conversations that happen in close police circles, and what are conversations when the police aren’t there, right? One of the common things that I hear among police – and I think it’s less defensive than it’s likely going to sound from talking to police leaders and others – is that folks are let out of mental institutions with no backup, and ultimately, fall on the police. Schools are failing in many communities, and fundamentally, the police are called in to assist.

These are super problematic, deep issues. And the police very often say, “Well, we’re doing what we can, but we need help from others.” Oddly, I think there’s agreement in many places, but there are different conversations. Of course, it gets harder when they say, “I want to take it out of your budget.”

Moving on with the idea here, I’d like you to give some grades. What do you think the police are doing really well – or have done well, let’s say, over the last 20 years – and where would you say they’re falling down? What does that look like to you, John?

JR: Wow, no one’s ever asked me this question before. First, I think that it’s just essential to acknowledge the variation; there are all sorts of different law enforcement agencies out there. Some are making really serious efforts to improve, and some are not for whatever reasons — lack of will, lack of resources, lack of personnel, whatever it is. Relating back to something you said earlier, I do think the police have become more professional over time. And I think that has had a lot of advantages . . . it’s gotten rid of some of the police corruption that we saw in earlier decades.

But I think some would say that it has had the downside of being accompanied by a sort of almost military-type mindset, chain of command. And there’s a lot to be said for chain of command. The fear is that it makes people feel too much like they’re in the military – and when we civilians see police – it’s almost like seeing a soldier. I don’t know that that’s the way we want to go about things. I think it does feel like the police don’t have the trust of a lot of poorer, marginalized communities – especially communities of color – and I think that’s a problem.

I think that’s a problem for relations. It’s a problem for sentiment. It’s also, frankly, a problem for fighting crime. The clearance rates in some big cities of homicides are awful — and they’re more awful when victims are black or Hispanic. And, of course, there’s multiple causes here. Some of it may be attributed to not taking black lives seriously enough, but another reason might be that you’re not getting a lot of cooperation from people in the community because there’s not a relationship of trust there. And so, I think that it really harms both sides.

I have appreciated the willingness of at least some police departments to collect better data, think more carefully about data, try to learn from data and recognize patterns. Sometimes this is about fighting crime better – understanding predictive policing and things like that – but at other times it’s really about fighting police misconduct better or identifying patterns of bad behavior.

RH: We at Benchmark are not going to disagree with that, John.

JR: Yes, exactly. And I think there’s a lot more to be done in this direction, but better data will allow everyone to understand this institution better. This includes the police, the public, the academics who study it, and the people who work in the space — I think that it’s going to help everyone. And, I believe that the police have been going in the right direction . . . but it needs to go faster, and it needs to become more widespread.

RH: For sure. As someone who’s been in the profession and out of the profession supporting the profession, I feel like there’s been a lot of well-meaning police reform — but there’s so much ahead of us, right? There’s so much to do.

You know John, from a historical context one of the things that – again from conversations that I get to have with police chiefs and others – I don’t often share the fact that, in this moment, there is an airing of historical racial wrongs that come with this, which means it’s not just about fixing the moment.

It’s also about an acknowledgment — where you have generational stories; there’s a story of someone’s great-grandfather and grandfather and father who were mistreated by the police. And it was deeply racial . . . and it was wrong. Now, there’s never been a moment to grieve or a time of sharing the grief. All of a sudden, there’s this profound societal opportunity that’s opened to us — where all of these grievances that have lived there forever – and didn’t have a broader audience – now have an audience. And people are finally paying attention.

To me, that’s at least a piece of it — this generational rage that never got to be spoken outside of the communities that were most impacted. And that brings a huge challenge to police and police leaders, because not only do they have to show good faith efforts, but they need to show that they are systemically changing their institutions. Because even if you win the trust for the moment, the institution is not trusted — so it doesn’t allow for a lot of missteps.

Given that, what does it look like historically from your perspective? You mentioned that you took a look following the incidents in the summer of 2014,

and noted the search increases in Google Trends. Headlines and stories all skyrocketed as it related to police misconduct — and since then, it’s not increased. That is, the actual activity is flat. What does it look like historically to today? Overall, if you were to look at the ’70s, the ’80s, the ’90s, even further back, is there any good data to tell us that story?

JR: There’s not. We have really very little idea of how many people were, say, killed by the police annually before maybe 2013. There were datasets: the FBI had a dataset and the CDC had a dataset — but basically, everyone who’s ever looked at them has concluded that they’re grossly incomplete. The first time we ever had anything close to comprehensive data was actually in 2013. And that was put together by activists.

Then there’ve been some newspapers, the Washington Post has a database as well. But it’s actually very hard to say what the trend has been over a longer period of time — to the extent that I’m uncomfortable even speculating.

RH: It’s really interesting because you would think something as societally important as the number of people who are shot by the police would be recorded. From my historical perspective, and from what I know, it’s not been a huge number . . . but not being able to provide a trend line in 2020, over the last 20 years, is kind of remarkable.

John, I want to finish up on the same issue of data. We’re very grateful that you chair the National Police Early Intervention and Outcome Research Consortium that’s partnered with Benchmark.

You guys are an independent research consortium who operate independently, but we’re in a lucky position being able to share anonymized data with you, in order to help you ask interesting research questions and make all of us smarter. Can you talk a little bit about the consortium and what you hope to accomplish with it — along with the kinds of questions that you ultimately think the data will be able to tell us?

JR: Yes. Well, I’m grateful to be in this position. I’m excited to get my hands into the data and start working. We have a great group of people working with this consortium — criminologists, sociologists, economists, law professors. I think the overarching question that everyone wants to answer is, how do we reduce this problem? How do we make it so that people don’t need to be out on the streets? How do we have it work so that fewer people are hurt or killed by the police? I think it’ll make the police happier — and I think it’ll make the public happier. How do we do this?

I think the way I conceive the research path is it consists of two directions; what we would call basic science and applied science. Sometimes we’re still going to be studying what seem like very basic questions — what are the career trajectories of successful officers, and the path of officers who end up getting fired?  Likewise, learn more about the circumstances under which officers use force, and possibly, whether there are particular patterns of escalation that we can see in large-scale data that might help us point the way towards solutions.

Furthermore, how do officers behave under different kinds of circumstances — whether it’s the number of hours they’re working in a week, or the weather, or all sorts of other considerations like that? Those are basic science questions. They’re not going to be something that you can immediately cash out as a tool to improve police behavior. But nevertheless, advancing our understanding of police behavior is always going to take us in that direction.

And then I think there are the applied questions — and I think it’s a chance to try to learn more about interventions. Obviously, one of the things Benchmark does with its software is predict – with a greater accuracy than prior tools – what officers are at the highest risk of having an adverse incident. What we don’t know enough about yet is what to do then? I think there’s a sense of actions like recommend retraining, or counseling of some sort. But I think those are somewhat empty concepts. We actually know very little about what kinds of trainings work and don’t work — and what kinds of interventions, that might be very different from retraining somebody, that might actually work more effectively to help prevent the problem.

Maybe an early intervention system and red flag is the sign that you need a day off — you’re fatigued, you’re stressed, you’re worn out, or maybe you need a new setting, right? Maybe it’s not always about retraining. And then can we tell the difference between officers who maybe do need some counseling or training, and the ones who just need a change of scenery or a break? These are the questions that, I think, this unique source of data will hopefully allow us to get traction on.

RH: For sure. The answer to that critical intervention question; how do you support officers to be better at the craft of policing? What’s interesting, having been in the education world and coming back to policing, is that in education for K-12 specifically, there’s just a huge amount of research around what professional development is effective — in terms of the quantity, the type, the application . . . even how does professional development impact student achievement. Research has really helped provide a guide of how teachers can just become better teachers. In policing, as important a profession as it is and critically important to society, there’s nothing.

You can’t find any evidence-based research to say, “Wow, these types of interventions help the police to be better police, right? It makes them better at their job.” We’ve given the police very difficult challenges, but yet haven’t pulled in the support or just the humanity to help them be great cops, the kinds of police that society is yearning for — gifted at de-escalation and interact in a way that’s trusted and well-received. By the way, I’ve worked with tons of cops who do that incredibly well every single day. The goal is for the ones who don’t do it so well, how do we help them be as effective as the others?

With that, John, I am grateful for your participation in our 2020 IACP Leadership Series. Thank you so much — we’re all looking forward to learning more about the work your consortium is conducting.

This interview from October 2020 has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 1 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and John Rappaport, Professor of Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar, University of Chicago. In this entry, Mr. Rappaport discusses the evolving role of insurance in police reform.

He also shares his thoughts on this important moment in time, which has created such an outcry for reform, as well as different perspectives on funding options proposed to help balance a variety of societal needs.

RH: We’re really excited to have John Rappaport take part in our leadership series. John comes to us as a professor from the University of Chicago Law School. And we’re pleased to report that he chairs a research consortium associated with Benchmark, known as the National Police Early Intervention and Outcome Research Consortium — a group focused on a variety of compelling, contemporary issues in the policing world.

John, you’ve written a ton of really interesting pieces on the role of insurance and police reform. When I first heard about that I was like that seems a little odd to me. It was insurance, right? Can you tell us a little bit about the insurance landscape — and why you see that, or what the research has shown that to be, in terms of a driver for police reform?

JR: Sure. I think it may be more appropriate to characterize it as a potential driver of police reform. It’s an important lever. I think the insurance companies are an important player in this arena, and they can play in one direction or they can play in another . . . or they can play very, very passively. Basically, I think a lot of people haven’t known about this for very long because we tend to focus on our conversations about policing on the same few cities over and over. We’re always talking about New York, Chicago, where we both live, or LA.

And these big cities – along with a handful of the biggest of cities in any given state – are usually self-insured, which is a fancy way of saying they’re mostly not insured. Or, they maybe have some kind of excess insurance that kicks in when there’s a really, really serious and costly incident. But for the most part, they’re paying the judgments and settlements for any police-related liability out of the city’s budget.

Most law enforcement agencies in this country – there are 18,000 of them – most of them are not in places like Chicago, New York or LA. They’re in much smaller places where they don’t have the tax base that big cities have . . . and if they get hit with a million-dollar or two- million-dollar settlement — that is an enormous deal for them. They don’t have that kind of excess money lying around, so they go out in the market and they buy insurance. And what happens then is that you’ve got an insurance company that is promising to pay out any money that this city might owe in the future in a judgement or settlement for some police liability-related issue.

And so, the insurance company doesn’t really want to pay out. It’s in the insurance company’s interest to reduce the amount of payouts. Just like your property insurer wants you to install sprinklers and have fire extinguishers because they don’t want to pay out. If there is a fire, they want to keep it small. It’s the same kind of relationship. So, insurance companies find themselves in a place where they have a financial incentive to try to reduce police misconduct. They do this through various kinds of loss prevention. Just as in the property context where they might recommend sprinklers and fire extinguishers, insurers in the policing context will recommend certain kinds of training, certain equipment, certain policies about use of force — and things like that.

RH: But today my understanding is that it’s not commonplace, but it’s a potential. What are your thoughts, John?

JR: Well, I think it’s actually fairly common. In some of my work I’ve written about some extreme examples where insurers have said, “We’ve really had it.” This may be a tiny department – let’s say four officers – and there’s one guy who gets sued 10 times a year, and at some point, the insurer says, “We’ve had it. You get rid of this guy or we’re not going to cover you anymore.” I have found some examples like that. Those I think are the exception.

But I think that some are more mundane, but still very important types of loss prevention that I mentioned — like weighing in on policies and education on legal developments. For a lot of small departments, they don’t have a legal staff, they don’t have a city attorney with a lot of extra bandwidth. So, staying abreast of the latest developments in Fourth Amendment law, let’s say, is really challenging. The insurers play a role in that and in doing online education or classroom education.

They play a role sometimes in subsidizing expensive kinds of training — like there are these prequel virtual reality simulators that you can use to train officers on how to resolve difficult situations without using force; but they’re really, really expensive. And so sometimes an insurer – basically using pooled money from lots of different departments – can buy one and make it available to all the departments.

So, I think things like that are happening right now, but there’s a lot of variation.

The reason I started by saying this is the story about the potential for reform is that there’s a lot of variation among insurers. And the insurers don’t necessarily feel completely comfortable thinking of themselves this way. They think of themselves as partners – here to support the agencies and help them
do their jobs better – but not here to tell them what to do.

That said, I think depending on who you ask – and what their motives are – they might characterize what’s going on a little bit differently.

RH: Understood. Super interesting and I think it’s going to change. You talked about police reform. And, and you know, we’ve had many chapters of police reform. There was the professional model. Then there was problem-oriented policing, followed by community policing. Compstat was in the middle of community policing as well, which had a big impact on crime. I’ll give you a minute warning here, before asking you about what the next chapter of police reform might look like?

Let’s back up, first. Because I think back in March, when the pandemic first hit, to say that we are going to have broad civil unrest associated primarily with police reform — I certainly wasn’t predicting it, and I’m not sure a lot of other people were. Can you give us a sense of what changed; what was it about the George Floyd event . . . or the pandemic . . . or this moment in American history that caused this outcry?

JR: It’s a good question. I have to say as a responsible academic that these things always have multiple causes. Just as crime rates have multiple causes. Things like social movements, and why this moment rather than that moment — there’s always a lot of different causes. And I can’t claim to know . . . but let me give you my take. I’ve done some research that suggests that things really changed in the public’s eyes in the summer of 2014, when Michael Brown and Eric Garner were killed. You can just look at objective data sources like Google Trends, and look at how often people search in Google for the words “police brutality” or “police misconduct”. Before the summer of 2014, it was basically flat and then it spikes up after these events.

Also, press coverage about police misconduct and police brutality also spikes up in the summer of 2014 if you just count the number of stories using these terms. In some of my research, I actually say – and this was written before George Floyd was killed – what’s going on in policing? It seems like everyone is so worked up about policing, everyone is talking about policing. Are the police sort of spiraling out of control, or is it actually reflective of a change in public attitudes?

My co-author and I, we looked at all the evidence we had – using insurance claims data, actually – and we found really no evidence that the police were getting any worse, or behaving any worse. You can also just see this in some sort of topline measures of number of people killed by the police per year. Not saying it’s low enough, but it hasn’t been getting higher. It’s basically been flat, yet it feels in the air like things are really changing, right? And I think that’s reflective of changing public attitudes. So, I think that the public is becoming increasingly sensitized to policing issues since 2014.

The movement has been growing, but clearly what happened with George Floyd was a tipping point. I think sometimes the simplest explanation is the best. That video is really, really harrowing to watch. Whatever happened with Michael Brown is not on video. And I think the video of Eric Garner being killed shook a lot of people, but there you can see some struggle — and different people can look at it in different ways. I have my view about it, but I understand that people watch the video and see different things. It was pretty hard in my opinion to watch the George Floyd video and not be disturbed by that.

And you put the COVID-related shutdown on top of that — when people are feeling on edge, they’re irritable. They’re also upset with the presidential administration. I think it just exploded. But I think that it’s really the culmination of years and years in the making. So, it’s just the right set of conditions . . . and the right match dropped into the fuel. From my perspective, that’s the explosion that we’ve seen.

RH: John, you said something that I really firmly believe in. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a police officer on the street. I was policing the streets of Chicago in the mid-’90s. And if I look at what I see as police conduct today versus then and early 2000’s, I think it’s actually much better. And it seems to me one of the big changes is video. It’s one thing to hear about an incident. It’s another to see that visceral humanity of when you actually see police conduct like in the George Floyd incident versus it being read in the paper . . . or it’s just reported as an allegation.

I think video in our society is consumed all the time, distributed in every way.

And it’s just been a big game-changer. So given that, I think everyone agrees that we are at a really important moment of police change. There are calls to re-imagine the police, there are calls to defund the police. There are tons of lessons learned through the last few cycles of police reform. What does this next chapter look like to you, John? What do you think needs to happen, and what do you think might happen? 

JR: From where I see it, and of course I’m informed not only by what we’re seeing in the news but what I’m also reading among policing academics, I actually see something of a split. I think a huge part of what I’ll call the movement – where I’m lumping in academics, people actually protesting out on the streets, and just concerned citizens – is the desire to push things in what you might call a democratizing direction where the idea is: we need to give more power to marginalized communities. We need to let people have more say in how they’re policed, and how much they’re policed.

We should have more civilian oversight. We should have community control. These are all terms that are a little bit vague. They’re old terms that have been given new meaning. They’re still a little bit vague, I think, but the general idea is to empower people; especially empower people in communities that feel over policed, that feel like they’ve been disproportionately and unfairly the victims of bad police behavior. Give the power to them, let them decide what kind of policing they want and need.

I think a different path, and not necessarily contradictory, is more technocratic.

It’s more about continuing with the trend of professionalizing the police. We’ve made some progress, but not far enough. We need better people, better-educated people. Police need to be trained better. We need better monitoring of them — body cams are part of this. And I don’t think these two things are in opposition, but I do think they represent two different mindsets.

I believe we’re seeing a little bit of a struggle here between them. Often the people in the first camp – the democratizing camp – they kind of look at the second camp and think you guys just want to make these incremental little changes . . . and it’s not really going to do any good. Then the people in the second camp look at the people in the first camp and think you basically want to overthrow the government — and even if I agreed with you, it’s never going to happen. So, let’s try to make things better and focus on harm reduction; you have these two opposing philosophies, even if the solutions don’t necessarily need to be in opposition.

RH: I hear you, John. What do you think of the defund the police part of this equation? There’s a recent Bloomberg story on it, which says it’s not really real. There are a few examples of it that appear very real, right? What do you think that looks like in this next chapter? 

JR: I think that it’s really important if you ever want to have a conversation about defunding the police to clarify your terms at the beginning, because you could be talking about two entirely different things. You can get in a fight with somebody because you have different definitions in your head. So, when some people hear defund, they think it literally means take all the money away from the police —

it’s basically the same as abolishing the police. And they think this is both a horrible idea and really unrealistic. To them, the people who are talking about defunding the police must be crazy.

I think there’s a much more modest way to think about defunding the police, but to me it feels a little bit like common sense. And that is to say, “Look, we tend to have ­– in many respects – a small government compared to some of our Western European counterparts. We don’t have the robust kinds of social services that we see in some other countries. Instead, we have this police department — and we ask them to do all kinds of different things.

RH: We ask them to do everything on some levels.

JR: Yeah, like people who are struggling with mental illness, people who

don’t have housing and have domestic disputes, All sorts of different things; noise complaints, parking violations, getting cats out of trees — all this stuff. And I think one way to look at the defund campaign is just to say that a lot of this stuff doesn’t need to be done by police officers. It doesn’t need to be done, frankly, by people wearing intimidating-looking uniforms and carrying firearms. If you’re carrying a firearm, there’s at least a chance you’re going to use it.

We’d feel better if some of these jobs were done by other people who could do them as well or – in some cases we think – better than police officers, because they have more training related to dealing with people who have mental health issues, right? So, let’s try to trim off some of the fat, they would say, and let’s redistribute those dollars to agencies like the Department of Mental Health Services and hire more social workers, more nurses. Let’s make those professionals the frontline people who go out when there’s somebody who’s having a psychotic break — or something of that nature.

I think that’s a very moderate way of looking at defunding. It’s one that I don’t find too hard to get behind, even if I’m skeptical about some of the more extreme approaches. But still, I think there’s a lot we don’t know.

RH: I think theoretically, it sounds great. If you have someone who’s a trained mental health professional . . . police are trained at de-escalation, but fundamentally they will never have the training that someone who’s made that their life work. If there are lessons that have come from prior police reform to me, it’s that when we dehumanize police they become warriors. And what would make them a warrior? I would say they become warriors if they’re only needed when their gun is needed.

It seems exactly opposite of what we were trying to accomplish with community policing — which is to become embedded in the community, to become trusted. And if we take police out of the day to day because there are other people who might do it better or differently, then the police are left to be the folks who deal with violent, hardened criminals. That, to me, is a scary place to be because I think ultimately there’s mission creep, right?

The idea that at 2:00 AM when someone calls 911 because they’re scared of another person – whether that person has a mental illness or has ill intent as a criminal – whatever that might be, it’s real-time. It doesn’t allow itself time to figure out who’s the best resource to show up — and it will always, I think, ultimately fall on the police.

So, it’s the right debate to have. That said, a caution I would bring up as we’re having a dialogue about this is the idea of ‘how do we keep the police as humanized as possible in a very hard job?’

JR: I agree with a lot of what you just said, and I think it’s a really good point that if you say police are reserved for combat situations, then in fact, that might actually reinforce the warrior mindset. But I think one response to that might be that if the police spend less time responding to some of the calls they respond to today – cats in trees, noise complaints, low-level traffic incidents, ticketing – that they might actually be freed up to spend more time getting to know people in the community. It’s not that they’ll necessarily be invisible the rest of the time — it could be more about interacting in different ways.

RH: For sure. I love the debate, John. And I think it will be interesting to see where cities land on this one.

Don’t miss Part 2 in our post, The Call for Research-Based, Data-Driven Police Support, where Mr. Rappaport shares his thoughts on where policing fits in dealing with today’s broad societal issues and needs. He also weighs in on the growing importance of data collection and in-depth research to drive and direct applied science for developing more effective reform and police support measures.

This interview from October 2020 has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 2 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and Maggie Goodrich, Consultant, University of Chicago Crime Lab and on the Baltimore, Cleveland and Newark Police Department Federal Monitorships. In this entry, Ms. Goodrich discusses her experience and imperatives in developing and implementing first-class early warning and intervention systems— as well as her belief in the importance of having wellness-focused, non-disciplinary support in place to be truly effective.

Welcome back to our leadership series, Maggie. To start, you were super instrumental, serving as an advisor for the University of Chicago Crime Lab, on the recently announced early warning system for the Chicago Police.

When you were working on that, or when you do your work as a monitor, what do you look for? What are the data sets that you say, “Look, here’s ground stakes for a good early warning system”? What things have you learned from the crime lab work that you think would be interesting for folks to think about — or what they might want to include in a personnel management/early warning system that they might be looking at?

MG: I think there are a few fundamental data sets that are a must-have for any early monitoring system. The basics of HR, obviously. Understanding who the employees are and the chain of command I think is important as well — who works for whom. Then, from there, it’s really thinking through all of the data that’s collected on a daily basis . . . maybe currently not in an automated fashion. In many departments, some data is still collected on paper.

To be able to get to a situation where you’re going to implement an early intervention system, you really have to get to a place where all of this data is collected electronically. For example, information on complaint investigations, use of force investigations, and police pursuits. Lawsuits are often asked about, and sometimes hard to get ahold of information mainly because they’re not always handled by the police department itself. So, having a good working relationship with a city or county entity that handles that aspect of data is important.

And then in terms of just implementing an early intervention system, I would say the other piece that often comes last in many implementations, I believe you really need to think about first — and foremost. I think Chicago PD did a really good job of this, in that they actually started at the end so to speak. By that I mean even if you have a very accurate early intervention system that can identify who needs support now – which officers need additional training or support or mental health services or whatever it may be that’s unique to the officer – an agency needs a menu of interventions to support officers in place.

If you don’t have a robust employee assistance program, mental health services and in-service training options to offer, then the system can really only be as good as what you have to offer when you identify somebody who needs support.

RH: Yes, that makes so much sense. It always strikes me that these things need to be concurrent. While you’re implementing and figuring out how the technology is going to work, you can concurrently figure out all the policy needs together.

MG: Absolutely. I think many agencies are thinking first and foremost about consent decree compliance, which is important. Often the consent decree says, “You need to have a system to do these things,” but often the consent decree doesn’t necessarily spell out the officer wellness and support portion in as much detail as it does the early identification portion. I think doing these two things in parallel is really important.

RH: Agree. It always strikes me that well beyond the handful of departments across our nation that are currently under consent decrees – and we’ll see what happens in the future – it’s such a basic, modern tool, in this current era of police reform is to understand your workforce and intervene to support them any way that you can just seems like a 101.

MG: Absolutely. Especially because of the limited resources that agencies have. Even if you develop a new training program that is groundbreaking and really going to help your police force tomorrow, you can’t get the whole department through your training that quickly. And in many departments, you can’t get the whole department through that training even in a few months because of the logistics involved in many instances. So, how do you decide who should get it now and who’s okay to get it maybe six months from now?

And so, how do you just apply those limited resources to your personnel in a way that’s going to benefit those who need it most today? I think an early intervention system is often talked about in such a negative light — viewed as a system that’s penalty-driven or disciplinary in nature. And really, a true early intervention system is not about discipline at all. It’s about getting resources and additional support and training or whatever it may be that an officer needs to meet their unique situation. How do you get that to them as soon as possible in light of the limited resources you have as an agency?

RH: Yes, that’s right. I think what I’m hoping for in this next chapter of police reform is that the systems that support the police to be better at their jobs are funded. Then to your point, in the budget cuts that are occurring because of COVID – and in certain cities the defund movement – we need to actually work to elevate the profession. And we do this by investing in the systems that support and help the police to be better at what they do — and consistent with how the community wants it.

MG: Just on that point, I really couldn’t agree more with you. That you talk about defunding, or even just having to cut the budget, because of tight financial times. Generally, you have to look at where you’re spending today and where you’re going to cut that funding; because all too often just an across-the-board five percent budget cut means that technology and equipment go first. Those are the line items that can be reduced more quickly — rather than salary costs, for example.

You really do a disservice to a department by not giving them the tools and technology they need to do a better job . . . the things that are the driving factors behind change in a police department, right. Focusing on transparency, focusing on accountability — all of these things can be supported and delivered to the community in a way that is really meaningful by the use of technology.

RH: Yes, and there are shining examples of it. I think in cities where the infrastructure has been invested, the people systems have been invested, and the people have been invested. Training is expensive, right. And we’ve seen those departments that have invested elevate. We’ve seen them be more effective. We’ve seen them have more trust with the community. We’ll see what happens. I’m an optimist — so I hope that we’ll see that happen.

Maggie, I’ve got two final questions for you. First, who are your heroes out there when it comes to the world of policing? It’s very easy right now for the police to be attacked for a whole bunch of reasons. In this difficult time for everyone in law enforcement, particularly people who have done their job so admirably and respectfully, who are the folks that you turn to and say, “You know what, these are my heroes in the profession.”

The other person is a civilian who was in the police department working under Bill Bratton — partnering with him on consent decree implementation. And that’s Gerry Chaleff. Gerry was on the board of police commissioners that oversaw the police department at one time, who actually helped negotiate the consent decree.

­And Bill Bratton had the foresight to call Gerry and say, “Well, you got us into this consent decree, you helped negotiate it and write it — come implement it. You know what you wanted to see, so come do the job.”

Again, I think it took a lot of foresight to hire Gerry into that type of position, but Gerry came in with a vision of how to do things right, how to support a police force — and also serve the community properly. He’s somebody, honestly, I call probably weekly for advice and guidance.

RH: Fantastic. We need those people. And for those of you who didn’t see the interview or read our blog on it, we had the privilege to interview Bill as part of our IACP Leadership Series as well.

Maggie, you bring so much expertise to our profession from a completely different angle, right. You’re someone who has thought about reform, someone who’s worked in policy, someone who understands technology, and someone who’s been involved in police reform in departments throughout the country.

My final question is this: You started your company so that you can share that expertise and support for folks who need it — and agencies who do it. Can you tell us the name of the company, a little bit about your vision for it, and who else is involved?

MG: Sure. I recently started a company called TacLogix with a couple of colleagues who also are formally LAPD — and are in the consulting world today. One is Arif Alikhan, who was previously the director of constitutional policing and policy for LAPD. The other is Dan Gomez, who is a retired lieutenant from LAPD, who essentially served as my CTO while I was CIO for LAPD. The three of us have formed TacLogix to be available to police departments across the country, as well as tech companies that are serving police departments with their technology.

The idea is that we go into agencies, perform an assessment of the current state of technology — bringing a 360° perspective drawing upon my IT background, Dan’s very technical but boots-on-the-ground perspective, and Arif’s policy and risk management perspective. We don’t come in and just look at IT for IT sake. We come in and look at the whole picture. We look at your training, look at your policy, and look at how all of your IT is working together to help make your department run more efficiently and effectively.

MG: There are two people I turn to when I need guidance in the policing profession — one is sworn, or was sworn, and one is civilian. They both were really the drivers behind the implementation of the consent decree of the LAPD, and the profound change at the LAPD. First is Bill Bratton. He brought me into LAPD at a time, quite frankly, where back then it was really strange to bring in a 32-year-old attorney . . . deem her deputy chief . . .and put her in charge of the bureau: a police department of 10,000 sworn personnel. It was really unheard of. I think if it weren’t for his vision and drive for doing the right thing – and serving the community properly while supporting officers at the same time – I don’t know that LAPD would be the changed department it is today. That vision was really critical. And so, Bill Bratton is somebody I call on regularly for perspective.

The other person is a civilian who was in the police department working under Bill Bratton — partnering with him on consent decree implementation. And that’s Gerry Chaleff. Gerry was on the board of police commissioners that oversaw the police department at one time, who actually helped negotiate the consent decree.

­And Bill Bratton had the foresight to call Gerry and say, “Well, you got us into this consent decree, you helped negotiate it and write it — come implement it. You know what you wanted to see, so come do the job.

Again, I think it took a lot of foresight to hire Gerry into that type of position, but Gerry came in with a vision of how to do things right, how to support a police force — and also serve the community properly. He’s somebody, honestly, I call probably weekly for advice and guidance.

RH: Fantastic. We need those people. And for those of you who didn’t see the interview or read our blog on it, we had the privilege to interview Bill as part of our IACP Leadership Series as well.

Maggie, you bring so much expertise to our profession from a completely different angle, right. You’re someone who has thought about reform, someone who’s worked in policy, someone who understands technology, and someone who’s been involved in police reform in departments throughout the country.

My final question is this: You started your company so that you can share that expertise and support for folks who need it — and agencies who do it. Can you tell us the name of the company, a little bit about your vision for it, and who else is involved?

MG: Sure. I recently started a company called TacLogix with a couple of colleagues who also are formally LAPD — and are in the consulting world today. One is Arif Alikhan, who was previously the director of constitutional policing and policy for LAPD. The other is Dan Gomez, who is a retired lieutenant from LAPD, who essentially served as my CTO while I was CIO for LAPD. The three of us have formed TacLogix to be available to police departments across the country, as well as tech companies that are serving police departments with their technology.

The idea is that we go into agencies, perform an assessment of the current state of technology — bringing a 360° perspective drawing upon my IT background, Dan’s very technical but boots-on-the-ground perspective, and Arif’s policy and risk management perspective. We don’t come in and just look at IT for IT sake. We come in and look at the whole picture. We look at your training, look at your policy, and look at how all of your IT is working together to help make your department run more efficiently and effectively.

We look at what IT you have today that maybe you aren’t completely leveraging. . . maybe there are aspects of your IT that if they were integrated – or if they were just used in a slightly different manner – you might actually get more out of your current investments. Then also looking at recommendations for future investments in IT. We don’t recommend any particular products specifically, we really try to be product agnostic. The idea is to make recommendations on what areas of technology you should put on your roadmap — then help you develop that roadmap and strategy for the future.

RH: Fantastic. Well, I wish I could have hired you when I was on the other side of the fence in government, we certainly could have used that trifecta of right policy, deep technical expertise, and the sworn experience from some of your teammates. It sounds like a powerful group. Maggie, we are super grateful that you’ve joined us for the IACP 2020 Leadership Series. We’re grateful for your service to the profession. You’ve made a big difference — and continue to do so.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 1 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and Maggie Goodrich, Retired CIO of LAPD; Consultant, University of Chicago Crime Lab; and on the Baltimore, Cleveland and Newark Police Department Federal Monitorships. In this entry, Ms. Goodrich discusses the current state, issues, and growing importance of technology in policing — sharing key considerations for IT assessment, system upgrading, implementation, and integration with consent decree policies and guidelines.

RH: Maggie, you bring a unique expertise to our leadership series — serving as Chief Information Officer for the Los Angeles Police Department for seven of your 11 years there. You not only have a great perspective on what it takes to drive good police reform, but also on the current state of police reform technology. Let’s start with something simple: When you go into a police department as a consultant – which you’ve done a ton of times – and you are asked to assess their technology, what are the things you look for?

MG: First and foremost, I talk to the end-users to figure out what they’re really using — and how they’re using it. Sometimes, what IT understands and what the end-users are really doing with it are two different things. I think an organization that runs its IT well has a good communications loop between IT and the business. The other thing that’s really critical is just basic IT governance. And by that, what I mean is that IT is not setting the IT priorities — the business is driving the IT priorities.

Understanding what the goals and vision of police leadership really are, and ensuring that it’s those business goals that are really driving IT decisions, so that the IT is truly supporting those business goals – truly enabling them – and not just being implemented in a vacuum.

RH: Makes so much sense, Maggie. When you think about the current state of law enforcement technology – and I’m only going to focus on the people side of the equation – because I think a lot of people are up to speed on CAD/RMS systems. But when it comes to systems for managing their personnel, it’s a much bigger question for chiefs and others. Generally speaking, what do you think the current state is of people technology systems in public safety? What do you come across when you walk into the average police department?

MG: I would say that the average department is lacking a system to just manage its basic people HR functions — probably for a number of reasons. For one, policing is unique, so it’s often difficult to fit the policing personnel model into a standard HR solution. This is just because of the way officers are deployed, and the different types of things that need to be tracked that aren’t necessarily tracked in a traditional, private sector setting. We see a lot of agencies that have homegrown solutions, or maybe multiple solutions that they try to pull together to create an HR solution — and then they struggle to support that.

RH: I see the same thing myself when we work with agencies. It seems many departments are trying to make a lot of different tools solve the problem — versus trying to figure it out holistically.

Maggie, let’s take this observation and discuss the current state of police reform. I think a lot of cities and police agencies are trying to solve the problem on that front. Let’s look at it using the example of consent decrees that have either come into existence, or are currently being implemented. You were there for LA, and you were a big part of their success story. What do you think the DOJ is trying to achieve when they put such broad goals into these consent decrees — as it relates to personnel management and technology?

MG: I think the goal – or goals actually – of many consent decrees across the country are focused on ensuring that officers have the tools they need to be at 100% when they do their job. That is to have clear guidelines, clear training, clear policy — and, importantly, to know what they’re going to be held accountable for. I think in some departments, this area needs work; in the area of technology, in particular: Do the officers have the tools on their tool belt that they need to do their job professionally? So often, when it comes time for budget cuts, it’s technology and equipment and those types of things that go first.

Technology’s been a pretty strong component in many recent consent decrees, I think, because of the acknowledgement that officers need certain tools to do the job right. The cameras, for example, have been a big topic of discussion lately —along with early intervention systems. And those are things that aren’t necessarily funded first when it comes time to tighten the belt from a budget perspective.

Then obviously, the other goal under a consent decree is always to ensure that the community is being served as it should be — and treated equitably. I think these two things go hand in hand. And if officers don’t have the training, tools, policies, etc. to be in a position to serve the community effectively . . . then ultimately, it’s not just doing a disservice to those officers, it’s really a disservice to the community.

RH: It makes a ton of sense, Maggie. Let’s talk a little bit about IT in your experience. Where were you before the LAPD so folks know?

MG: Before the LAPD, I was a policy director in the mayor’s office in LA — and prior to that I was at a law firm. I’m a lawyer by background.

RH: Got it. You’re a lawyer who goes into policy, and then finds herself running the technology, right? I find your path really interesting, because you were such a successful CIO. So often, the technology leadership in policing struggles in a lot of ways. There are some phenomenal people, and there are some folks who just struggle with it. If you were a police chief tomorrow, and you were hiring your own CIO, what would you look for? How would you think about that? What do you have to say?

MG: Before I went to law school, I was a project manager in IT and software development. I had that in my background. I picked up IT fresh, I would say. But unfortunately, I think many departments force somebody to pick up IT fresh.

Often it’s a sworn employee who’s good with computers — someone who gets handed a lot of IT projects because a department may not have a CIO or head of IT. That’s a difficult position to put someone in. Most officers did not join the department to ultimately become the head of IT. I think that’s always challenging.

That said, I think there are definitely some success stories across the country of sworn personnel who have taken over IT and done it very successfully. I would say, generally speaking, that’s a difficult position to put someone in. In terms of selecting a CIO or head of IT, I think, a few things are really important. One is having vision for how IT can effectively support an organization . . . how it can be used as a force multiplier . . . and how it can really enable the overall goals of the department. I think really understanding that is very important.

Understanding true IT decision-making must be driven by the goals of the department, the business and policy — not wanting to implement IT just for IT’s sake. You must make it really critical. The other skillset that’s really important to have in IT is strong communication skills. A lot of my job as CIO was communicating. And sometimes, interpreting between the IT staff and the policy staff, the leadership in the police department, or elected officials in a city.

You really have to be able to speak in language understandable by the audience you’re addressing. So, you have to be able to go back and talk about business requirements in IT language to software developers. But then you also have to be able to go back to a police chief or city council and explain things in plain language, in non-technical speak. I think that’s a really critical skill to have as well.

Then, ultimately, you need basic management skills. I found many times at LAPD, while I was the CIO responsible for setting vision and the roadmap for IT, many days I was also a project manager on whatever our priority project was at the time — whether it was an early intervention system implementation or body camera deployment. There were some days where I was just sitting down and getting into the weeds while putting a plan together for how we’re going to implement something. I think you really have to be willing to wear multiple hats.

RHYou know I’ve always found, Maggie, that good leadership operates at 10,000 feet – and at times ­– has to operate at 1,000 feet. All good leaders are inherently project managers because they’re moving something along, right.

Maybe you can take us through the life cycle, a little bit, of technology as it relates to personnel management. Because at the time you helped build the LA system, there was nothing to buy. Meaning there was nothing you could purchase off the shelf that would have served your needs, right?

MG: Absolutely. At the time LAPD entered into the consent decree, there really weren’t any off-the-shelf products to help manage personnel, or help manage administrative type investigations. All of that really had to be built from scratch. There wasn’t an off-the-shelf software system that could even handle managing the chain of command of a 13,000-person organization. Let alone then be nuanced enough to track use of force investigations or personnel complaints investigations and the like.

The LA consent decree was executed in 2001. Back then, you really had to build your own because there wasn’t anything to buy. But I think we’ve seen a good evolution over time, there are now platforms that you can purchase. There are new, commercial, off-the-shelf software service platforms that will really enable a department to leverage some best practices that have been implemented into those systems. I think those like LA, who were early in the game, had to build it and learn as we went along.

RH: You were a visionary in the movement. You guys had to figure it out, right? You had consent decrees, you had dates — and you’re like, “All right, we’re going to go be a software development company.”

MG: Yes, I don’t know that it was visionary. I think it was out of necessity, actually. But yes, we’ve had to experience those growing pains ourselves — and we didn’t have a lot of lessons learned to pull from when it came to how to develop personnel management software. So now, I think agencies are in a better position to be able to leverage some of those best practices that are in off-the-shelf products.

RH: Yes, for sure. Of course, you know I think so, Maggie, because at Benchmark, it’s so much of what we do there as well. I love this idea of helping departments think through how to more effectively manage personnel in order to meet all of the reform requirements asked of them — and help them operate more effectively.

Don’t miss Part 2 in our post Early Intervention Systems in the New Age of Police Reform, where Ms. Goodrich discusses her experience and imperatives in developing and implementing first-class early warning and intervention systems — as well as her belief in the importance of having wellness-focused, non-disciplinary support in place to be truly effective.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 2 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and Thomas Eicher, Executive Director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. In this entry, Mr. Eicher discusses new polices his state is implementing to improve transparency and accountability, moving toward a more effective, evidence-based early intervention system — as well as sharing his thoughts on various policing reforms over time and the need to look at the criminal justice system as a whole.

RH: Tom, let’s continue our discussion on police reform policies being initiated or expanded upon in your state of New Jersey. Your novel concept of tracking and reviewing use-of-force incidents statewide by assigning a county prosecutor to work with every agency is breakthrough. What else are you implementing?

TE: Sure. The other thing we looked at was transparency, and we issued an updated body-worn camera policy that requires disclosure to the public within the completion of the initial investigation, typically 20 days for a police-involved shooting. We have expanded that to not only body-worn cameras, but dash cams and private cameras that might inform the public what really happened during a particular incident.

We issued an amended policy about impeachment material for officers. Even though it’s been the law for a long time, we had not had a statewide policy that really set out in any detail the requirements to track and make available to defense counsel and defendants impeachment material about the officers who were testifying. We put that in place. We, again, pushed that on the county prosecutors a bit to put them at the frontline to gather that information and
make it available.

We thought these two updates were important reforms to strengthen public trust and heighten transparency. We also continued and emphasized our resiliency program where we looked at trying to help officers who needed assistance because of a problem in their life – such as a drug or alcohol issue –making it easier for them to reach out and get help without incurring disciplinary action.

Finally, and this is a work in progress, we are looking at how we can improve the early warning system directive that we have, and move it more towards an early intervention system — improving the capacity, either on a statewide level or within the individual departments, and the ability to implement this updated system in a way that really facilitates training, as opposed to discipline; or interventions early rather than later so that you don’t have to wait until something really goes off the rails. And importantly, using data rather than hunches about what actually is effective — as well as what you should be measuring and looking at.

That’s true for all we’re talking about . . . I think that the focus on using the data that’s available is really key. It’s what makes this multi-dimensional reform effort somewhat different than some of the earlier reforms that didn’t have that ability to gather and analyze the data — and help use that data to inform policies.

RH: You know what’s interesting, Tom? It’s that is precisely what I’ve advocated for in terms of what I’ve seen. In the ’50s we had the professional model policing: 911 came to take everything over, and everyone’s in uniform and random patrol — and it’s really what is even today the bedrock of policing. Through the ’70s, we started to see problem-oriented policing, which was followed by community policing. Community policing was concurrently overlaid with predictive policing,  joined by Compstat policing in the ‘90s, leading us up to this point in time.

What’s different to me at this point in time – and that you’ve articulated as well – is the fact that for the first time in the history of law enforcement, we have data and research to actually say, “We no longer have to rely on the hunch and the goodwill of a street supervisor. We can systematize an understanding of a pattern and practice of problematic behavior in the early stages — before we have horrific incidents that really crush our profession every time they happen.”

Tom, let me just tap into your experience. You were a federal prosecutor for 30 years, with much work in civil rights crimes. Has there been a trend you can identify? Were there things that you were much more likely to prosecute 30 years ago and 20 years ago than today? And more to the point, if you will, what is the nature of problematic conduct in civil rights violations today versus 30 years ago — or is it really the same show?

TE: I think it’s pretty similar, honestly. But there has been a trend. The original cases I was involved with were more corruption cases. Police cases where drugs were stolen, money was stolen, drugs were planted, officers were on the take. Now, that was in Philadelphia; not to give them a bad name, but I was a prosecutor in the city at the time. We also saw that in New Jersey when I moved over here.

And then, whether it was because of focus or difference in conduct, the use of force over the last five to 10 years has become much more of a focal point. I think the public’s understanding of what is reasonable force for police to use has evolved. I think there was an era when the public’s attitude was, “Hey, if they committed a crime, they brought it on themselves and the police should do whatever they need to do to take care of this person.” They really didn’t care what happened to him. I think that’s changed.

I think even people who have committed crimes are being seen more as a person. And even though they deserve whatever punishment the system will result in. It shouldn’t be at the hands of the officers. I think the public’s definition of reasonable force, which is always at the bedrock of even the constitutional law, has changed. I think it’s evolved. I think the public is expecting and asking for more restraint when it can be safely done.

I think that’s a change. I think that’s different. One of the challenges in prosecuting civil rights cases – especially those for people incarcerated and I did a number of those – is that a lot of jurors at that point were like, “Hey, they must’ve done something or they wouldn’t have been in jail in the first place. And so therefore, they don’t have any rights.”

Of course, that’s not the law, but that’s a very difficult climate to bring those cases into. I think the public sentiment has changed, in part maybe, because so many people know someone who’s been incarcerated or know somebody else who knows somebody. It’s not the stigma it used to be. I think there is a more humanizing of people, and an expectation that police will deal with effectively, but fairly, with everyone they interact with.

RH: No, it’s interesting. What do you think has brought the public around? Do you have a sense of why there’s been such a shift in how it’s perceived?

TE: I think it’s an accumulation of the incidents that we’ve seen. And I think it’s the starkness of the George Floyd situation. It’s also a recognition that there is a general perception – and we can argue about whether it’s true or not – but there’s a general public consensus, I would say for the most part, that law enforcement does not always act equally with every citizen. That there is different enforcement based on race — or based on assumptions about people.

I think that the public, for the most part, is sympathetic to that. I believe that’s a big change. And I think it goes beyond the community that’s being most directly affected — and has now broadened to others who were not part of that community, but feel that changes have to be made to make sure it’s not happening. So, I think that’s a big difference. I also believe that police are open — they want to do a good job. My experience has been that police don’t want to be the bad guys.

There are some bad apples, of course, but most police want to do a job effectively, want to do it fairly, and want to see themselves in that light . . .and I think they should. We have to give police the tools, the policies, and the training to do it. I think we didn’t do that.

To just anticipate a little bit of your question or what you mentioned about community policing, I think the Compstat model overran community policing. By focusing on data to see where crime hotspots were, and then deploying resources in that way, what it did is it tended to be almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. Less affluent neighborhoods, which in the major cities tended to be more minority, got much more attention from the police. So, then there were more arrests . . . and those arrests lead to more arrests. I think while it suppressed crime, it also created a really negative interaction with the community that I think has to be undone — through the community policing aspects of where you’re interacting, not just in a bad context, but in a normal everyday context.

The data that led the Compstat reform was effective in a way, but it undermined that community relationship in a way as well. I’ll give you an example: I won’t say the name of the case, but it involved the investigation of a fatal police encounter. The citizens that I spoke with about it said, “the police are always here harassing us. They’re in our neighborhood and they’re just always trying to catch us on some little things so they can stop us, try to search us, and see if they can find something.” I said, “All right. I understand that perspective.”

I talked to the police officer and I said, “What were you doing?” “We were on directed patrol”, he replied. “What does that mean?”, I asked. “We were in a neighborhood, a high crime neighborhood trying to catch them doing something like running a stop sign, so we could stop them and try to catch them with something”, he responded. They were both talking about exactly the same thing. The police thought it was highly effective law enforcement, and the neighborhood thought it was a means of oppression and being picked on.

It was interesting to see that the very same description of it almost leading to very different conclusions. I think both of them have some merit, but I believe if you’re only focusing in on one, and not the other, you’re going to lose the big picture. I think that’s what happened with Compstat.

RH: What’s so interesting, in my personal experience when I was a Chicago police officer, CAPS – which was the big Chicago police community initiative in the mid-’90s – was a major focus concurrent with Chicago’s version of Compstat. These initiatives were living concurrently — or trying to live concurrently. I think both had different success outcomes and both negated each other at some level.

What worries me a little bit about the current chapter of police reform, Tom, is the defund the police movement which I’m going to argue is not about funding per se, but just people being punitive by being in support of taking money away from the police. There’s an argument to be made that we should ask the question, “Who is the best person or group to deal with what situation?” I don’t think anyone’s going to pretend a police officer’s mental health training impacts a situation the way a mental health worker’s experience does. But to the degree that we peel the police away from humanizing interactions – giving that job away to other people – and leaving the police only to deal with crimes alone, we’re going to lose a certain humanity in all of this that could cause its own issues.

Tom, I’m going to close up with just a few questions. All of us who care a lot about the profession of policing and want to see it continually professionalized and elevated, we worry about democracy. Stick with me for a minute. There’s a whole body of political science that advises, “To the degree that people have faith in the systems of justice.” It’s not just the police . . . but police, courts, due process, etc. I believe when there’s a high level of public confidence, you see very stable democracies.

When you have a low level of faith in the systems of justice, you tend to see very weak democracies. If you look at South America, where there’s unbelievably low levels of confidence in systems of justice, you see democracies turn all the time. Very unstable governments. Well in the United States, much more so recently, folks’ faith in the systems of justice is deteriorating at a rapid pace. If you believe the work – you could say that’s a proxy to the health of our society, we should all be extremely worried about these reform efforts and building the trust.

Tom, what do you think we need to do to restore faith in policing, make it the honorable profession that it should be, and in many cases is, to the average American?

TE: I think that’s a really interesting question and it’s not one that a lot of people are focusing on right now. Part of it is, we require the police to do everything. We release people from the large mental health institutions and put them on the street — and the police are the first respondents, so that’s one.

Second, police also are saddled in some ways with the overall criminal justice system. Here’s what I mean by that; maybe I shouldn’t say this, but in one of the police departments that I’m involved in looking at, what we found was that African Americans had much more higher rates of arrest than Caucasians — and that’s obviously troubling. When we dug down a little more, what we found was, a lot of that difference can be explained by bench warrants out for individuals. They’re pulled over for speeding and they have a bench warrant. Well, if they have a bench warrant, the officer is going to arrest that person. They can’t ignore that warrant; It’s there, they’ve got to enforce it. What I mean is police are doing their job, but that can result in a lot of negative feelings by the community.

What do we have to do? We have to step back as we’re policing and not just focus on policing, but look at the criminal justice system at large. Is it really appropriate to have so many bench warrants for basically economic failures? You didn’t pay a fine, you didn’t pay the restoration fee on your driver’s license, you committed a crime, and now we’re going to tack financial penalties on top of it. So, a lot of that, as we saw on Ferguson [Missouri], is underlying a lot of the discontent with the police. The police are the face of that system that’s really, at some level, arguably oppressive to the people.

Not that they didn’t incur the fine, not they didn’t double-park or over run their meter — but the cumulative effect of it is, it creates this enormous negative energy between the people and the government. I think we have to step back. There have been those efforts by the Chief Justice in New Jersey and others to look at, “Is this the right way to do it? Should we be arresting somebody for an old parking ticket from a couple of years ago? Are there better ways to resolve that?” So, I think that’s part of what we have to do, is we have to help the police by taking a look at the big picture, at the whole criminal justice system, to see if we can do it in a more efficient and better way — and a more humane way. I think we can.

We’ve seen that in some of the re-entry efforts around the country that – once somebody’s served their time – it’s in everyone’s interest to see them succeed and to knock down barriers to that success. That’s just good common sense, because if you don’t do it, you’re going to end up with another person cycling through the system. I really do think what we have to do is not limit our focus to the police, but broaden it to the criminal justice system as a whole. And that requires some really fundamental discussions about what direction we want to go.

RH: Yes, I know. I’m so glad you brought that up, because I agree. There’s a big picture piece here and the micro-focus on police ultimately will not solve this problem; it’s bigger than that. We’re grateful for your service to our country as a prosecutor within the State of New Jersey — and everything that you do to elevate policing.

This interview from October 2020 has been edited for clarity.


The following is part 1 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and Thomas Eicher, Executive Director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. In this entry, Mr. Eicher shares his belief in the importance of police chiefs setting the appropriate tone, expectations and sense of professionalism with the officers in their department — including the novel concept of assigning a county prosecutor to work with every agency.

RH: Tom, we’ve been talking to other leaders in the field about a variety of topics related to police reform. Let me start by asking a really broad question: Do you feel, at this moment in police reform in American history, that this is different in terms of the historical reforms that have occurred in policing — is this a pivotal point in time, or is it just another chapter?

TE: I do think it’s pivotal, and I think it’s different because it’s more broad-based. The prior reforms that I’ve been involved with and seen have been in response to specific incidents, and they’ve been top-down. But this one is really from the bottom up. This is really broad-based, involving large segments of the country: young, old, black and white are all engaged — and all want to see a difference. In my discussions with police officers and chiefs, I think they get it. However, police can be defensive – and considering some of the things that are being said – I think police take issue with the criticism . . . and rightly so.

I believe everyone I’ve talked to understands that – right or wrong – police have to respond to the public sentiment, because without public support they’re not going to be able to do their jobs. I think it is a challenging time because I feel some of the rhetoric is really out there. But I think police have to understand that this is their opportunity to be part of that process because change is going to happen. One of the concerns that I have is that as well-meaning as it is, people from the outside who don’t have an in-depth understanding of law enforcement, or background in the field, can try to come up with simple solutions — but the issues are more complicated than that.

RH: I agree. And I certainly worry about some of the past reforms because at times, from my perspective, they have seemed to dehumanize the police. Meaning they have not taken into full account all the day-to-day “stuff” that enable police officers to engage in thoughtful ways. Tom, let’s say that you were to wake up tomorrow, you’re a police chief — and you were giving yourself advice from someone who’s accountable for public integrity in the state of New Jersey: what would be the top thing you would advise a police chief must get right?

TE: I think it’s really not one thing because everything interacts. One thing I would say is, the chief has to set the tone for the department. It’s not a policy, or a practice even, it’s really just that the tone of the department has to be set by the chief, along with the expectations. What I would also say is that police officers need to understand themselves as professionals. They’re there to serve the public — not get down in the fray with the people that are breaking a law, but rise above it.

Obviously, police have to use force at times, they have to use force to do their jobs, but chiefs should be expecting more of the officers under their command. How do you do that? I think you set the tone with it, you be clear about what your expectations are . . . you develop written policies that set forth those expectations, you provide the training to implement the policies, and then you hold people accountable. Not that you’re going to create a sacrificial lamb, but if you intercede early – before things go really off the rails – then you can avoid those really bad incidents.

I think setting the right tone, letting your officers know you appreciate them and you have their back . . . but you’re going to demand and expect a level of professional engagement. It’s little things; like in some of my work, I’ve noticed the officers who are quick to swear or confront a potentially dangerous person are also those who are slipping over the line at times. I think the right tone and approach is part of the professionalism. I believe it goes across the board that the message to the officers has to be — you don’t stoop down to the level of some of the persons who may have committed a crime, but you rise above it and you expect more of yourself. The appropriate tone from the top is really critical.

RH: I’m in total agreement when it comes to early intervention and getting in front of inappropriate behavior. Tom, let’s talk about your role a little and what you see as the role of the state. Certainly, from my perspective as an observer of police policy and reform, the state of New Jersey is in front – almost more than any other state that we’ve seen – as part of the attorney general’s excellence in policing initiative. Can you share the basic framework of that initiative, as well as the logic behind that framework? How did your team come up with it? I think it’s such a compelling story for the country in terms of what you’re doing in New Jersey.

TE: Sure. Not to make it too personal, but I was a federal prosecutor for over 30 years. One of the things I did as a federal prosecutor was investigate and prosecute civil rights violations, including those propagated by police. When the Attorney General asked me to come work with him, I said I would do it as long as I got to be involved in police reform. Because what I realized was trying to change the relationship between the police and the community through occasionally prosecuting a really bad apple, it’s not going to really create the kind of reform that I thought needed to happen.

I agreed to come and set up this unit and run it for the Attorney General — I didn’t have to convince him. He was completely on board and said, “Let’s look at the big picture and see what we need to do.” This was before George Floyd, since I got here in 2018 and worked through the end 2019, we put together a series of reforms. We were convinced – and I am as well today – that it’s not one thing. There’s no silver bullet. It’s a series of things.

What does that include? It includes a functioning Internal Affairs and IA disciplinary process. We issued some new guidance and got the county prosecutors involved. They’re typically called district attorneys in many jurisdictions — more involved in reviewing police departments and what the police departments are doing. It requires more collecting of data about various outcomes, so that the public and county prosecutors in our office can look at data collected and say, “Why is it that nobody’s ever held accountable for a civilian complaint? Why are none of your excessive force complaints ever found to be justified?”

That piece of it – improving the Internal Affairs process – is absolutely critical because you don’t want to wait until something really, really bad happens that requires you to look at a criminal prosecution. Therefore, we also looked at that as well. Every police shooting in New Jersey is investigated — and we have the luxury, unlike most states, that New Jersey’s Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer for the state and can issue directives and policies that apply to every law enforcement officer in the state. That’s a very robust power.

He’s also not elected . . .so that also gives him the freedom, as long as he has the support of the Governor, to institute policies without regard to the election blocks. We looked at that. It’s one of the things we did across the board: we investigate every fatal shooting and review every non-fatal police shooting in the state of New Jersey. Our office does that. It gives us an across-the-board look at what’s happening — it uncovers the circumstances under which things go off the rails and things go bad.

RH: What would you say are the pros and the cons of charging the county prosecutor with reviewing things such as a pattern of IA in a local jurisdiction? It’s certainly not a common model . . . where it’s outside of a specific incident. How are you finding that it’s working? Would you recommend other states consider it?

TE: Because of the COVID-19 crisis, although we issued the policy in December of 2019, it didn’t go into effect until August of this year. Then we had to train up all 21 county prosecutors in New Jersey, so it’s early in the implementation phase. So I can’t really tell you how well it’s working at this point — we have 550 individual police departments in New Jersey. For us, to try to monitor and audit on a large scale would be impossible. It’s even hard for the county prosecutors, some of whom have over 70 municipalities in their jurisdiction. We’ve asked them to at least take a look at it. The idea is if you know somebody’s looking over your shoulder, you’re going to be more likely to take it seriously for fear that you’re going to be called on the carpet.

One of the things we’re looking at doing in our new use of force policy is requiring that every chief sign off on an annual report to the prosecutor’s office about the use of force by their department and requiring them to analyze and sign off on every use of force at some level. By requiring that they focus on it, it hopefully will encourage that the chiefs realize this is important. There are a lot of important things, but this is very important. It’s got to be looked at.

I believe the IA process is challenging, in part, for some reasons that folks have noted recently in the news: that even if the chief imposes discipline, it’s then subject to arbitration as well as appeal to the courts. This process can undermine the certainty of the discipline. We need to find a balance that allows the chief to exercise reasonable discipline, subject to due process, but does so in a way that’s swifter and more predictable. Right now, I think that’s one of the gaps we have in our system.

RH: If I understand it right, you guys [New Jersey] are one of the only five states in the country who don’t have a decertification process today. Is that correct?

TE: That’s correct.

RH: Not saying it’s super effective, but that it is not a tool if someone hops around or if there are other problems. It’s not available as a tool today to try to get in front of some issues.

TE: That’s exactly right. We have a Police Training Commission that does the initial training of officers. One of the things that was part of the excellence in policing was to have them make a decision about whether they recommend a licensing. And earlier this summer, they did come out unanimously in favor of a licensing or certification regime that would involve decertification as well.

What that’s going to do is put a floor on the process, and allow a statewide look at setting minimum standards — not only to become a police officer. In the past, there has not been even psychological testing that was required before somebody could go to the police academy. With this change, minimum standards would be there, which is important.

It would also likely require continuing education and training, keeping up with use of force policies, along with other policies that the Attorney General issues.

It will create a mechanism to weed out the really bad apples. One of the things we did in the Internal Affairs reforms we put in place last December was to require every department that hires a police officer from another department to check the Internal Affairs records for that officer. Now, they’re not required to act on them. They could look at the records and say, “Gee, this person has five sustained uses of force, but I’m going to hire him anyway.” But that’s where the licensing comes in as a backstop if you see a pattern. Once it’s set up, it will enable a really robust licensing or certification regime.

RH: It sounds like we will all be watching how effective it is by having the county prosecutor play that new role, right? It could be a model for the nation. I’m sure we’ll learn the pros and cons to each piece of this reform, but sounds like you’re moving the ball forward.

Let me get a chance, Tom, to share some of those other reforms that you guys are doing at the state level?

TE: Sure. One of the things we’re doing is requiring that every use of force incident is reported in a statewide portal. Every time a police officer uses force in New Jersey, they’re required to fill out a detailed account through an online system. The report is then shared with the attorney general’s office, the chief of the officer’s department, and with the county prosecutor. We will have a system that’s tracking detailed information about all uses of force across the state.

We will learn when are they occurring…what are the circumstances under which they’re occurring? What’s the type of force used? Which force ends up resulting in injuries? What’s the resistance level that the force is being used against? These reports will provide a detailed picture that’s going to allow the chiefs to look at use of force among officers. Importantly, in larger departments, chiefs can look at trends that may not be apparent just from anecdotal review. It also allows the county prosecutors to look at those departments and say, “Why is it that these two similarly situated departments have wildly different amounts of force being used within their jurisdiction?”

All this tracking data will allow the county prosecutor to sit down with each chief and talk about what’s happening in their department: What are the reasons for use of force actions . . . there may be good reasons or there may not be. I think this process is really exciting — it’s going to lead to not only more effective reform, but by the same principle, if you know what you’re doing is going to be reported and reviewed, you’re going to be more careful about it. You’re going to be more thoughtful about actions taken.

Police officers, I hope, will always use force when it’s required and necessary for their protection and for the public’s protection. But I think they’ll be more judicious and conscious about it if they know they have to fill out a detailed report, and someone’s going to be looking at that report to see if it met the policies and procedures set forth by the department.

RH: Yes, that would be very consistent with the work that we’ve seen in the research across the country. Where we can’t speak to whether measurement changes behavior, we can certainly speak to the fact that what you described earlier rings true with national research — which is this confluence of what you brought up about . . . I’m going to call it ‘broken windows theory’. If it’s the officers who are swearing who may also be more likely to be involved in using force earlier than called for, our research shows that if you are struggling in one area, you’re going to be struggling in multiple areas — it’s usually not isolated.

Being able to look at use of force patterns could be part of understanding how all factors work together. It makes tons of sense and congratulations. You guys [New Jersey] are, from our research of all 50 states, the first state to not only require but actually have it executed statewide. Benchmark is lucky to be part of the story and we’re happy to be able to serve where we can.

Don’t miss Part 2 in our post Our Work in Progress and Reflections on Policing in the Past, where Mr. Eicher discusses new polices his state is implementing to improve transparency and accountability, moving toward a more effective, evidence-based early intervention system — as well as sharing his thoughts on various policing reforms over time and the need to look at the criminal justice system as a whole.

This interview from October 2020 has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 2 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and Chuck Wexler, Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). In this entry, Mr. Wexler shares his thoughts on agency culture, reviewing use of force incidents captured on camera from other agencies to collaborate on generating new policies and procedures for desired outcomes . . . as well as the need to invest in the future of policing in meaningful ways rather than defunding the police.

RH: Chuck, I’d like to go a little bit deeper dive on culture…and for those of you who don’t know, Chuck publishes interviews six days a week (through PERF). I would say it’s pretty compelling…and for those who don’t subscribe to that email, I have found it super important as a way to hear the voices of other folks and what they’re struggling with…and I think your decades of experience helps in synthesizing that information.

You had a column that you published in your email, that you said to me got the most response — and I found it very compelling. It was about Monday morning quarterbacking. Can you give us a quick summary, Chuck, of what you advocated for and why it’s such a sea change from what’s occurring today in American policing?

Chuck: Well, the area that I find the most fascinating and has the most opportunity for change and reform is the one that’s least talked about — and that’s culture…the culture of an organization. I’ve gone into literally hundreds of police departments in the country, as you have Ron, and you walk into a department and you can feel what kind of culture it is. And there’s not just one culture in a police department, there’s the 11th District culture…there’s detective culture, and so on. The point is that culture, in so many ways, drives policy and action.

Like you, I think America has been exhausted from the videos that are seen, whether it’s in Kenosha, or it’s Rochester or George Floyd or it’s Ferguson…it’s exhausting. I began to think about this and I began to think about culture. You know, we teach ICAT, which is Integrated Communication Assessment Tactics, which is going to change policing. When we were in that class with people, we would show them videos because my folks view videos every single day. We’ve been doing this for five years on every officer-involved shooting. We have a Google search engine that’s picking them up, looking at them, analyzing them…and that’s how we develop our training. When you show these videos to a class of police, the first thing they do is they fold their arms, they cock their head about 45 degrees, and someone raises their hand and says, “You weren’t there. We shouldn’t be commenting on it.” We all look at him; we know it’s at that moment they’re in charge of the informal culture in that room.

You have to work through that issue with them. For people who are such tough guys, they can be very sensitive about criticism, and so forth. They want to protect each other — understood. However, today, what we know is with 18,000 police departments and all these videos, if you don’t take that video, and you don’t use that video in your own department and say, “What would happen if we had this situation?” You’re wasting an opportunity.

The idea is this terrible thing happened, like Rochester, for example. You look at that situation, and you say to yourself, “Okay, it’s three o’clock in the morning, we get this call, we have this naked person, we think he’s on PCP…how would we handle that in our city?” My point is that we need to be doing Monday morning quarterbacking and policing because that’s the way the field is going to change. It’s not going to change if we say we can’t talk about that because we weren’t there. That’s the old thinking.

The new thinking is, “This is a terrible thing that happened. How can we learn about that so that maybe a terrible thing won’t happen to our community? And it’s okay…maybe we don’t have the answers.” I’ve even said, take that video from Rochester, and go into a community and bring stakeholders together and show them the video and say, “What should we do in our community? Should the police own this or should a social service agency? Are they available at three o’clock in the morning? Would you like to come with us to that call?”

There’s a way to take these tragedies and use them in a way that’s helpful to your own community so that people get a sense, first of all, how your own department would perform. Sometimes you’ll find out it’s almost like how the NTSB does it with airplanes when they crash…they try to figure it out. This is different. This is much lower risk because you’re not doing your own department. I still believe in that. Chris Magnus in Tucson is doing a magnificent good job but this is a way in which every day you can be teaching your department and learning where you have gaps. “Would we do this? Do we have policy on this? No, we don’t. Oh, okay.” So, I think that’s how policing is going to change. That’s all culture. We have to write this policy. We have to train this way, but what happens in the real world, does that make sense?

RH: To me, it makes a ton of sense. The challenge to do that is you have to make it safe for people and it’s a hard thing to do. Chuck, you know them but a lot of people probably don’t — in my many jobs in life, I was the CEO of the Chicago Transit Authority. I had a few derailments while I was the CEO and the NTSB came out, and the train operator was in the room, the Union was in the room, I was in the room, the NTSB was in the room and it was designed in a way that was safe. We were all just trying to figure out what went wrong in the system so that we could ultimately fix it and make it less likely to happen in the future…and it was wildly effective because we would always end up with action items.

CW: It’s interesting because when you are doing it on your own, there are some risks involved. Let’s face it, it’s like, you can uncover, “Oh, my God, we didn’t do this,” but it is what it is because someone’s going to find out so it’s better to find out right away. What I’m talking about in some ways is very low risk because it happened in someone else’s jurisdiction. You’re trying to learn from it. It’s almost like a very low-risk, high-outcome kind of thing where you have the value of sitting around with your colleagues and say, “What if five officers respond to that?” You’ve seen that in Chicago, right? You can have five people respond and one of those officers somehow knows that the other four are doing something wrong, but he or she doesn’t know how to deal with it — “What do I say? What do I do? This doesn’t feel right”.

RH: I think one of the most befuddling, challenging things for folks to wrap their head around, is this idea of de-fund the police. I think that’s the case because no one really understands what it is. It’s more of a response or an outcry. Two questions, Chuck. One is, what do you think de-fund the police actually means? Why do you think this has become a thing in certain cities in the US?

CW: Well, it’s interesting. I’m just going to go back to Ferguson; if you look at that period, what did reform look like? Basically, it was about implicit bias training…and it was about body-worn cameras…it was about de-escalation. It was about those kinds of things…about training…it was about technology. Now with the George Floyd moment, I don’t think anyone expected that the response to this terrible incident would be how do we take resources away from the police department. It was counterintuitive. It almost felt like people were angry that we can’t fix the police, so let’s reduce the police. Let’s have other people do what the police should be doing.

We did a survey and we saw that about 48% of the police departments somehow have reduced their budget. Unfortunately, it had some impact. Now, I don’t know if that’s because of what’s happening with COVID-19, and the economy and taxes. I think some of that is there. I actually think what’s happening now is cooler heads are prevailing in most places, like in New Jersey and places where people say, “You know what, we need good police.”

The reality is, if you want to fix the police, it takes an investment. You have to invest in the police to fix the police. You look at Seattle. Seattle spent $100 million over five years to put in reforms. I think in terms of training, in terms of technology, in terms of technical assistance, those are relatively small pieces of a police department budget — 90% or 95% is personnel. If you have to cut a police department’s budget, you’re going to wind up either having to cut a class or not hire a class. Look, in New York, they went from $6 billion to $5 billion and in LA, they cut a quarter of a billion dollars. That’s huge…and you’re really impacting the future generations of that police department.

If you’re trying to change the culture, a big part of that is bringing new people in. I think that cooler heads are starting to prevail. It just seems to me counterintuitive if you’re trying to fix the police. Because if you’re trying to avoid that George Floyd situation or any of these situations, it means ultimately finding ways to get the police to respond differently. That requires attention, technology, training, hiring new people, and diversifying your workforce.

RH: Chuck, having run many large organizations like yourself, I can tell you, they only win when you invest in people in a meaningful way. When there is a death spiral of budget and cuts, the impact on morale is I think the exact opposite of what folks who are advocating for this would want to see happen. Rather than raising the standard, raising the expectation of conduct, investing in the training and the technology to achieve it, we’re seeing the opposite in some places.

CW: The only thing I have to measure this against was 2007 and 2008, when we had the great recession, and we did all sorts of reports on that period of time. It was really interesting because we run the Senior Management Institute for Police —you’ve been there, you know about it. What I found interesting was that departments, even though they had to cut back on hiring, they were sending people to SMIP. I remember talking to some people like Chuck Ramsey, and so forth, and I said, “You’re having to do this stuff.” And he said, “Well, you know what, we have to invest in the future.”

It was like you have to invest in people. I think those were the really great managers that recognized, I might have to cut here, but I want to make sure I’m sending my people. I want to make sure that we continue to move forward…even if we can’t hire new officers. I want to make sure I invest in my workforce.

RH: Chuck, we’re grateful for what you do. We’re grateful for the Police Executive Research Forum. For those folks who aren’t super familiar with it, it’s I can tell you certainly as someone who has been involved or watching or participating in this profession for a long time, I’ve always found the work that you and your organization have done have helped lead the way throughout a lot of difficult times. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 1 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and Chuck Wexler, Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). In this entry, Mr. Wexler shares his thoughts on the role of policing in addressing and adjusting to COVID-19, as well as the importance of building the right team reflective of values committed to honorable police practices.

RH: Chuck, we’re very grateful for the work that you do in policing. Let me start with a very broad question: Can you tell us a little bit about the current chapter of police reform? I don’t think back in February anyone would have predicted the impact of COVID-19 and certainly, I don’t think people would have predicted that police reform would have shot to the very top of what is on the minds of Americans and politicians in cities. What do you make of it?

CW: Well, I think it’s hard to talk about police reform outside of the context of COVID-19. I just think that you’ve had this combustible mixture from March to the period we’re in now in October. I think that’s important because we’re at an incredible point in American history – actually in world history. We wrote a publication back in 2007 on the pandemic and I thought when we were writing it, “Well, this will never happen.” We talked about quarantines…we talked about social distancing…the delivery of vaccines…the role of the police…what if people don’t want to social distance…what if people don’t want a quarantine…how to manage the economy, and all of those things.

Again, we wrote that back in 2007, almost 14 years ago. Then this thing hits and the police have been in the middle, insofar as being that response unit to all things that have happened as a result of the pandemic and the role that they’ve played in terms of social distancing; how they themselves have had to change during the pandemic, in terms of staffing…in terms of delivery of services…in terms of outsourcing things. Some departments have been devastated. Now, the NYPD has had 46 members of the department who have died, thousands who’ve gotten infected…while there are other departments around the country who have hardly been infected.

Then we’re into the second wave now. One of the things – and you would appreciate this – that’s so good about policing is the ability to adapt to any kind of emergency situation. You take the Yonkers Police Department and the police commissioner there — he realized in one of his areas of the city that his officers were getting infected…so he put them in one-officer cars.

People would say, “Why is that so significant?” Well, you have union agreements. You would never be able to put officers in one-response unit cars in any normal service. Everybody understood, like in New York and then Detroit, officers were infecting each other. Then in terms of dispatch and response, like in Detroit, you had

a dispatcher who got sick and actually, I believe, died. They had to close down the dispatch center and open up another just like that.

Policing was just getting into that groove — it’s almost like having a hurricane or 9/11 or Boston bomber situation, which is like a one-day thing. But what happens when that one-day event happens day after day after day. You have 12-hour shifts. And you have police command that are separated, like Dermot Shea, the police commissioner of New York and his first deputy — they’re never in the same room…they’re in different places. And you have mayors and police chiefs both getting it.

RH: If COVID had not occurred, what would have been the fallout from the George Floyd event, and how would that have impacted American policing versus how it actually did?

Chuck: That’s a really good question because COVID had this impact that people really don’t understand yet. Historians are going to look back at this period and try to figure out what was going on. Because you have this dynamic in which people are staying at home quarantining themselves, and we saw some crimes get lower, while other crimes increased. When the George Floyd incident happened, it was horrible. I mean, it was just devastating.

It reminded me to some degree of the Rodney King incident in terms of the visceral image of someone being beaten, or in this case, who subsequently died. But I wonder what happened when the demonstrations occurred across the country — they were demonstrations unlike anything we’ve seen since the ’60s, both in terms of the number, the degree, and so forth — I wonder if, to what degree the pandemic had on people in terms of getting out of their house, finally being outside expressing themselves…because I’ve also seen an increase in shootings and murders across the country.

I’ve been asking people about that, what impact does the pandemic have on relationships in terms of drug dealing, gang activity, and so forth? Some of that is about things that were happening to people, and that small things might lead to larger things very quickly. Gun sales went way up. So, I don’t know. What do you think?

RH: Chuck, it’s hard to say because I think that before George Floyd, there was a cumulative fatigue occurring in the public around police incidents. It was cumulative, Chuck, in my opinion, not because there has been any fundamental shift in policing, but because video cameras are so ubiquitous in every part of society, that events that historically would not have been that visceral video image, now are. I think much like you, Chuck, I think it’s hard to opine on or know the impact of COVID on the public outcry. But I think it’s very safe to say that long before George Floyd, there was a cumulative exhaustion happening, because the images of all police – and it goes to 800,000 police officers in the United States – and one event, ultimately reflected on everyone, over and over again, which is a complicated dynamic.

CW: I think that’s a really good point. I think that – and you know this because you were involved in Chicago at the time when I thought you were crazy when you installed all these cameras in Chicago ­– I thought, “Oh, my God, that will never work”. But it had a dramatic impact on people, neighborhoods, rather than people wanting them taken away and people thinking, “Oh, my God, big brother, this is surveillance.” They had exactly the opposite reaction. They actually felt safer walking around. I know you were really responsible for implementing that.

It’s interesting because we wrote the guidelines of body-worn cameras for the Justice Department. I remember writing the introduction to that, and basically saying that this is going to change things in ways we don’t know. When all these departments started adopting body-worn cameras, say five or six years ago around the time of Ferguson — what people thought was going to happen with body-worn cameras didn’t really happen. They thought body-worn cameras would prevent these incidents from happening. What body-worn cameras have done is actually captured footage and scenes that the American people don’t usually see. And you had all of these other cameras out there from citizens. What hasn’t changed, quite frankly, is the body-worn cameras haven’t changed how you handle some of these situations, they just record them. Now they may have changed or impacted other things – how you treat people – but at the end of the day, unless you change training and policy and culture, all you’re doing is recording it. It’s just a small footnote of how technology can sometimes have an impact but doesn’t always have the impact you expect.

RH: Yes, isn’t that true, Chuck? Let me ask you this, because you just touched on training and policy and culture. Chuck, you wake up tomorrow and you’re no longer the executive director of PERF, but you are a police chief of a major city. You’re putting your game plan together to figure out what would be your pathway. And, I would argue too, Chuck – and I think you’d likely agree – that whether it’s Chicago or Baltimore or New York or LA or Philadelphia…all of the large cities and midsize cities alike are struggling with the same issues of what we like to say is, restoring the honor of the badge, building back public trust and faith in the police. What would be some of the things that would be on the top of your list for your city, as a chief, to think about or implement to begin down that road?

Chuck: It’s a series of things in no particular order. I’m a big proponent, as I know you are, of Good to Great by Jim Collins. He’s someone I have a lot of respect for and I’ve done a lot of work with him. I think part of it is building your own team, getting the right people on the bus…the right people in the right seats. That management team is really important, how that is reflective of your values. When I look at situations police departments get into, I look at how that command staff communicates with each other. If something happens at two o’clock in the morning that’s a bad issue, how long does it take for that police chief to know what actually happened? In really well-run organizations, that can be very quick. In today’s society, communication is so important. You see police chiefs who handle these incidents really well.

In essence, the first part of the answer is, I want to get a command staff that is reflective of my values, which should be their values. Do they have – honesty, transparency, community sensitivity, responsiveness – all of those things. What’s going to be my relationship with the community? How am I going to manage that? Then look at the internal organization — so key indicators. Where do we stand on a whole set of factors? Where do we stand in terms of policy, high-risk situations? How are we going to handle that? What kind of organization, what kind of feedback loop do we have? If we screw up, how are we going to handle screw-ups? We know how to handle success. How do we handle failure?

RH: Let me challenge you on how to handle failure. I’m going to ask you to tell a story, Chuck, that you shared with me that has resonated with me almost more than any other police chief story that I’ve heard. It’s the idea of what do we do when we screw up? I would say, my opinion Chuck, is American policing has gotten dramatically better. We release tape, we call on the family, we get in front of it. We meet with community, we apologize. By the way, those are just dramatic shifts from even a year ago — the idea that a chief prior to a full investigation would say anything other than we need to let the investigation occur, is lost on the public. To those of us who’ve been deeply involved in policing, it’s a massive shift.

The story that I want to ask you about, Chuck, is a story related to not what you do when you mess up, but rather how do you try to limit the mess-ups before they occur? How do you get in front of that deeply problematic use of force event that will always look terrible on TV? When you and I had this conversation a year ago at IACP, we were sitting there in Chicago, not knowing about COVID-19, when you told me a story about John Timoney in Miami and what he did. Do you mind sharing that story of Chief Timoney and the dramatic impact he had on Miami?

CW: John Timoney is one of my heroes…a renaissance man who was also a street cop and very worldly. Any kind of use of force insights I have I owe to him to the greater degree. He came to the United States as an Irish immigrant with his brother. Basically, he worked his way up through the NYPD. He was there in that Camelot period of time when Bill Bratton became police commissioner in the early ’90s. He had a meteoric rise…he was like a one-star and he was made a four-star…a legendary person in the NYPD because he had the big picture. He was very smart. He was very well-regarded by his peers.

Bratton saw this in him and promoted him. He was a major part of the Bratton team. I would say he was one of the three or four key people. So, he does that, and then he becomes Philadelphia Police Commissioner, where he made some major changes. Then he comes to Miami, where he was also president of PERF. He and I really knew each other for 20 years. He’s really good at diagnosing issues. The one thing he understood better than anyone was use of force.

So, Miami had a major Justice Department investigation…a memorandum of agreement or consent decree, basically, because Miami had been involved in a pattern of use of force cases. But he had these good people around him and he had to identify how to deal with use of force.

He did a series of things. He changed the use of force policies, he brought many of the lessons from New York — don’t shoot at cars, firearms discharge review. Then he recognized that a number of officers were involved in a series of use of force incidents. He actually looked at that himself, and he identified the officers that had been involved in these use of force situations. He basically took them off the street and put them in places where they couldn’t cause harm.

In some ways, it was like he had this intuitive early warning system in which basically, using his good judgment, he looked into these situations: “Wait a second, look at these guys. They’ve been involved in a series.” He identified them and took them off the street. Then something unusual happened. Miami went 21 months without an officer-involved shooting. It was remarkable. He used to pride himself on that; he’d say, “Chuck, got another month, another month.” Importantly, crime went down, use of force off the charts. He then went back to the Justice Department and said, “Look what we’ve done.” They sent him a letter saying, “You are now in compliance.” It was really an amazing story.

RH: Chuck, right before he came, there had been a large number of officer-involved shootings.

CW: There had been a series of them. He inherited a department that had a series of abuse instances and the Justice Department investigated and he comes into that and on his own, he does it. But here is the postscript to this story: This is like an experiment, a real experiment. So, then he leaves…another police chief comes in, let’s call him the “un-Timoney”. He comes in, he takes those officers, puts them back on the street, and the shootings start to go way up and the Justice Department comes back. True story.

RH: Chuck, this is what so deeply resonated with me when you and I were meeting and you shared that story with me. What resonated is that that is exactly what Benchmark as a research organization does and sees — is that you have a small group of officers who are repetitively using dramatically higher levels of force more often. And ultimately, the argument that I make over and over again whenever I get the audience of Chiefs, is that it’s a noble thing and that everyone can be Timoney, in my opinion. Because if you do nothing else, but in a non-punitive, non-disciplinary way, find a better fit for those officers where we know they have a pattern of force that gets used over and over again, is just an easy button, if you will, to try to get in front of what are incredibly complicated incidents.

Timoney is now my hero as well. I was lucky enough when I was a young police officer in the Chicago Police to have met him. He was a legend back then and hearing him talk about the profession and about force was super compelling.

Don’t miss Part 2 of this conversation, where Mr. Wexler discusses generating new policies and procedures for desired outcomes and the need to invest in the future of policing.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

The following is part 2 of 2 in our IACP Leadership Series conversation between Benchmark CEO Ron Huberman and the legendary Chuck Ramsey, former Chief of Police, Washington, DC; former Police Commissioner of Philadelphia; and Co-Chair of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. In this entry, Mr. Ramsey underscores the importance of knowing one’s community as well as the importance of creating a culture that reflects what is expected and will not be tolerated.

RH: Chuck, let’s say you wake up tomorrow, and you look around and you have a uniform on and you’re a chief again in a major city in America. I think certainly from my dialogue with chiefs across the country – and you talk to chiefs every day – it’s probably never been harder to be a police chief — but here you are. You got a large police force. You have all the challenges that every city has, whether it’s Chicago or Baltimore or Philly or DC or you name it. What do you do? How do you start to lead in the current environment? It might be the same playbook, but what is on your list of  ‘I have got to get these things right from the start’?

CR: First of all, let me just say that I think the tougher job than being a police chief in today’s environment is being a police officer in today’s environment. At least as a police chief, you have some way of influencing the current and the future. Whereas as a police officer, you’re at the whim of whatever it is that’s going on. I just want to just say that because it’s tough, very tough for the men and women that are out there trying to do the job the best they can. I think it starts with communication, both internal and external. I think it starts there.

I think it’s important to have those lines of communication with people, even those people whose opinion and whose views may be totally – in fact, it’s even more important – totally opposite from what you believe and what you feel. You have to at least try to establish lines of communication. Take a serious look at where you are and what it is that you’re doing as an agency, and you might need to have someone from the outside come in and take a critical look because when you’re a part of it, you’re so close to it, you don’t always see it. What are we doing? How are we managing our personnel? Do we really know what’s going on out there? Are we really stepping in?

Let’s take early intervention for an example. If an officer has a history of engaging in certain kind of misconduct…and it may not be use of force. Could be verbal. Could be anything, but it’s not consistent with policy. Do we know who they are? I’ve often said the good news is you can identify them; the bad news is you’ve identified them now you’ve got to do something with it. The key is, now that we know, what do we have in place to change the behavior of the individual? Because police agencies are primarily punishment-driven and giving a person three days off doesn’t necessarily change behavior. What is it that we’re going to do if that’s really the goal?

Early intervention, having an information system or personnel management system that will identify individuals at your earliest possible point…put in place those mechanisms to be able to intervene early on and say, ‘Hey, we just don’t do that’. Do it in a way in which it goes beyond just that one officer but the other officers too — because to me, real change in a police department isn’t going to come from whoever’s sitting on top or a software. It’s going to be when the culture of the organization itself will not tolerate certain behaviors that are out of the norm because that’s not what the agency stands for. It’s not what the culture stands for, but you have to use these tools to get you there. That’s the ultimate goal. That’s the kind of thing I’d be focused on right now.

Learn from those that have experience. Learn from Minneapolis. Learn from these other cities. Even back in the days when we were more concerned with terrorist attacks…if it occurred somewhere else, I would ask my people, ‘Okay, if that happened here, how would we handle it? What are our resources? What are our capabilities? What can we do? Do we actually know what we can do, and more importantly, what we’re incapable of doing’? You have to do that sort of thing. If that officer was a problem, how come they didn’t identify him? If he was a member of our department, would we have identified him? If we had identified him, what we would have done with him?

RH: The one thing that just struck me so much when I came back to Benchmark after running the Chicago Public School System…I spent an inordinate amount of time asking the question, “How do we make our teachers more effective?” We had some phenomenal talent, unbelievably great teachers. We had some teachers who struggled. Ultimately, the idea was never let’s be punitive…let’s go be disciplinary with the teachers who are struggling. The collective question of the organization was, ‘How do we invest in these teachers to become effective’? In the world of policing in the year 2020, in the history of humankind, if you were to say show me an evidence base of interventions that help police be better…that enabled them to do what is an incredibly hard job more effectively — it doesn’t exist. I’m excited to say, we’re trying in partnership with our academic partners and others to develop it, but we’ve got a long way to go in the profession in supporting the frontline in that way. These are super important things you’ve always talked about.

Regarding culture — something that I’ve heard you talk about over and over again with tremendous passion is the role of that frontline supervision…your street sergeants and others. Can you talk about what you did and what you would do as a chief to get that supervision? The command staff is easier. You’re not talking about 500 people. You’re talking about folks you can directly talk to. But when you start getting down to lieutenants and sergeants who are ultimately in charge for all practical purposes more than almost anyone else, how do you win over those ranks in terms of your vision, your values, where you want the culture to go?

CR: There are a couple things. You point out a critical rank in the department. That’s that first line supervisor. That’s that sergeant. Because I remember, when I was a young police officer, I cared more about who my sergeant was than I cared about who the district commander was because I had to deal with the sergeant every day. District commander was pretty much a picture on the wall. If I was unlucky, I’d be walking down the hall at the same time he was, and you turn your head so he didn’t pay any attention to you. We’ve got to invest in our people in terms of their training and education, and there’s just not enough of it.

Some departments have pre-service training, let’s say, for sergeants. They put them through all the things — your roles, your responsibilities, and so forth. Some go so far as to even have an FTO system for new sergeants where they match them up with veteran sergeants for a period of time to learn what’s going on. I think all those things are important, but there’s a basic flaw in the system of policing in our promotional system.

The only way you can make more money in the average police agency is through the promotional process, which means that you’ve got people who are smart enough to pass a multiple-choice exam, but they have no interest in leading others. They have no interest in supervising, but they need more money. How do you carve out those folks and have people that truly are committed to leadership, truly are committed to that? You mentioned that at the top it’s easier – maybe in some ways but in other ways not so much – because we don’t do anything in policing to develop the next generation of leaders, or at least not enough. We have 18,000 police departments. Do you honestly think you’ve got 18,000 good police chiefs and sheriffs? I know we don’t. Until we really address the issue of really grooming people and preparing them, not only for the current role that they’re going to be in but get them ready for the next step.

When I went to DC, and I’ve seen it in other agencies, they didn’t even have a good job description for any rank above police officer, entry-level. We had to create one for sergeant, create one for lieutenant, create one for captain. In the Washington DC police department, they did not have it. What was the knowledge, skills, and ability needed for this rank, assuming that you have all that when you make the new rank, but what’s different? What is it that you need? How do we prepare you in advance? Not wait until you get there and then find out you can’t handle it. Now we got to try to bury you somewhere. What do we do in order to try to prepare you? It’s complicated. It’s complex, but it’s fixable. It’s going to really take an effort to really get serious about leadership development in police agencies, and don’t wait until somebody makes sergeant. From the time a person comes in and you know this person has their eye on not staying at that level forever, what are we doing to enhance their abilities?

RH: One of the things I think we make very hard on ourselves is we let the lawyers have too much of a voice because ultimately, what has happened is promotional exams in too many places have been reduced to what you said, which is a multiple-choice exam. A multiple-choice exam doesn’t identify ethics. It doesn’t identify leadership. You can usually answer policy right. You might be able to answer situational awareness questions right, but test taking and leadership are two completely different pieces. If you don’t make sergeant, you’re not going to make chief.

One of the research projects that we have going on at Benchmark with our partners is this — because we have people’s performance data, how do they actually do as the police. Can they navigate with good de-escalation skills? Can they navigate where they have good activity? Do they navigate in a way where there is powerful community engagement and the like? Can we use that data where the baseline for promotion becomes your performance on the job where there’s never a promotional exam? Because we have everything we need to know who’s the leader today, and let’s use that information as a way to understand promotion versus a one-time high stakes exam that ultimately may or may not pay off for folks.

CR: The other thing, if I could just add one thing. Most systems are geared toward identifying people who aren’t doing things right as opposed to identifying people who are doing things right and then going back and digging a little deeper to find out what are those characteristics…what are those traits…what are those things about people who are able to successfully de-escalate situations? People who really show good leadership — what is it about them that distinguishes them from the person who’s one of our frequent fliers, who’s always into something that they got no business being in?

You could say some of this is recruitment and hiring and all that, but it’s more than that once you’re on the job, I think. I think if we focus more on that and at least make that a big part of the picture…because when you really stop and think about it, what would a good 21st-century police officer look like? What are those skills and abilities? What are those talents that they need to bring to the table? We need to be building that image, and I think if we did that and if we had a system that could actually help us do that, that would be absolutely remarkable.

RH: Here’s what I would tell you, Chuck. This is my thesis on it. I can tell you as a research organization – and for those who don’t know, we were born out of research done at the University of Chicago – is I would argue we know that today, meaning we have ways that we can assess what is the community’s perception, community engagement for someone. We know their activity level. We know how they use force. We know whether they get citizen complaints. We know if they’re effective depending on the job they’re in, if they’re effective preliminary investigators. We see it because we can baseline.

We know, here’s what the average officer does. Here’s what someone does, and if they do it in a way where folks don’t get hurt and they’re able to still be an effective police officer, there is a pathway to say we can find the best and brightest among us and find a way that we put them on a trajectory to great leadership. Because ultimately, I’m agreeing with you, Chuck, every time you said it. Today is Chuck Ramsey’s greatest hits that I’ve heard over many, many years of being someone who has followed you, is we can change the equation. Because, as you’ve said, those frontline supervisors, if we pick the right ones, every officer in their command is ultimately going to get to the right place because ultimately, it’s their watch. Everyone else is a picture on the wall.

CR: That opens the door for better education of police chiefs to know what that 21st-century cop should look like. What are the skills and abilities? Because that drives your recruiting…because if you know that, then that’s who you go after. If you look at many police departments, we say we want people who are community-oriented. We want people who have good de-escalation skills. We want diversity. We list all this stuff. Play the recruitment video of that same department. What are they showing? SWAT knocking down the door…helicopters…boats going down the river or lake. It’s all the Type A personality stuff. Who do you think you’re going to get to apply?

It’s not that you don’t need some people who can do that stuff because you do, but is that what an average police officer does on a regular basis? No. We have that information. We know it, but we got to share it and make sure that everybody is aware because that drives so much if we really want to change. Because who you hire today is who you’re stuck with for the next 30 years. You better make a good decision upfront because if all you’re relying on is being able to fire somebody or discipline him for the next 30 years, is that really what you want to do? I don’t think so.

RH: We are grateful for your service to our nation. We’re grateful for what you’ve done for policing. We’re certainly grateful for your role here at Benchmark. We appreciate your time and your ability to share all that great expertise and experience you built over all those years. Thank you, Chuck.

This interview has been edited for clarity.