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So there's no risk for you to try it out. Remember, you can only get the new Teater fits by an inversion table plus three gravity boots by going to Teater Dotcom slash Rogen. That's t e tr dotcom slash Rogen. All right. My guest today is a police psychologist and a professor at California State University at Fullerton, and she came on the podcast to discuss insights in current issues in policing. The psychology of it was very insightful, the psychology of the pressure of the job and what what it takes to help officers and what could be done to improve a lot of these things.
It was very, very insightful. I hope you enjoy it.
Please welcome Nancy Pinza government podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience Train My Day Job podcast, my night all day. Hello, Nancy. Hi, Joe. How are you? I am doing well. Thanks for being here. Thank you for having me. Thanks for letting me come and talk. My pleasure.
So tell everybody what you do. So I am well, my day job. I'm a professor in the psychology department at Cal State Fullerton and in my side gig I am a forensic and police psychologist.
That is a very appropriate subject for the strange times we find ourselves in right now. Indeed.
So as you are watching all this play out from the George Floyd murder to where we're at right now, what what has this been like for you since this is your field of study?
It's a weird place to be. And you're kind of, for me, caught in between two worlds, it seems. I mean, my job is to take care of police officers. So keep them healthy, keep them well to make sure that they can do a good job doing their jobs.
And so the first thing I see is if we got a mess on our hands for me, when I see a lot of the videos that end up, you know, on on TV, my initial reaction is, well, let's have a look. Is there something really to be upset about here? And well, obviously, and seeing that the video of George Floyds murder, there's a whole lot to be upset about here.
And so, you know, heartache comes from that. And then my you know, my next response is to kick in is, OK, we've got problems on both sides. We need to not only figure out why such things are happening and prevent them, because that's not good. Nobody wants bad policing. Even the police don't want bad policing. On the other hand, how do we also take care of our officers who are out there who now have to go out and continue doing their jobs in a really difficult and overwhelming environment?
Yeah, it's such a strange time because on one hand, you got all these people that are calling out for defunding the police. And, you know, this is here's a point of view that Ben Shapiro had when he talked about the protests.
He said he said saying they're mostly peaceful protests is like saying O.J. Simpson had a mostly peaceful day when he killed Nicole Simpson because he was only violent for a couple of minutes. The rest of the day, he was it was mostly peaceful. And he's like, that's a good way to describe the protests. I think you could also say the same thing about the police department. The police department and police officers are mostly good people doing a good job. But the problem is when one out of all these millions of interactions, when one goes bad or there's a bad officer, people see that, they highlight that.
And then they say this is the. These are the cops, I don't think that's true. I've met a lot of great police officers. I know a lot, and it's an insanely difficult job. I don't think they get paid enough. I don't think they get respected enough. I don't think they get trained well enough. I had Djoko Willingdon here, who's a former Navy SEAL commander, and yet his perspective is very clear. He's like, they do not train enough.
He goes, if I was in control, they would be trained 20 percent of their time, 20 percent of their work would be spent in training, de-escalation drills, safety drills, how to handle things. If one of your partners is losing his cool all all sorts of drills that they should be doing that they do do in the Navy SEALs that they should be doing in the police department as well. Yep.
I listen to your your podcast with JoCo on it. And I was I was blown away actually. I listened to it twice. I listened to it the first time. I was like, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I loved everything that he had to say. Well, he's a real leader. He's so good. He's so good.
And his idea about training was I mean, I in full agreement and for the 20 percent training thing would be would be super hard, especially now where we are, because money is going away, not coming in, because that would mean 20 percent of the force would be off training and we'd need that many more officers and that many people on duty, you know, to fill in the act. So, you know, while that would be a dream and I think he's right, all those skills that you need, if you're not actively you know, if you're not actively training and keeping them up to par, they're going to they're going to go away.
Yeah. Decay. But on top of what he said, the piece where I was like, yeah, but let me come in and talk with you, too, is, is that, you know, he thinks like the warrior that he is, you know, Navy SEAL, super tough guy talking about firearms. And he's right. The firearms training is probably not enough. But what's even more so, especially in today's world and society, is that when you look at the the makeup of a police academy training, you know, first of all, it's it's so short and they do they get field training after that for a long period of time.
And so that that's good. It balances it out. But the content of the academy, you know, by far most of that time in training is spent learning laws, learning that kind of textbook of of what it is to be a cop and how to function.
And then the other parts, there's the physical training and the firearms training. But if you look at what happens once a police officer gets out there on the job and what they're doing, a huge percentage of it is in communicating. And there is almost none, almost none. You know, the example I think of that comes to mind most. When I prior to being at Cal State Fullerton, I was a faculty member at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
And so in the city we worked we did some trainings with the NYPD and we had a contract to de-escalate in training. So when the recruits are coming through the academy, they would come over to John Jay and we would have police trainers and and us the psychologists would come in and we have these wonderful actors who are trained to portray individuals with mental illness. And we did this interactive de-escalation training. Teach them how to talk to somebody, how to.
What do you say that's going to help bring someone down as opposed to. And it was this, you know, OK, ready. Here goes this training scenario. We pull these rookies up who are scared to death, give them like a block gun, say, OK, got like woodblock, not a real weapon, you know, go to it and and engage this individual. And our actors are were brilliant and portray these individuals with mental illness wonderfully.
And, you know, inevitably they'd come in hot and things, you know, screaming erupts and the rookies going for their gun.
And we're like, OK, OK, OK, hold up, stop. Let's talk about what just happened from the psychology side. We kind of explain here's what's going on. Here's why that didn't work with this type of individual. The police, you know, would come in on the tactics side and we'd say, OK, rewind, do over. And then we would run them through the scenario and we would keep stopping and starting in this interactive, like hands on training.
By the end of the day, they were like, I learned more today than I learned in the last two months. Yeah, but we got them for one day, right. Six hours. And then that's it, you know, so that whole constant training and giving the skills, not just the firearms and the tactics and the, you know, how to use force properly, but also the communication and dealing with these stressful situations and distressed individuals, because that is what they do non-stop day in and day out.
Yeah, I, I know what you're saying. When you were talking about how difficult it would be to actually have them trained twenty percent of the time. Right. But I don't think it's difficult enough that we should ignore it. I think I think if obviously I'm never going to be in control, but if I was in control, I would say that's how it's got to be. We have to hire more people. We need I think they need way more people, way better training.
And I think there also has to be evaluations in terms of like how are they dealing with stress, because it's not just how to de-escalate, how to deal with a situation with with a possible criminal, but also how are you dealing with the fact that every time you go to work, you might get shot?
You might. Not ever come home to your family. How many times do you see suicides, how many times you see murders, how many times you see car accidents and all that stuff weighs on a person? Absolutely. And all those police officers that see that stuff every day, depending entirely upon and that's one of the things Jogo talked about, their psychological makeup. He talked about it with soldiers, that some soldiers can see some crazy shit and be like, it's OK, I'm good to go.
And then other soldiers like, I'm fucked up. I don't know what to do here. I have anxiety. I can't sleep. I'm I'm a nervous wreck.
Same thing is true for four cops. Some folks are they can go through, you know, have the worst call that you could imagine. Death, Gore, you know, loss of a child's life. I mean, these things are horrific and they see it and, you know, they they react and it's awful.
But they recover and and they're OK the next day. And then, you know, on the opposite hand, you've got somebody who has maybe a less intense or, you know, a less horrific call and it just puts them over the edge. And, you know, from the psychology side, you know, we've studied this. We've looked at this. What how can we tell?
Is there a way we can predict, you know, what type of event, what type of person who who's likely to to to fall apart, to end up with, you know, post-traumatic stress disorder? Can we tell who's likely to develop, you know, a clinical syndrome later? And that's the short answer is we can't there are some things that that we know. And obviously, you know, some of them are really logical if you're in a higher state of stress, if you've already got vulnerabilities going in, you're, you know, going through a divorce at home and unhappy on the job and drinking too much outside.
And you've got all these other things that are already, you know, festering underneath. And then you also are put in front of that. You know, it's not surprising that that may be that would push somebody over the edge into a really troubling place. But other times. You know, it's really hard thing to predict, and so instead we need to be there and be on it and there I mean, there's so many things that can add in about, you know, how we do that in ways that we're really falling short, which is kind of my my passion and where I am these days in trying to do a much better job of being on, you know, what we would call officer wellness, because we've historically done a really shitty job.
Is there a standard procedure when someone comes back from, say, witnessing a murder, is there a standard way that they interact with them across all police departments, or is it depending upon the department? And what set up the sheriff or the the police chief has put in place very much depending on the department and what they put in place.
So when it comes to like the mental health and psychology, the the things that we do with departments are it's it's very standard these days. Like I think the numbers show about 80, 90 sorry, 98 percent of departments do a pre-employment psychological evaluation before they're hired. That's what I spend the majority of my time doing is screening people who are starting the job. So that part is very normal to do. And I tell you all about that process. Beyond that, what happens from there on out is very much up in the air.
Depends on the department. Some departments require a what we would call a, you know, a critical incident debriefing. So some of the agencies that I work with Will, if somebody is involved or there's a major incident, every officer who is on scene there will come in and do a debriefing with me or with another psychologist to check in afterwards. And a lot of that is just where are they? How are they in this in this moment? Are they OK to go home?
Are they safe? And education, which is a judgment call? It is.
It's a judgment call in the ones that I've done. I would say most of the time it feels pretty clear cut. Most of the time folks are either they're doing all right. They're a little shaken up, which is normal.
I mean, anybody who experiences something life threatening is going to be off off at that point.
So a lot of what we do in those in those debriefings is education. I have these little hand outs that I give to all the officers that go through and say, this is what you are likely feeling right now. This is what you're likely to feel in the next couple of days. And anything kind of goes. You know, we say in those first few days, whatever your feeling is, is is probably OK.
But then over the course of the first week, we expect people to settle in and to start recovering. And if you're not, then we want to start paying attention to the ways. Are you still not sleeping? Are you having nightmares? Are you having, you know, what's going on? And, you know, again, varies by department. Some of them will then also offer up to four sessions to come back and continue meeting to see them through that kind of early adjustment phase.
And then if they're still struggling at that point, at the end, then we can refer them to longer term for treatment. And if everything looks fine, then we say, OK, you know, resume duty or cleared to go back. So that that initial meeting afterwards is is mandatory, at least for the departments that choose to do it. That's a mandatory couple of sessions afterwards, are not. They're there if needed. And then from there, we kind of set the path like all good, clear or let's carry on and keep, you know, keep working with you until you can recover.
Do you support this idea that it should be controlled locally by each individual police department, or do you think there should be a nationwide mandate, like some sort of a standard operational procedure where they they treat everyone the same way, train everyone the same way, deal with every single murder suicide, child death, and they have like a protocol that they follow. So it's just standard across the country based on science.
I, I do. I think many of these things, these fundamental pieces should be mandatory. I think pre-employment psychological evaluation is an absolute must. And and again, most agencies do that piece. I think the critical incident debriefing are an absolute must and should always occur, and they should be mandatory because that takes away the stigma. You know, no cop wants to come see the shrink. They see you coming in. They're like out of here, like, no, keep the shrink away.
Well, they're probably trying to deal with it their own way. Yeah. And then somebody that they don't even know who comes in and starts probing and asking questions and they see some guy in a suit, maybe he's never even seen a dead body. And you want to say, shut the fuck up, man, I know what I'm doing. Let me just go back out there and go to work.
And the other things that feed into that are I mean, obviously, we know law enforcement just like military.
The culture is very I'm in control. Right. I got this. I don't need your help. I am tough. I am, you know, and supported by each other.
Yeah. And we saw each other. Right. And so that that culture doesn't make it inviting to come and talk to a, you know, a shrink or an outside person, you know, and. And the other part is that officers are really fearful of losing their jobs, right? You know, having their livelihood taken away, that's a huge deal.
And depending on the psychologist, if they're seeing somebody who is not familiar with law enforcement culture or who is, you know, real quick to judge and to jump on that. No, no, we can't have this person out there with a badge and a gun.
Sure. You know, there's a really delicate line there. You obviously don't want somebody who's unstable to be out there. We want to take care of them and get them healed before. But at the same time, this is someone's livelihood. This is their this is their being. This is who they are. And to take that away haphazardly or carelessly or needlessly is is really scary.
And so they they really do need to have that front. So that's why, you know, like the mandatory debriefing is so important, because if it's we're going to pick you and you and you the rest, you guys are fine. Then they've been singled out.
And it's also like it's a subjective judgment call. Right. So that's where it gets weird. I mean, and I can make a comparison to refereeing in fights. Some referee stop fights where other referees would let the fights go on like this, really. And it makes people so angry when they stop a fight quickly. If someone comes in and says this guy is not ready, he can't go back on the force. And the guy's like, what are you talking about?
I'm fine, right? Maybe he is fine. And maybe the guy just has a weird sense of people. And so, like, when you have judgment calls like that, like what criteria are they using? Are they using just their own personal opinion? Do they have to fit a set of guidelines? Like what? When they say this guy is not fit to go back on the street, he's seen too much. He's too shaken up by this murder scene.
Like, how how do they make that call?
So it kind of depends on what scenario you're making that decision. So there's two different levels that are most likely. So the the debriefing is usually unless the person is completely shaken.
Let's let's let's let's do a scenario. Let's say a guy pulls some guy over, the guy reaches for a gun, shoots at the officer, the officer shoots the person, kills him, you know, big investigation news, the whole deal. The guy's on television. They show the body cam footage, and then this guy has to do an evaluation and then go back to work again. How would one decide whether or not that guy's OK to go back to work?
Probably going to look at multiple factors. Mental state, basic mental state is are starting. And how do you do that?
So questions in the debriefing were unlikely to pull into our bag of tests, which, you know, in the other scenarios, big psych eval is we're going to dig into our test.
That's what we do, a psychology test, you know, like fMRI eyes or anything like that, like MMPI. Let me throw out other letters, like the personality tests and tests that show different levels of, you know, of pathology or clinical issues and problems, anxiety, depression, you know, borderline dysfunction. You do a physical examination, check their heart rate.
I would pressure as a psychologist, I would not. So what I'm looking at is their mental state and just basically their overall functioning. So are they are they able to go about their daily activities? You know, and if this is right after the scene, I won't I won't know this yet. If it's right after the scene, I will be going and sitting down and talking with them. If they want to talk about what happened and kind of run through the scenario, we have them do that.
That can be very telling. If they're comfortable sharing that that detail, are they able to describe it? Are they able to get through it without breaking down? Are they able to talk, you know, sort of clearly, even emotionally, as is expected and fine. In fact, somebody who has zero emotion after that, I would be like, what? You know, what's happening? What are you feeling?
But in that, you know, immediate part after it's really just looking to see what's going on, what's happening, are they able to function? Are they able to safely go home? Are they having any thoughts about hurting themselves? Are they you know, are they feeling like they are, you know, kind of losing their mind? Anything that just is completely out in left field? What we often do is we're going to go on the scene only if the agency wants someone to check in right there.
I more often than not see them a day later. Usually it's our rule here is within the first 48 hours. So I'll see them within the first couple of days afterwards and they'll come in. And at that point, they've been able to get through at least one night of sleep. I can see if they're sleeping, if they're eating, if they've spoken to anyone, are they having any major, really strong emotional reactions? And so we're kind of looking to see what are you feeling, what are you thinking, what's happening?
And and is it kind of within the realm of what we would expect? And do you need any additional supports right now while you're in this sort of immediate short term after aftermath?
The only times that really I'm likely to say you're not ready to go back are the ones that stand out are when no one, the officer, him or herself says I. And not do this right now, I how many times you've seen that it's rare, it's rare, I mean. Maybe four times in how many years? Well, total years I've been doing this for about 15, but more recently out here in the last few is kind of what I'm thinking of since I've been doing more than, you know, out of out of a few hundred.
So it's not.
And so what is the protocol? How is that handled? Let's see if there's an officer that can't go back. They say, I just can't handle this right now. Maybe they see a horrific child murder or something. Right.
What what do they do to get back on track and what assistance does the force offer them?
So the odds are that even without in that scenario, if they've been involved in a shooting and especially being the shooter, they're likely to be on an admin leave anyway while everything's being reviewed, because the agency side, you know, the investigations and all the procedures and checks are going on. So they're probably not going back up to the street right away anyway while all of that stuff gets cleared. So so that's a good thing. They get a few days to, you know, get their wits about them while they're, you know, kind of calming down and recovering from that.
So, you know, odds are they're not right. Jumping right back out anyway. But what happens in that time? You know, if we say, OK, somebody just not ready, we usually say, let's check back in in a week or two weeks, depending on you know, I usually will discuss it with them and say, you know, let's let's meet again in a week, take the time and then I'll check back in with you.
So they're just on their own. We need more time here.
When you say time, just leave them alone. Let them figure it out themselves.
Yeah, well, let them go if they want to come in and continue. If it's an urgent matter, the person's feeling like they might hurt themselves, we're going to continue to see and support and do whatever we need to do to take care of that person.
That is a giant issue to suicide amongst police officers is a huge issue.
Huge, although it's much more likely to happen from somebody who has not recently been seen. These are the suicides that happen are the ones that are out there, they're still functioning on the job. We have no idea what's going on because nobody is checking in on that person's mental health.
OK, so it's not after seeing some horrific incident or being part of a shooting, it's just the overall stress of the job. Right.
That is one of the biggest problems out there. I feel like we do an OK job having these debriefings right afterwards because we can monitor we check back in periodically and we keep touching, touching base until we're feeling, you know, comfortable that the person is good. We also, in those debriefings, get to educate them and say, hey, here, you know, I give them those fires and say, look, here's what we know. Here's some good things to do here, some bad things to do.
Here's what it might feel like if any of these things are off. Here's my information. Call me and come back in.
Is it a real problem with cops just not wanting the help? Because they're because they're, you know, the fear, the fear also. And they're tough guys. Yes.
A lot of them tough girls, call it they.
Yes, I've got this. I mean, the whole job is about being in control. Every scene you roll up on, you are in control. That command presence is necessary to be an officer. And so to not be in control, it just feels terrible.
And I mean, for anybody, for any human, it's hard to make the call to a therapist and say, I need a little help. Right. Anybody who's made who's thought, you know what, I'm not doing so well right now, I really feel like I could use picking up that phone and calling to seek help is a big deal. So for a police officer, yeah, there's a stigma. There's a do I really need this? It just is hard to pick up.
And you don't want to be the person that wants help all the time. Okay. Right. You don't yourself. And can this person really help me? Who is this going to be? How do I find a therapist? Out of fact, the most frequent question I get from my friends and family and people I'm thinking I might need to see someone like how do I go about doing that? I get the question all the time.
So yeah. Oh, for cops it's even bigger because that whole control thing. Yeah. And also, like I said before, their job is on the line, of course.
So for these cops that are in that situation. So when they say, look, I need to take some time off you, you basically just leave them alone and say if you want these resources, here they are. Or do they?
I mean, is what again, it's going to vary by department most that kind of crazy that it does vary by department.
Yeah. Drives me nuts. And has this discussion been had, like nationwide?
Oh, there's there's so many good things and pieces of advice and recommendation out there. One of the things that's kind of painful right now is, you know, every morning I get a news recap from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. They send this email out to all the all the members of there, and they have the psychological services group. And so we get these updates and I usually just kind of pass them over. But lately, with all the police reform, so it just headlines from around the country and the piecemeal randomness of of this city's doing this and this city is doing this and this city is doing this and this.
And it's all over the place, you know, same that's driving me nuts because I'm like there's already been groups that have studied and reported and told us what we need to do to help the the world of policing rise up and do better with that information's out there from from wonderful, brilliant people who've come together and have laid it out for us. It's there. But yet we don't have that national standard. Each state has certain you know, most states have a group like in California.
It's The California Post, you know, it's the police officer standards and training. So they set all the rules for training, minimal training requirements for all the departments in California. So all the agencies, police agencies here in this state are, you know, need to comply with all of the post recommendations. But they're all you know, it's a minimum standard. And our Post California post is kind of heads and tails ahead of most of the country.
Some some states don't actually have that organization. Most do have something similar to like what we have. So they do set some standards. But there are so many things that are not included in that. And so it is a bit, you know, random. It's hard, I think, to make a one size fits all. Everybody must do this, because if you think about it, I think there is about 18000 different police agencies in the U.S. and I think I read about fifty percent of those have ten or fewer full time officers.
So, you know, when you've got Potente tiny little town in the middle of, you know, the Midwest in a very rural county, that that's, you know, that's a whole lot different than LAPD.
So it's hard to have everybody on the same standard, in the same expectations when we've got a lot of different makeups for a lot of different departments. That said, there are some fundamentals that I think every department should be held to. And one of those is the debriefings after an incident and the one that that almost no one is doing that's been talked about for a while is regular mental wellness checks. You know, at this point, you get a psych eval when you're hired or before you're hired.
And if you're in a critical incident, you may or may not get one more. More are starting to do that. And then the only other time you're going to be required to see the psychologist is if you have messed up and you're in trouble and you're referred for a fitness for duty evaluation. And at that point your job is on the line, someone is saying that they think you're not fit for duty. And that is a scary evaluation to have to be a part of because then you're going in and and yeah, if the psychologist judges and decides that you are not able to go back out, well, then you're then you're off duty until you can fix whatever that problem may be.
Well, also, just for the public's health and welfare, it's important to do that. Sure. I mean, there clearly are a lot of police officers that are unfit for duty.
How how do we stop what happened in Minneapolis? How do we stop that from from happening or at least mitigate it?
So, I mean, again, I, I see everything through my lens as a psychologist, as a police psychologist. So I'm sure there are things beyond my realm that that also answer this question. But for me, the things that I think we could be doing different that would really make a difference are the regular annual mental wellness checks.
If from my perspective, when I look at people like, you know, Derek Jovana, the officer that that murdered George Floyd and we see what happened there, he I would say I would be willing to guess and I don't know him.
I've never met him. I don't know much about his career other than what I've read in the news and whatnot.
Police officers that get to that place become that right there. Not that when they're hired. Right.
To get hired as a cop, you have to go through what often takes a year long application process where they are digging and poking into every aspect of your background.
Let's be clear, though, that's in some places and other places, it's pretty easy against smaller departments that don't have the resources.
Probably. Probably so, yeah.
I wouldn't say pretty easy in comparison, in comparison.
But the vast majority of departments have a pretty, you know, have a similar process in that you're going to go through the application. You have to pass a written test. There's going to be a background investigation, which really I think is a hugely powerful key part that it should be a well done background investigation.
You know, they're talking to people who, you know, people from your past, your landlord, your ex-wife, your girlfriend, your boyfriend have the resources to do that for every single candidate they do.
Now, some agencies take far more care than others, right? That the wide variety of people that I see that have passed their backgrounds, some agencies I work for send me the most amazingly clean candidates and others that are trying to hire a lot less squeaky clean. But they've they've all gone through. And it is, you know, gone through this background.
They also do a polygraph. They do social media checks. They you know, they make you list all your tattoos and, you know, so they're they're looking for. And if there is somebody who is just flagrantly racist, has, you know, you know, been out there toting white supremacist, like they're going to they're going to see that somewhere in that digging around.
So the blatant racist folks are likely weeded out during a good background process. Let's say maybe they're not as openly because, you know, we all know that people know better than to admit to such things most of the time these days, and it could be more subtle. So at that point, what comes next? You've got oral interviews with, you know, police administrators, a polygraph, you know, coming along in there. And once they pass all of that, that's when they come to the last.
They get their conditional offer of employment. So they're basically like as long as you get through these last two steps, you're you're good to go for the academy in the last two steps are the medical evaluation and the psych eval.
So by the time we get them, they have been heavily vetted, poked around, you know, and looked through in their past.
And we get a we get a pretty clean group of people, but then we get to do more digging and we get to ask questions at this point that they're not able to ask before. So about mental health and background and psychological treatment and history.
And so, you know, by that and then if they get through these evaluations, then they go on to the academy. So for us, that vetting process, that psych eval is a really important place. And I've had a lot of conversations with other psychologists, you know, in the past few months, like, what are we missing?
I've had a daughter workshop a couple months ago for other police psychologist on, you know, some of the things we do in these employments and had someone say, how do we screen out the cops who kill?
And I said.
We can't and that was not a good answer, that we can't, we can't because we have to what we're doing here is predicting the future right where we're saying how do we know who is going to be that person?
Who does that later? Predicting the future is incredibly hard. Figuring out who may be, you know, subtly racist or bias is also incredibly hard. So that said, we do a whole lot of things.
We've got our psychological tests that we give. We ask a lot of crafty questions and we dig as deep as we can to try to, again, weed out anyone who we think could potentially become that person down the road, who could be a cop who kills or who, you know, is racist and bias and is treating people improperly.
So, you know, that's one big thing that we want to be very cautious and make sure we're doing a good job of screening up front. But I would say so much more to say about the tests and the screening, but gets really nerdy and detailed. I would say that the officers who end up having the most problems are the ones who, once they get on, are in a department where that is the culture that is that that that those types of behaviors are acceptable.
So as a young officer, they learned that.
Have you ever seen the documentary The Seven Five? I have not. It's a great documentary about Michael Dowd, who has been a guest on the podcast, who was a he was a terrible cop and talks openly about how he was corrupted and how his first day on the force he he witnessed corruption and was told to shut his mouth. Yeah. And further went on to become a drug dealer and robbing drug dealers. And just it's a crazy documentary. You would enjoy it, particularly from a psychological perspective, because he's talking about it after having served time just showing the images from the time and telling the stories.
It's the culture of each individual department is different and some are great.
There's a great video of Floyd Flint, Michigan, where these police officers, after the George Floyd death, they show up for these protests and tell these people the protesting. We're going to march with you like we're a part of this community, too, like we were your friends, like we are police officers, but we are not the person who did that thing and we wouldn't do that thing. And we want to show you that we support you and that we're here to help.
That's what that's what really we want. It's beautiful. Yeah. It's so cool to see them all march together and they're hugging. That's what we want.
That is. And I think that one of the biggest things when we, you know, how do we prevent these these issues is we need to look at the individual officer level. But I think the caller I think that is very limited because I think the racist, angry cop who kills has developed that way over time. And I think one of the pieces is the culture in the department. Is this something that's acceptable? Is there corruption in that department?
And so certainly better oversight and tracking is a really important thing. You know, that should happen. But the other piece and the one that that I focus more on from my end is the wellness. You know, is this somebody who is burning out? Is this somebody who has gone into a dangerous place, you know, psychologically, that they started out and they were fine when we screen them up front. But, you know, over five or 10 or 15 years, they've seen so much.
And, you know, there's some there things happen in your brain that change the way you think and see and perceive the world when you do this type of work. Right. And when you get to a place where those where those processes have have really taken their toll and somebody has gone down this kind of dark path, it's hard to come out of that. And the way they react to the world and the individuals that they see on a daily basis is going to be very different than what they look like when they were hired.
So if we're not regularly checking in and seeing who might be at risk for going to that dark place, that bitter and angry place, you know, we're not able to catch them before something happens. And that's where, you know, for me, my my big platform is a regular wellness checks. I'm not the first one to come up with this idea. It's been suggested by task forces and study groups and people who know a whole lot more than I do for for a while now.
But in reading, there was a wonderful report to Congress that was put out by the cops, which is community oriented policing services.
They sent this like 60 page report to Congress March of 2019 and described in detail, you know, all the things that we should be doing to pay attention to Officer Wellness, one of which was we seem to think that some regular check ups are probably help. But the problem is no one's doing them. And we have literally zero research on, you know, what what are they helpful? Can they prevent this? And I believe they are. So my you know, my next big thing is to go and explore and do that research so that we can show, hey, this does help.
We can we can if we're touching base and we're getting people in, then we can catch the problems as they develop and before they become a major problem where someone's interacting with the community and they go awry and do something awful. Let's take care of them along the way and catch the problems before. Or they, you know, before they become behaviors that are problematic. There seems to be a lot of discussion now about police brutality, but there's not a lot of discussion about the psychological troubles and the really the difficult path of being a police officer.
Yeah, and appreciation for the people that have to do that job.
All this defunding the police talk scares the shit out of me because I see what's going on right now in New York City. And it's a goddamn shooting gallery. It's crazy. And the reason why is because the police officers have no trust in the mayor. They want to quit. They don't feel like they get any respect. They feel like they they have all been lumped in with this one murderous cop from Minneapolis. Now they're all bad cops and there's a license to call them bad cops scream terrible things out.
Then when they've done nothing wrong, when they're just there to protect and serve, a lot of them are good people, the vast majority. So when you're seeing this giant uptick in murders in New York City, in China, uptick in shootings, and then you still have that dipshit of a mayor calling for the defunding of the police, like, my God, like I know so much of the things they say are just political because they just want to appeal to their base.
And there's so many people out there that have this very narrow minded perspective. They just have blinders on in their eyes. It's like racial justice, social justice, DPH on the police is like this monster that they have to say with no depth to it. They don't understand the consequences of saying such a thing or implementing such a thing. Now we're seeing a call for police action because there's a lot of people there's a lot of community groups, a lot of people that are community leaders that are in these communities that are just experiencing unprecedented gun violence and crime.
And now they're saying we've got to do something about this. So they're trying to reinstate some of these policies that they had pulled before. I'm hoping that through this, what we talked about with training and with funding the police more instead of defunding the police, trained them better fund the more we you obviously need police. This idea that you don't need police were criminals just going to go away, like, is crime going to go away? Know we have a problem.
We have an enormous number of people. And out of that enormous number of people, there is a certain percentage of them that will victimize other people. They will steal, they will kill. And if they don't get caught, then you develop a culture of crime and then you develop a thing where you you you basically have what's going on in Mexico, where the cartels have more power than the police, which is a terrible situation. If you have that in individual locations like in New York City, if all of a sudden this criminal gangs, these these criminal gangs develop more gun power, more more support of the community, they have more people than police officers.
You've got a giant problem. And the actual peaceful citizens are the ones that are going to be in trouble. And all those people that are out there protesting, they think they're immune from it because they're the ones saying defund the police. Hey, man, they'll fucking rob you, too. They'll shoot you, too. Like, you don't understand humans and you don't understand violence. And so this utopian world that they're trying to push, like defund the police, we're just going to we're going to refund we're going to put that money into the community and everything's going to be fine and it's not going to be fine.
You need to fund the police more. You need to train the police better. We need more oversight.
And we need to recognize this is a time where everybody's got to come together on this and we've got to figure out what's wrong, fix what's wrong, recognize there's some problems, but you can't blame all cops and you can't side from the police because that's nonsense that this that is a a silly like a version of life that doesn't it's not real.
You need good cops, better cops. Are you saying we need to get rid of bad cops? Yes, definitely. I think everybody agrees with that. How do you do that? That's where the question starts and training them more like this idea that you can't spend 20 percent of the time training them. Well, if you did spend 20 percent of the time training them and there was a lot less crime because of it and the interactions with with people were much better, wouldn't that just be overall better?
Is that an impossible task? I mean, how much money goes into the police department? You tell me you can't add 20 percent to that and train them more. I bet you can. And I bet you could find it financially beneficial. I would see overall, if you could reduce crime that way and reduce the animosity between citizens and the police, wouldn't that be better for everybody?
It would. And I agree. I agree with you. I mean, on the defunding thing, you know, I think and you've had other people say this, too, and you know this I'm not saying anything amazing here that, like, it means different things to different people. And I wholeheartedly agree. The folks. You think defunding means like just get rid of them like that, that that's silly. What's your plan B? What do you do?
I don't think they really mean that. I don't yeah. I don't understand what happens next.
And I haven't heard anybody articulate. So then what. And there is no, they're not.
That's why no one has a. Then what. Those are the emails I get that talk, the headlines. I saw one yesterday or the day before that in Minneapolis. Now there are groups of citizens banding together, armed citizens banding together to patrol the streets for crime. And I thought, oh, my God.
Exactly. Oh, boy. That's a shit show waiting to happen. Your community members shooting people and then they're charged. It's they're charged with murder. It's, of course, just a horrific thought. And I can't quite imagine like that. So I completely understand the anger and the frustration because you're right, we don't need bad cops. There's nothing worse than the you know, the person you call to protect you and to help you when you're in an emergency doing the wrong thing and doing harm.
You know, that we don't need or want that. And I wholeheartedly agree that more training and and the right type of training and spending that time, because I also think that the training gives you access to see where people are and they are on a good path or if they are that problematic person.
You said what kind of care, too, if you test them during this training. So if we're still if we're seeing them on a regular basis and pulling them out and giving them the tools that they need, then then absolutely. I think that is an exceptional thing to do. That was part of what your your podcast with JoCo just blew me away with, you know, the way he talked about, you know, and the other thing that that sort of has gotten lost is this whole idea of, you know, the interaction with the community, with community oriented policing, you know, and it's it's exactly what JoCo was talking about when he was talking about being overseas.
And I think you're talking about Petraeus and the order of, you know, you don't just roll up in your tank and cruise through. You stop and you talk and you humanize yourself and you engage with these, you know, with the folks here. And you let them know that you're you're here to protect and to serve and you connect with them. And that helps both the community citizens and the soldiers. That's the same thing that we're wanting here at home in this country, that that your police are supposed to be your supporters and your resources and the people that you trust and are connected to.
And that is what community oriented policing is. It's not a new idea. Right. It's been around for decades, but we somehow still don't have that going on. Now, it's still while what seems like everything in society is now it's us versus them, you know, it's the police versus the community instead of we are a community together and we need to work with each other to, you know, to to keep this place safe and to understand what the biggest problems are, what are the citizens concerns.
And it isn't easy to do. It's not an easy thing to do, but it works. Yeah.
I go to a tactical range where they teach you how to shoot handguns. And the guy who teaches me was telling me you would be stunned at how inept some of these cops are to come.
Here he goes. They literally barely know how to shoot a gun. And I wouldn't believe them, except I've seen so many cops that are so fat and so sloppy. And I'm like, how are you going to defend yourself? Like the idea of you serving and protecting, like, dude, if someone throws you on the ground, you're not even getting up. Like, how does that happen?
How do they know to have standards for like being able to shoot a gun, knowing how to handle it properly, being accurate, being consistent with your training and also physical fitness like that's the job of a police officer is dealing occasionally with violent criminals. When you have no capacity to defend yourself, how are you able to help people? You're only like if you're in a situation where something turns physical, if you have no ability to defend yourself physically other than firearms, a situation that could be deescalated turns into a violent encounter because you have to shoot someone.
So a couple of things that come to mind. So, you know, imagine that police officers do get annual firearms training. They do get it have to pass in most places, an annual physical fitness test.
And you're saying, you know, already responsible. You're seeing people who are out of shape and overweight and physically not in great condition. And you're seeing people who can't shoot well, but yet those are regular. There are regular firearms trainings, annual firearms trainings, and every regular physical fitness test where those states have a minimum initial training. And again, there's so much variety that I'm sure not everywhere. But most departments have annual, you know, service that you in-service training you've got to go through and do.
And so if we're still seeing that, people who are out of shape, yet they've passed a physical fitness test and who can't shoot, but. Imagine their mental health. Imagine what that looks like. And there is no annual mental health training, mental health check in and I promise you that the job erodes that over time. So, yeah, if the things we can actually see that the shooting isn't on par and the physical health is in part the one, we can't see what's going on on the inside.
Imagine how messy that might be. Yeah, and there's nothing we have no oversight and no regular check ins there. So that's that's one thing that sort of stands out was like. But imagine that. Yeah. You know, the other thing is firearms training. Obviously, it is super important if you're going to carry a weapon to be able to use it and to use it. Well, but it's also not something that you're going to encounter on a regular basis on the job.
There are officers who go through their entire career without ever pulling a weapon. Well, that's great, right?
That is great. And when you do, it should be few and far between because there are other other ways to manage situations. There are you know, that's lethal force. And then we've got a variety of of, you know, non-lethal force, whether it's something hand, you know, physical hand, you know, hand to hand kind of thing, or whether it's a taser or a baton or whatever else they may be using or having on their, you know, their tool belt.
So there are there are other options there. So hopefully, you know, that the continuum is is set from verbal de-escalation, communication. When that doesn't work and it's still a danger, then, you know, there are certain criteria. And obviously officers are taught their continuum of force and what needs to be necessary to move up that level with deadly force, you know, or lethal force being the highest.
So it's so rare. That to me, there's so much else that comes before that, that if we're doing a good job. That almost is never an issue because these other tools work better. Wait a minute, what's almost never an issue being having to show weapon, having to shoot someone, having to get to where you're breaking a strap and you're pulling your weapon and you're firing at someone that should I mean, that is a that is the last, last, last.
It doesn't happen on a daily basis.
Well, isn't that entirely dependent upon where you're at and what what kind of situation mean? All across the country? There are situations where cops have to pull their guns and have to use them. There are, but they're not as frequent.
But they're happening every day, probably somewhere, every day, but not every day in every officer's life.
But if it's you if it's if you're an officer, you got to be ready. Yes. I like this idea that that's not important.
It should be of critical importance, not that it's not important, but that there are so many other things that need to also be in place. Because if these other skills are in place, right, if you are a master, you know, they like to call verbal judo. If you can if you can talk someone down, if you are a master at de-escalation, you are never going to need these other tools.
Maybe not, never. But you are very rarely going to need any, you know, the less than lethal force or the least lethal force because you are managing situations.
If you suck at these, you need these a lot. I see what you're saying.
Right. So so for me, because I, you know, deal with communication and deal with, you know, de-escalation and how to talk someone down, how to talk to an individual with a mental illness, how to talk to somebody who's a victim or has been traumatized, how to talk to somebody who's maybe on drugs and not able, you know, how do we manage those situations with verbal, with interactions, with communication so that we don't have to go up the chain of command of, you know, of levels of force.
But that seems to me to be an incredible amount of training that must be necessary. And it also has to be constant and consistent. Absolutely.
And that's why when when you and JoCo, we're talking about the training and how much more I'm like, yes, how do we get in training?
How much training do they have to do in terms of hand-to-hand combat?
I don't know. I'm not sure how much. And again, I'm sure it depends on what academy they go through. Some academies are for months, some are six, some longer, you know, and and the makeup depends on who's running that academy as to like the breakdown of, you know, how much is in the classroom, how much is physical, how much is tactical. So I'm not sure what the numbers would be on that.
Andrew Yang, presidential candidate, he had former presidential candidate. He had an awesome idea. He said every person who is in the police force should be a purple belt and jujitsu or higher. And I think that is a really good idea because at that level, you have a real understanding of how to defend yourself and how to control bodies. I saw a video. I have seen quite a few of them, but one of the more pathetic videos I've ever seen was two people trying to hold one guy down completely, ineptly.
The guy gets up, runs, gets into his car and shoots both of them and then takes off. And I'm like, Jesus Christ, went into his car, got a gun. Like they had no control over this guy. Two people. Yeah. And I'm like, that should never take place. And this guy wasn't some freak of nature either. It wasn't like they're trying to hold down Herschel Walker for some super athlete. No, it's a regular guy.
Just they sucked and it was it's terrible to watch.
Yeah, well, so, you know, part of the challenge with with officers also is that we think of it as this, you know, go, go, go do to do adrenaline junkie job, which there are spurts of that. But, you know, a lot of that twelve hour shift is sitting and waiting or patrolling, depending on what your you know, what you're where you are and where you're patrolling. It's it's tedious, tedious, tedious, and then it's intense or difficult or stressful.
And so, you know, it's so good to be trained to recognize that that's what's going to happen to. Yeah. And to be psychologically prepared that this is this is part of what it is. Yeah.
I remember the first time I went on a ride along with someone and thinking this feels so much different than what I thought it would feel like.
First of all, everybody stares at you and is looking at you and you're like just standing out no matter where you go, because you're you know, you're you're in the car cop car.
Where did you go? Oh, I've been I've been many times. And my first one was decades ago in North Carolina, had a police officer for a roommate who took me out for the very first time. And my first ride along, it was nighttime, just tedious, boring, a couple of, you know, low level arrests. But just the the way people respond and react really just felt so much different than I thought. And then I went out again a while later and saw a dead body and had all sorts of weird experiences on that one.
Just the difference from shift to shift to the adrenaline, excitement or something scary or overwhelming happens. And then, you know, just tedious and monotonous shift. And there's so much unpredictability and uncontrollability that that you do sort of need to be alert and on and ready. And part of that is what does a No. On an officer's mental health, I would imagine also the current state of the way people are treating police officers, it's got to be devastating.
So much changed in just a few short months. We went from just most people have respect for the police. Yeah. To it's it seems like it's in fashion to to talk shit about cops.
And it it comes and goes. Right. You see. But this is about as bad as it's ever gotten bad now.
And when I, you know, when I talk to folks and it's nationwide too, which is what's fucked up. Yeah. It's not isolated. It's not just a plaything or a Minneapolis. It has it has really spread.
Who'd have ever thought that that one incident would would ignite this powder keg the way it did? Because every other incident that we've had in the past, like the Rodney King incident that just started riots in Los Angeles, it didn't do anything in New York. But this one is across the world. Yeah. I mean, there's there's there's riots in London, you know, I mean, people are going crazy in France because of this.
And I don't I mean, who knows? I have no idea what it was about this other than it was just so outrageously awful. Yeah. There's that it's so outrageously awful what happened.
And to watch that, you know, it was the video. We all got a firsthand look at something hideous.
There's also scary.
So I think the video I mean, you literally saw a man lose his life and that was traumatizing for anybody who saw it. I'm sure the pandemic and everyone being shut down and restless and all the, you know, effects of that mentally and psychologically on all of us, you know, just sort of the unrest of that combined with the horror of what of what happened.
There's also the guy who got shot in Georgia, right? Yeah. Which is debris with what had happened just before that.
And then this was like the last straw was just enough.
And I mean, I agree. I I've found it, especially in those early weeks, very stressful to be somebody who really loves and supports law enforcement. My whole my whole goal in life is to take care of and protect cops and to help them be good and do a good job. That's that's my passion.
That's what I want to do. But I'm also very opposed to racism. I want to be as anti-racist as I can be to and to stand on both sides and to say, can I be both of these things? And and to work through and say, well, yeah, I really can, because that's not what we want cops to be doing out there. I mean, we think about and find a way to not do that, us versus them and to and to meet both good cops, anti-racism, those those are things that can go together.
Yeah. I mean, I think everyone can agree that racism is awful and racism by police is awful. Yeah. It's like psychopaths that scare me. It's not just racist. It's like that guy that shot that man in the hotel in Phoenix, you know, his story made them made the guy crawl and the guy's pants were falling off and he kept like reaching back, said, don't reach back. And then he shot him.
There was a cop that did that. I don't remember that story.
Yeah, well, the guy had a toy gun and someone reported they were drinking. They were in a hotel room. SWAT team shows up. They tell this guy, this guy tells his guy to get on the ground. The guy gets on the ground, is crying, saying, please, I didn't do anything. And then he says, crawl towards you guys. And he's really fucked up instructions. I crawl towards me, the guy's crawling and his pants are falling down reach backs and tries to pick up his pants.
The guy's screaming at him, I will fucking shoot you. And it's really clear there's nothing in his pants. He's just reaching back because his pants are falling down. And so he says again, crawl towards me and the guy's pants are falling down. He reaches back and the cop just lights him up while he's on it. Face down. No threat, no weapon, no nothing. I mean, it's one of the grossest ones I've ever seen, and it's a white guy doing it to another white guy.
I think racism is awful, but psychopaths are what the problem is. It's not just racism. It's psychopaths that are racist or I mean, I think that guy had problems that Derrick Chauvin didn't have problems with white people, too, like he had a long history of abuse.
There was I certainly wouldn't surprise me there was more than there was multiple incidents. And this is what's scary to me is like how does a guy stay in the police force when there's multiple incidents of him abusing people? Like at what Mike did? They just said, well, we never thought he was going to kill somebody. We just thought he was rough. But he was a good cop otherwise. Like, is that how they're looking at it? Like, how does a guy like that get to a place where, you know, when you go back and look at his complaints and this this guy was one of the reasons why Amy Klobuchar was kind of tanked as being a vice presidential possibility because she was in control back when this guy.
He's doing this and they connect, they say, well, they were connected to her, right? I remember reading that. Yeah, yeah, I know that. Obviously, I don't I don't work in Minneapolis. I don't know what was going on their apartment. But just from the things I've read and heard, you know, media, which I always take with a grain of salt because you never know what you're getting is that he had had multiple prior incidents, multiple prior shootings.
I think one was fatal. Yes. So these are you know, these are red flags and markers. Now, does that mean he was definitely, you know, take this prior to this incident, if we didn't know what had happened here and if I just saw that he'd had prior complaints and prior shootings, that that may or may not be enough for me to say, hey, what's going on? And that depends on what were the complaints.
You know, citizen complaints happen all the time. Right. So just seeing that someone's had a complaint, you know, you could give someone a parking ticket and they think you're an asshole. And so they call up and complain. They treated me unfairly. When you look back at, you know, if there's body cam footage or whatever and it's a perfectly normal stop. But that person just pissed off because they got a ticket, you know what I mean?
So a complaint can be something very substantial and very real and problematic. Or it could be one of these that complaints come at citizens. Complaints come all the time.
How do you feel about the other cops that were on the scene that were there with him? I, I can't understand how one wouldn't intervene and say, OK, that's that's enough. Let's back off now.
Was he the senior officer? I don't know. It sounded like because I know they said two of the guys were pretty new on the job. And the other one, the one that you can see kind of standing in front, had also been on the on the force for a while. But I don't I don't know which of the two had been on longer.
The the way the culture is excuse me, the way the culture is, the two that were new, if they saw him do that, it's not really, is it? Is that a thing that they can say if you're a new guy, you've been on the job for a couple months and there's a guy who's been on the job for 20 years and you see him doing something, is it your place? I understand it's your place as a human being.
Right. But how does the culture work?
It is a paramilitary environment where if someone is your superior, it is very hard to speak out against that person. So that is that is definitely a problem and something that, you know, to act out and the culture in the department would be. Yeah, if that's somebody who either is a higher rank than you or who's been on longer, you know, especially if they're brand new and that's like their field training officer, you're you're not going to step in and tell them not to do that.
That's the kind of Haast is not the way it's done. Yeah, that's that's that paramilitary model.
So if you are shit out of luck and your superior officer is a psychopath. Right. And he's doing something like that. Yeah. If he doesn't kill that person and there's no complaint, what recourse does that person have if they go to.
The person who was the victim or the other officer, the other officer that's there, like, what recourse is that officer have if you're seeing someone abuse someone in your new on the job? Can you go to Internal Affairs like and if you do, there's a stigma attached to that, correct.
There are ways to report fellow officers. Yes. But would most people do that? It's a tough call. Yes, it happens, and some people do the right thing, but, yeah, there's a cost that comes with that.
I think one of the silence. Yeah, yeah.
One of the interesting reforms that lots of folks are talking about in some cities or passing is this requirement for other officers to say something. And this is an interesting one. There's a lot of these piecemeal reforms that kind of make me go like, OK, it's fine, but I don't know if that's going to make much change. This one makes me stop and think. And I wonder if maybe it will. Maybe it will. I don't know, I, I see it could go both ways where it could be something that's helpful if there's a safe mechanism for people to report.
But, you know, in that situation, you know, thinking about that, that George Floyd situation, you know, if those if two of those officers had said, hey, you need to back off and again, still, if they're inferior to him, you know, one of the odd culture.
Yeah. What are the odds that he's not going to tell them? Well, screw you like I'm superior to you.
You back off and and then tell everybody else also on the force and comes and then they're the snitch and they're the, you know, the weasel and whatever else. And so it's really these the idea, I think, is a great one. Let's put let's put this law in place that you have to to to report it or to intervene if you see something. But I just wonder how that will look as it plays out. And you can't have a divide among people that have to work that closely together and you have to rely on to protect you, you know, to have your back.
And body cameras really are only good once something's happened and you have to review the body camera. Right. It's not like someone's reviewing the body camera every day and going might you're kind of a cunt like the way you treat those people, you fucking asshole. Look right. Why are you so rude? Why are you so mean? Like, this is not good as a police officer?
Yeah. The only thought that folks had, especially with body cams, were first becoming the thing. And tons of departments were, you know, we're starting to use them. Most people thought that kind of, you know, Big Brother's watching feeling. Yeah. You know, if we know we're on camera, we're going to be on our best behavior and and that we're going to always do the right thing. And I'm sure there is some well, there's some element of that.
But there's one way to do that. What's that? You stream it live all cameras.
You have a lot of footage.
Yeah, right. That's part of the problem in police departments. When they start to implement body cam footage, they have to make these big decisions on where do we store this data? How long do we keep it? What you know what? All these you do have decisions. So, you know, we flood YouTube.
But so, listen, people are flooding YouTube anyway. I mean, it sounds crazy, but if you did do that, there would be very little shenanigans. Yeah.
I mean, what we kind of have that already because cell phones, you know, you don't I mean, no, maybe on every cell phone and it's just one one perpetrator and three cops, you don't have anything.
You know, if if everyone was streaming all the time, it would be a it'd be really hard to get away with a lot of the stuff that people get away with.
It would be in one of the things I've heard people talk about with body cam footage is having, you know, sort of that oversight committee to to regularly review footage of that.
They're gonna be reviewing eight hours a day all day long.
All the officers on the it's it's it's such a monumental task to the people around. Put it on YouTube. Sounds scary.
What's scary about it? Just just the chaos and mayhem that would ensue from that.
Well, but also accountability to know both things would ensue from that. So let's let's look here's another example that made me sick. Has nothing to do with racism. When they were in was it upstate New York where they push that old man down and he fell and bounced his head off the ground and was unconsciousness? I think he's still in trouble. Is he? Yeah, he's still hurt. I mean, look, he's really old.
And he fell and and slammed his head off the ground. So they charged the officer for doing that. And then the rest of the officers, they quit. Clearly, you shouldn't push an old man like that clearly, and when that guy falls and hits his head, you got to look after him and give him medical attention. The guy was unconscious, bleeding from the back of his head. And he's really old. Yeah. Like, if you're that old and you fall down like that, he easily could have died.
Yeah. And you've got these cops that just walked away while this guy's down like that and. Well, what did the guy say that was so bad that they had to push him down? I mean, he's some sort of like radical left wing activist and he's been that way his whole life. But he didn't touch anybody, didn't he didn't assault anyone. Like, why did they do that to him? And why did those other cops why did they retire?
Well, they quit because of this same camaraderie. And I understand that you need that. If you go to war together, you have to you have to stay together. You have to stick up for each other. You're part of a team. I understand that. But you can't do that in the whole world. Saw that?
Yeah. What else can I say, you can't do that, you can't do that, it's, you know, I mean, I can't I wasn't there. I haven't talked to those officers. I don't you know, I don't know what happened before. I don't know what happened after. I don't you know, all I see is, again, these little snippets that come on to the news media and you just of your guy push a frail old man.
What you see is something that's that's awful. Yeah, but when you've got these, you know, these police and they're lined up and they're marching like, what what what's going on? And how could that have happened and why? Like, I, I don't know. I don't have an explanation for that one. I don't I would like to know I'd like to talk to the people.
I'd like to see what was happening, why it was in that, you know, those opening lines that you pile up, all these videos, pile up all these times are cops abuse, people pile up. Yeah. You know, it's just it's so unfortunate. And every time a cop fucks up, every other cop has to deal with the pain of that.
Yeah. They have to deal with the stigma and they have to deal with the the anger and the the backlash.
It's definitely the one of the hardest aspects of the job is that, you know, you're given an immense amount of power. Yeah. You know, that badge and that gun just are are tremendous in terms of what they give you liberty to do. And like all humans, you know, power, power can corrupt. Nothing corrupts more than money and power, right. Where cops don't have money, but they've got the power and they you know, it is so easy to let that, you know, to to to go the wrong way.
And so and in like I said, I don't think that these that the folks that you see in these videos started out as bad people. Right? I don't think they I mean, I spend so many days of my life evaluating these folks who want to go into this very noble profession. And the majority of them are just really great people.
Occasionally you get an idiot, they come through and usually they fail because they don't belong in force. And that person. No, thank you.
My fear is that more idiots are going to get in now because less people want to be police.
Well, it's going to be even worse, doubly scary. Now, the defunding thing obviously is is a huge issue, like what's going to happen? Agencies are not going to be able to hire because the money is being taken away.
It's a political thing as well. So totally when they say we're going to defund the police, all the progressive people go, yes, yeah, I want to be unsafe. Yes.
But that the combination of the defunding as well as the tanking economy, you know, some of the departments that I work for, you know, that the money that comes into that city or that town to support the department, you know, that we're all a financial crisis.
It's going on from the pandemic, you know, so I've a few of the agencies that I work for are like, yeah, we don't anticipate hiring and maybe the next two to three years or so.
And that's partly, you know, and some it's not a defunding issue. It's just it's the financial crisis from the pandemic. Right. You know that there's just there's things that are there's cuts across the board.
Yeah. They can also use that as a political ploy, like, say we're defunding the police as well. But really, they're cutting education. They're cutting. Right.
All sorts of we're all suffering right now because of the financial crisis that's going on from covid crap. But in addition, then you've got that plus the covid stuff. And I mean, you've got departments who are going to be really strapped for, you know, for for being able to hire. And then, like you said, who wants to go into this job now? In fact, when I do these, I'm still doing some evaluations right now.
And and the question then I start off is why do you want to do this, given the current climate?
You know, what's what what makes you want to be an officer just to hear what their thoughts are, you know, and sort of get get into their mind a little bit on on what is it that makes you want to do this? Because really, you got to be you got to be second guessing your options here at this point, because it's not an easy time to be a cop.
What if if I gave you a magic wand and or the president did and the president said, look, Nancy, we've got a real problem, we want you to help?
And we'll let you structure the program for the entire country, for the police officers.
What do you think should be done? Cost no option.
I love that you ask that question in therapy world therapists.
We ask that question for our clients all the time.
We call it the miracle question therapist trick you just did right there. And you do it to a lot of your guests. I like it. I don't even know total therapist trick that we didn't know in your life.
If things could be perfect, what would it look like? So look at you.
So, yeah, if I could have you are you don't even know if I could just take over and make all the changes. Honestly, I would take the advice of the amazing people who have done a ton of work already in you know, about five years ago there was a task force put together, you know, recommendations. What should 21st century policing look like and they lay out in a, you know, like 170 page document what policing should look like and this really amazingly brilliant group of people came up with some excellent advice.
And it talks about racism and it talks about technology and it talks about community oriented policing and it talks about wellness and all the things that I see that are missing. It's been sitting there for five years, and not to say that nothing has happened since then, but we certainly haven't enacted what that task force put together and what they recommended back then. You know, take that and all the other great work, you know, change and reform right now.
You see it happening left and right all over the place. Right. It's it's it's piecemeal. It's haphazard. It's it's political. It's not satisfy the unhappy folks right now. And I agree that people are demanding change and they need action.
They want to see it right now. I get that it's satisfying to see, yes, there's change.
But I'm also really concerned about whether some of these random, haphazard changes are going to make any difference for these real, real problems. But yet we've had these brilliant groups that have laid out what we need to do. That report to Congress from back in March of 2009 on Officer Wellness. What I would do if I got the magic wand and all the money, as I, you know, again, psychologist lends for me, is I would sit down with that.
And there were 22 recommendations in that report and I would work my way through making these recommendations become mandates across the board.
And this is a big battleship that's going to take a long time to turn. Absolutely. So these are easy problems. If they were, we would fix them, right? We would. We would, even with no budget. Absolutely. They are not easy.
They are not simple. You know, so many of these societal problems, they're so important and they're so profound. But like I always say, you know, my husband and I argue politics because we see things from other sides of the fence. And I'll be like, you know, which one's the liberal?
I'm the do gooder, soft hearted, he's more conservative, he's a business guy, I'm the psychologist, it all makes sense if you know us, but, you know, we'll debate and go back and forth and we get mad at each other and and, you know, and it's it's we butt heads and he thinks I'm an idiot. I think he's an idiot. And we roll our eyes and then, you know, I stop and think and reflect on it and think, you know.
If these problems were simple with all the brilliant people in the world, we would have solved them already, you know, we would have solved them. We have to be able to see things from the perspective of others. While I might get mad when he sees things differently for me, it also makes me stop and think. Because you know what? In this case, here's someone who I love who's saying the things that maybe I don't love. And so I have to stop and think maybe there's something to this.
You know, I could just be, oh, you're horrible because you you see these things and you think I'm horrible because I see things this way. But you know what? We both have a perspective and they probably both have value, what you described as Twitter.
But, yeah, I mean, there's look, there's a lot of very good people that are conservative, they're decent people, and there's a lot of very good people that are liberal.
It's there's a lot of problems in this world. And there's not there's not clear cut solutions. And the problem law enforcement to me, is akin to the problem of education in that there's not a lot of money in it. But it's an incredibly important part of the world, incredibly important part of our society.
Yeah, but yet the people that do it don't get paid well, you know, I mean, some police officers can make a really good living if they do a lot of overtime, right. That is true. But also, you got to think about what kind of what are you talking about? You're talking about someone literally giving up 80 hours a week of their life.
And when it comes to money, officer wellness, that's one of the things I recommend against is over time. Yeah. Yeah, I think you're right about it.
It's very tempting financially. The more like I say, the best description of what happens mentally, how how the mental state of an officer kind of can get off track over time was written in a book. It's it's older now. I think it was early 2000s, a guy named Kevin Gilmartin wrote a book called It's Like Emotional Survival for law enforcement officers and their families. But it's probably not exactly right. But that's close best book I've ever read on police mental health.
And he describes in such an easily digestible way what what happens with police officers and their mental state. Right. He talks about, you know, normal humans. We kind of we live between the lines like this is a normal state of alertness and functioning. So we all are kind of in here when you're on the job and of as a police officer, you've got to live in this state of hyper vigilance like you're on you're alert, you're looking around, you're always ready and, you know, sort of energized, a little bit of adrenaline flowing.
And so they have to live up there. And that's that's our bodies are meant to do that for short term. You know, that's our nervous system.
You know, parasympathetic nervous system kicks in where we're alert and you stay up there. And then when they come off the job, it dips down. But instead of going back into that like middle zone, the normal zone where most of us are functioning, you know, kind of going about normal level of energy, they dip down below. Because once you've been on that high kind of that that that rush while you've been on the job, your body needs to recover.
So it goes down into this low state. And while it's down there, you know, again, this is your nervous system is kicking back in. You're recovering, you're out of that beast mode and you're in you don't feel great. You're tired. You kind of want to be alone. You want to get isolated, detached, you know, and a lot of cops kind of go in retreat when they get home and they need that that go to my cave time.
Hmm. Your body can recover from this.
So the cycle for cops is that they're up and then when they come home, they go down and it usually takes about 18 to 24 hours to get back into the normal zone. Great. So if we did that one day and then we dip down and recover, we come back. But what happens within twenty four hours, we go back to work again. So what happens for cops is they're up then they're lower than their way up and they're low.
And that's not the way our bodies were made to function. You're in this state of hypervigilance for so long, it starts to wear on you. It wears on you physically, it wears on you mentally. It was a new emotionally and and you never get that recovery time to get back to a normal state. So they constantly are in this shorter and shorter fuse. Yeah. Tense and alert. And it makes you sort of just wears on you over time.
The other thing it does that, you know, cops are notorious for having kind of trouble functioning at home if they're working too much and they're so into it that on Tenth State feels good, you're energized, you're alert, you're active, and then when you dip down, you don't feel good. So they start associating home with negative feelings and work with positive feelings. Oh, wow. And so then what do they do? They crave work more.
So they go take overtime shifts and they hang out with other police officers and they start to kind of become their police self and they lose their personal self.
And so this is I love Gil Martin's book for this. And I recommend it to any officer that I've come across if they haven't read it, because it really beautifully explains this cycle and kind of what it does over time. And he also goes on to recommend, well, you know, how do you and what the long, long and short of it is at the end, if you stay in that and you lose too much of your personal self, you become that burned out, bitter, angry, going to snap and, you know, and do some make a bad.
Decision kind of place. So how do you resolve that? You know, you've got to protect your personal self, you've got to keep from getting hard and bitter and becoming too much of that police self. And so one of the things is you protect your off time and you use it, you engage, you do the things you love. You don't give up your hobbies. You if you have a family and kids, you do things with your children.
You have to get back into the real world. So you remember that the real world is out there, because if you are only in that state where all you're seeing is the things that copsey, which is negativity and stress and horror and trauma and angry people and hurt people and victimized people, if that's all you're seeing and you're spending all your life in that state, you forget what happens on the outside. And I think it's really hard to understand from the outside looking in.
And I've told millions of people this story that I got a little bit little bit of a taste of it from my years when I was before I went into the academic route and I was working in the prisons and forensic hospitals. And so here's maximum security setting. You know, being a young, small female in a maximum security setting, I'm surrounded by offenders who are mentally ill. It's not an easy gig. And you got to really you've got to be in that state of hypervigilance.
And so after a few years of that, I didn't notice it was having any effect on me until I was working at a federal prison at the time. And one of my college roommates came to visit me and we were hanging out and having a drink or whatever and joking and and after a while she was like, Hey, Nance.
I was like, yes, she's like, you're different. I think what are you talking about? I'm not different, I'm telling you what like no, I'm not. She's like, you're really hard. You're I'm a little bit scared of you.
And I was like, oh, what do you mean? She's like, you're just kind of hard, like, you know? And I thought, no, like, she's she's. And when she said that, it really kind of struck me. And like, two weeks after that, I went to visit my sister.
And at the time she had young kids. And I remember sitting outside watching somebody playing a ball game and looking at all these families. And I remember having the thought, like, what are they doing? Don't why are they all so happy? Don't they know of what all that's going on? Don't they know about all the horrible people in the world they scared to be?
And I thought, oh, my gosh, she was right. Like, I my brain has started to go into a place where because every day I had to steal up, get tough, be ready for anything.
I have eyes in the back of my head because I was working in a really dangerous setting at that time and I had to protect myself. And when I flash, you know, after that, I stopped working in the prisons and I soften back up and came back to like a normal state of functioning where I can turn it on or off depending on if I need to.
But it really was telling to me to see how much your just your daily persona can shift when that's your day to day functioning. So that gilmartin stuff with the, you know, the, the waves and the hyper vigilance and the recovery and the more people start to become their police self more and more and lose their personal self, it's a really important thing for officers to be aware of and to track and monitor if they want to stay balanced. The best of the cops that I know and I know a lot of really good ones, but I think of a few that stand out who I just simply adore as humans and are really wonderful officers.
They have that balance really down. When they're on, they're on. But then when they're off, they're doing stuff with their families, their coaching, their kids ball teams. They're, you know, active physically. They're fit. They're mentally sharp. They they they have a real personal life that they hang on to that balances out what they see and the negativity that comes at them constantly in their in their day job. That's just not something that most of us have to deal with in our daily lives.
And it's a really big deal. And that's, you know, those mental health checks that I pushed so hard for. And then I really want to get going and to and to study and figure out how can we do these well, can check in on that stuff and to help stop that cycle, help to get people into a healthier place so that they don't become bitter and jaded and angry and more likely to do to, you know, to be the bad apple, as we like to say.
The description of that cycle. So important for people to recognize that. Yeah. You know, even though some human beings might be better at managing things, it's like there is there's an actual physical thing that's going on. There is.
And when I when I meet with cops after an incident or, you know, if they're coming in, that's the first place I go because it feels so comforting to know this isn't me being weak or me losing it. This is something physiological that's going on.
You know, don't you think that a lot of these cops are tempted to do overtime just because the money is so great? Absolutely. Yeah. Yes. And that's one of the perks of the job.
That's one of the things I love that they can I mean, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, they could literally double their pay.
And it's and it's great to have that option. But again, at what cost? To have a balance? You know, some overtime is fine. But if that's all you're doing right and if you're doing it, this is probably really important key if you're doing it to avoid being at home, because being on the job is the only place you feel right, functional and alive and good. That's where the danger sets in if you're doing it because, you know, you're you're trying to make extra money to get that, you know, to take your family on a trip, summer vacation or whatever.
Absolutely. Like do it, get that extra money, because that's great. But if you're doing it because that's the only place you feel alive and on and alert, you might be in trouble. Yeah. You might be getting a little bit off. And that's going to lead probably to a place that's not great.
So I want to bring you back to this again. If you got this magic wand and the president says, Nancy, take over, what are you going to do?
What's the first thing I do? I'm going to pull all of those things, all the work that has already been done. And I'm going to implement reform until all those angry political folks that are fighting with each other to hush to stop fighting that we've got really smart people have already given it. And I'm going to put in place nationwide procedures for how we hire, how we make decisions, and particularly, of course, psyche. Vals I'm going to implement nationwide requirements for screening and mental health and wellbeing.
We're going to we're going to get JoCo on board next to me to develop training programs. Right. And my team up with him.
And we're going to recreate the world of. Training together and and we're going to, you know, do the more training, all the stuff that we need and to get people who are actually healthy, well, physically fit as well as emotionally and mentally healthy and and well equipped to do their job. And not just on the tactical side, but on the communication side, de-escalation, communication, how to talk to people who are victims, what to do all those things in a training package so that, you know, the academies, they do a good job.
I don't want you to think that they don't, but that police academies tend to do things in the same way like that the courts do. They rely on precedent. They do what's always been done because that's what we know and that's what works. And to have a a joint a joint planning of of training where it's not just this is what we do. So this is what we'll keep doing. But to pull in the academic piece as well and to say, hey, yeah, but we've been doing all this research and there's actually a better way.
So let's implement this now. And so just to really update and refresh what that academy training and the ongoing throughout your career training looks like. So reforms, training on the job, take care of our officers and and to put in place all of these recommendations, you know, the specific level recommendations on, you know, how do we actually get in there and take care of folks? There's there's so much that's that we can do that could make a big difference.
And there's got to be something done to push back against this this this idea that we have right now, weaponize this idea of defunding the police, that the police are evil. You know, that the police having money is the problem. Yeah, it's crazy. Like there's a reason why we have the police folks. They're necessary.
It's very important. And to abandon them or to treat them like anything other than members of our community and very important members of our community is so shortsighted and so crazy and done by people that I don't think understand psychology, that I don't think they understand violence. I don't think they understand crime. Yeah. And it's again, it's it's weaponized. It's this thing that they're using now to push a political agenda to to align themselves with people, you know, so that it helps them get re-elected.
It helps them gain power with their constituents. It's so dangerous. And it's such a weird thing to hear coming out of mainstream politicians mouths that we need to defund the police like you guys are crazy. Yeah.
I mean, when people talk about defunding along the lines of take some of that money and put it into communities like that piece of it could be if done well beneficial.
But why take it from the cops? I don't know. That needs to necessarily take from the cops, but to take to really pay more attention to our communities and what they're needing.
You know, the police over the last five decades have had to take on more and more and more jobs within the community. I mean, a lot of people would say that the key change came in like the 60s when deinstitutionalization happened from the mental hospital. So it used to be if someone was mentally ill, they went to the hospital. They basically stayed there. Right. 60S came deinstitutionalization. All those folks, let's put them out in the community so they can return to their homes.
A lot of a during the Reagan right.
Let's put money into community mental health. That didn't happen the way it was supposed to. So the community mental health never got funded properly. And then all those folks who had mental illness did not get proper treatment, went off meds, all sorts of problem rises. And now who has to deal with it? Police officers. Right. So they became mental health clinicians, social workers, domestic violence, you know, all of that stuff. So. Right.
If defunding the police means putting money into social services and helping these folks in a way that makes it so that the police officers don't have to do those jobs anymore, I'm all right with that. And I think most of the cops are because I've spent half my career on this side of police psychology stuff, training folks how to talk to people with mental illness so they don't end up shooting them. Right.
I think there's certainly should be cops that are designated you with those sorts of situations.
People have found amazing ways around it to work on it. We've developed what we call crisis intervention teams. You know, this came out of the eighties in Memphis that, you know, this city thing where we have cops and clinicians that go out together. But I don't know any clinician that wants to do that by themselves. So if you defund the police and everyone says, yeah, you know, if it's a domestic violence call, send a therapist out, Jesus Christ.
Well, I know because I work with cops. The domestic violence calls are one of the most likely to end in violence. Yes, I'm not going there. Right. And I might go there if there's an armed person.
With me and I'll try to, you know, to do but like as a team, but you're going to send me into a potentially violent, dangerous situation where you've got to feel like a utopian perspective on a very complicated problem.
Yeah, exactly. It's a simple while we don't like what we have, so let's get rid of it. And that's it's far too simplistic.
Well, you've got the evidence right now and is a short term study in the city. Yeah. You know, and I mean Anapolis as well. Yeah. Folks that I know in New York, some of that training program I talked about earlier, the cops that worked on that, who decided, you know what, retirement is the right thing for me right now. Yeah. And who have left the force because they just were like, I can't do this.
This is the lack of support. And and what's going on is just too much. It's not worth staying anymore. And so dangerous.
Yeah, it's it's very unsettling and overwhelming and and to see how rather than, you know, trying to come in and figure out how to improve what we've got, it's like. It just doesn't make sense to throw our hands up and say, OK, get rid of it, because what's the plan B again? It's just it's a politicized perspective. It is. But isn't everything right now? Yes. Everything gets politicized. Yes. Police just politicized medication, medications.
And if you say I have a friend who got covid, and when he went to the doctor, the doctor tested and fired covid and said, I don't know what your political leanings are. And I was like, what? He's like, well, hydrochloric when that's terrifying tends to work really well in the early stages of disease to keep the virus from multiplying. And so he recommended hydrochloric acid and zinc. And he's like, I don't know what your political leanings are.
He was like my political leanings because I just don't want to be sick because what the fuck do I do, man? Don't tell me that. I mean, there was a recent study that was published in an article in Newsweek from an epidemiologist that was saying the exact same, that we have something to treat it.
And because the fact that Trump recommends it, it becomes this politicized medication that people are avoiding. This doctor told me people were saying, I don't want to take that medication because I hate Trump.
Like, oh, my God, that's when, you know, we've gotten to a really messed up all or so that are are that a pandemic is politicized and that whether or not one would that a physician would ask you what your political leanings are to prescribe you something that is a place that I just can't wrap my head around as to how we've ended up here?
Well, too many of our ideas are being discussed in social media form where there's no one on one interaction with human beings. Yeah.
And that passion is, you know, recognizing that the other person's an actual human.
When you ask that dream magic wand question, my, my you know, I gave kind of my practical answer, you know, I would take these recommendations and do all of these community policing wellness. But my dream answer my my in my fantasy world where I'm an all powerful being, I would.
What do you dress like? Do you a Wonder Woman type costume?
And this I'm kind of thinking something like, you know, an angel. No, it's darker than that. Like Batman. Yeah. Sort of like Batman, Catwoman. Something in that. Yeah, I'm thinking in that that's probably more up my alley than like Angel and Halo.
I don't I don't think I could pull that halo. So you have this also in my in my fantasy world where I have all power and I can I spend all of my existence bringing people from opposing sides together and making them sit like we are now looking at each other as humans and to say, let's let's let's find a way to connect. It's taking cops and community members and pulling them in the same room and say, hey, let's let's find our common ground.
Let's let's voice our sides, let's hear each other out and let's recognize that we aren't us and them or humans.
Yeah, we are people.
We are we are victims of our circumstance. We're victims of ourselves, of our histories, like. But but we also can come together and and see that really when it comes down to it, we we are all human beings and we all want to do well and be well. Mm hmm. Some people go about it in different ways. Do we have to agree on anything? No. But can we at least find that place where where we look for the common ground?
You know, and in the case with the police in communities, I feel like it actually is. Is it doable and feasible thing? You know, one of those other things, what would happen if we did that? What would happen if I went around pulling people in and and breaking down that us versus them? You know, we could do it. Cops and communities, Republicans and Democrats. And, you know, we are all humans when it comes down to it.
And we have to recognize that the people that are opposed to that are the real problem, the people that are opposed to that kind of communication and the people that are essentially cemented in their polarization, they're just looking for a fight and they're not looking for a solution.
There's a real problem. It is. And there's and I feel like that is, you know, as a society, we've just gotten to a seriously scary point with that, that us versus them perspective.
And and I. I hate that. But yeah, more than anything. So it's weaponized.
Yeah. If I could if I could have my magic wand, that's that's where it would be. It would be to just start, start healing and putting people together and finding common ground and and pulling us back together as a society.
No political speeches either. You can't do that. That's a dumb way to talk.
Yeah. You got a whole couple of things here.
This is the academic nerd in me, like as I was planning. I mean, we've talked about we've talked about a lot of a lot of the things on there.
Is there anything we didn't cover that you think is important that people need to recognize? You know, the only thing like from my perspective that comes up that I think about is, you know, when we are when we're looking for who who becomes a police officer, you know, we as psychologists, we were really important gatekeepers because we. To give the final seal of approval before someone gets hired and there's been some really interesting discussions about what should we look for?
And, you know, in today's culture and, you know, with all the issues going on now, you know, can we screen out bias and racism? And and I mentioned it a little bit before that, you know, doing so was a really challenging thing. We probably will never be able to do it to that degree that people want us to. And there's been a lot of talk about implicit bias. Have you had anybody come on and talk about that kind of stuff?
The you know, that that the idea that we all have these kind of subconscious or unconscious biases, we they're they're just below awareness. They're just kind of things that we all react in in ways. Some more dramatic than others, but that we we are made as humans, that we have these implicit biases. And so a lot of folks have talked about why can't we, you know, can't we screen for implicit bias and officers and and, you know, not hire the people who have that?
And I thought, well, no, because the problem is we all have them. There's an online test that millions of people have taken. It was connected with Harvard. It's the implicit association test. It's online. Anybody can go take it. And it's really fast and you can choose what groups you want to see. If you have bias towards, you know, different races. There's a black white one. There's you can do the fat, skinny one.
You can see if you're you have biases towards, you know, different sexual orientation. So you choose which bias you want to investigate. You take this test. And basically it's saying the the whole premise is if you have these associations, you know, if if you have a bias, like against black folks, then what they do during the test is a flash up, like a picture of white and black people and then positive and negative words. And you have to respond according to instructions for keystrokes.
And that the notion is if you associate, you know, a black if you have a negative bias towards black folks, you're going to associate the black faces with the negative words. You're going to respond faster.
Although it seems so crazy, this test has been around forever. But is that real? I mean, well, it has to be really criticized.
So what's funny is that it is if you're a testing person. So in my day job, I'm a bit of a testing.
But the thing is, it's not life. It's it's not. And that's exactly kind of the point that I thought was important to me, because you hear a lot about this and people are like, well, give that. I'm like, well, there are some major problems. First of all, from testing standards, you can take it twice and you're probably going to score differently. Well, here's a that's a problem.
You could juked that system. You get to let go. I know they want me to do it. So if what if you were an actual racist and you took that but you knew they were looking for racist, you would pretend.
So the theory behind the test is, is that it supersedes that because it's instant and it's fast.
It's how quickly you respond, you know, what you're doing. And so the theory is that because these are below the surface, that it gets around trying to manipulate it. That's the idea. I'm not I'm not advocating and saying it's perfect, but those who support it would say it's a big deal. What scares me is that people have wanted to use that in screening and we can't because No. One, it's implicit. We all have these biases.
Right? No, to just having it does not predict whether or not you would ever act on a bias. Right.
So it's there is no there's no good research that shows that having implicit bias, meaning you will you will act in a racist way. Right. So there's not a connection there. So that's a second problem. But what what stands out to me is there's there's people who are like now doing these implicit bias trainings. And it's and they're doing it for four officers. And I'm not saying this is a bad thing or knocking it. There's some research that supports and shows that if we want to and if we're if we are actively engaging and trying, that we can change our implicit bias like we can once we become aware of it.
We can do things to counter it and to change it and decrease it. And that's a great notion. But they're trying really hard to implement this into the world of police work because it's kind of one of the only things going right. And for me, I'm I'm not is on this bandwagon yet. I need to see a whole lot more evidence that this works, because while I have seen research shows it's possible to change your implicit bias, I have not seen anything that directly applies to police work.
And again, it may still be out there. Maybe I haven't come out, maybe I haven't come across the studies or I haven't seen it yet. There are some stuff out there. But the problem that I see that makes me most nervous about it or reluctant to kind of jump on board here, is that you really? It takes a lot of effort. It takes, you know, desire and practice and effort and to make those kind of changes.
And I just you know, if you've you've probably never worked for a company where you've been required to go to a diversity training. I've been to probably a dozen at this point over the course of my career.
How often are the horrible 90 percent of them are horrible. I've been to maybe two that were amazing. What's horrible about their cande, they're there. A lot of them just don't give much information that's helpful.
And it's more like it's it's exactly what you would expect in a diversity. This group is this and this group is that. And and if you feel this way, you're wrong. And if you do this, you're wrong and it just sort of makes you leave feeling like a horrible person. And but can you be specific thinking the questions?
Are they asking you? Oh, gosh, I think of a good, like, specific example. It's been a while since I've had to go to any of them and. The most recent one I went to was pretty fantastic. It's more like, you know, here's what here's what white people are like. Here's what black people are like. And they're based on these overgeneralizations and stereotypes. And maybe I've just been maybe I've just gone to a lot of bad trainings in my the agencies that I've worked for.
And they haven't been put on, but they just seem, I mean, canned in that they are using implicit bias to describe white people and black people because it sounds biased, not biased, but more serious generalization and stereotypes.
It can be.
I think it's just they they try to or at least a lot of the groups that have put them on try to make it very broad so it'll fit a white audience that they deliver to. But it becomes so broad that it just feels like like this. This isn't very helpful.
So it seems like something useful that they have to do to show they're doing something right.
And so I think a lot of those and, you know, police departments are being required to do diversity training. And so whenever I hear it, I kind of cringe just having been to some really bad ones and think, well, gosh, who's doing that? And is it doing more harm than good? Diversity training is a wonderful thing when done. Well, I just think. How is it done?
Well, you know, when I think of the ones that I've been to that were done, well, they they explained, you know, the process of sort of exploring one's thoughts and feelings. It was not so much accusatory. But, you know, here are some of the things that that folks who are really interested can do. And, you know, you can't you know, and here are some people who are doing good work and they, you know, show different news stories of people who are, you know, who have who have come the long gone from, you know, being somebody who maybe had problems before with, you know, having, you know, bias or even overt racist acts and that they've learned some things and made changes.
And so you kind of see someone's progress and they talk about theory behind how people come to identify, you know, with, you know, their cultural background and self. You know, we've all got some make up there and and what those sort of stages look like and, you know, much deeper and moving far away from the. Just generalizations and stereotyping in this group and that group, and I just feel that it's trying to throw in a seminar or I mean, it just seems so silly.
Yeah, it's hard. I mean, and if somebody really does want to dig deep and explore and, you know, to to move forward in terms of exploring and becoming aware of, you know, it is it's it's deep work.
It's hard work. It's something that I think you really have to want to do.
And that's, you know, sitting in a seminar room for two hours and being talked at usually isn't that effective.
So they're hard things. It's it's a really, really important topic. And I think we got a long way to go, you know, and in terms of like screening and whatnot, like I do, where we're in a tough place because, you know, we don't have any tests that detect bias.
And to create one, we would we would. It's almost an impossible thing because these are things that tend to be, you know, more subtle and less overt and hard to hard to directly measure in the way we do in psychology.
What else you got in that paper? But we didn't go over any.
No, we talked about a lot of stuff because I would imagine something like this, like it's a weird opportunity right now to think like. Yeah, talk about how's it going to go?
Is there anything that we covered that we maybe didn't cover correctly or weird or. I don't know what have we talked about, it's all such a blur sitting here in this seat, in this microphone, you do this every day. I don't. Is it weird? Yeah, it is weird. Yeah. Yeah. I hear your own voice in your ears.
Totally weird to hear my own voice in my ears. I'm used to hearing my own voice, but more like, you know. Yeah. In a classroom with students who are hiding behind laptops, falling asleep while I talk at them. But, you know, talking into a microphone with heads on and that headset on and knowing lots of voices are listening.
You know, I think the most important thing that we talked about other than the nonsense of defunding the police, is this this psychological aspect of the pressure and the high stress and then the the amount of downtime that a human being requires to sort of come back to normal, that these cops really never get that.
Yeah, I feel like that is that is one of the most important things I wanted to share and get out there. So, you know, if there are cops out there listening and they're like, oh, well, that yeah. Felt that or I'm right there, like, go get that book and read it. There's so much good advice in there. And and most departments, if they're larger sized departments, they have more resources obviously than smaller departments.
But, you know, there's a lot of resources out there for folks who feel like they need support. My biggest concern, I think, right now is that in this negative climate and this anti cop moment that we're in is that there are a lot of cops that were maybe under stress before, you know, maybe in a not so great place for whatever reason, just the jobs wearing on them or they've been in a major incident and they're still recovering from that.
And then combine that with just this anti cop and all of that, that that really could push people into into a dark place. And we know, you know, police suicide has been a major problem. It's gone up in the past few years.
What is the rate? So the rate? Well, in terms of percentages, it's almost impossible to give a good number because it depends on what your what your comparison group is. I know in twenty eighteen I think there were recorded, known about 172 suicides, and then in 2013 it was up to like twenty eight. And I'm scared to know what 2020 might look like given all the other hardships.
But just suicide in general is way past.
Suicide in general is high. So I can only imagine and there's a little bit of argument, depending on what stats you look at, as to how much higher it is in the police profession compared to the community. So different, you know, people can make stats, say a lot of different things. It's generally been accepted that it's a good bit higher for police. That's one of the one of the professions that has the highest suicide rate. So like one of the numbers quoted out there, like for the general population, it's about 12 or 13 per 100000 people would commit suicide.
And for police officers, it's more like 17 or 18 people out of 100000. So, you know, we see differences in the rates. And again, all that stuff we talked about before feeds into that tough culture, not going to ask for help. And one of I think the most interesting things, interesting and frustrating for me, is that of the other psychologists I've talked to that have worked with agencies and, you know, like how do we get in there and break down that barrier?
How do I get them to come to me? And when they need help so that we can prevent the suicides and how you help them once they do come to you.
So if I can get them to me, I can. I mean, I can't be all knowing and all perfect. If we can get them to a psychologist, we can help them. You think so? In most cases for suicide? Yeah, because there's always hope.
Suicide is when you've just lost the hope and you feel like that pain is never going to end and you don't, you see no way out. And we we can help with that if we know it's there and we know what to look for. I feel very confident that when you get a good therapist and you get someone in with a good therapist, we can help. But it's when they don't reach out. And that is the biggest problem with with officers is that they will suffer in silence and they will go every other which way it turns into depression or they have PTSD or they're using substances to cope with the difficulties.
And, you know, all the other things that compound on there that what's the best way to get them into the office so we can help them. And a great line. And now I'm going to blink. And I'm so sorry for whoever it was I'm stealing this from. But another psychologist said what she's like, you got to be like the furniture.
And I'm like, what does that mean? She's like in the department, you got to be like a coat rack or a chair. Like they're so used to seeing you there. It's like, oh, hey, doc, you know, hey, what's up? Hi, Dr. Pinza. Like, hey, you know, like, they're so used to seeing you and you're just like one of them. That's when they come talk to you. So that's that was one of the things that stood out, be the furniture like.
But the thing that's frustrating about that is it's hard for departments to open their doors and let outsiders in. You know what? It's it's hard to say, you know, OK, here I'm available or you've got a contract with this company so that anybody who needs therapy can go. But just to have that person present. So things that have been suggested or, you know, have a one day a month, have a have have you know that the docs in the office there and anybody is free to come in and ask questions or talk.
It's open door, talk about you, talk about a friend, come in and it's all confidential, it's all covered, you know, it's whatever. But that they're so used to seeing you that, you know, over time they they will come in and be like, oh, yeah, you're OK. You know, it's doing right along with people. It's becoming familiar. But I find that it's hard to get departments to open that door and to kind of accept you as as as part of them.
Well, doesn't it depend entirely upon the personality of the psychologist as well? Yeah, some people would be really annoying to have around. Yes, you would be great to have around. You're a nice person. Thank you.
I'm fun to talk to, but I'm sure there's a lot of psychologists that are not.
Yeah, it's true.
And they probably don't want to be police psychologists then, because you kind of got to you got to at least have an appreciation, if not an affinity for that. There's always been something about it that's fascinating, you know, and that that that has drawn me in to say, you know what, this is just this is just a stupid, hard job.
And the people who do it work so hard and put so much of themselves into it. I've just always had that soft spot. I'm glad you do. And so, yeah, like just being there and being present so that that door's open and they might just slip into it because if we can get them in there, I feel really confident that we can help. We know what to do. That's what we do. We help people who are depressed or anxious or traumatized or considering ending their life because we, of all the things, want to stop that one.
And obviously abuse. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you very much, Nancy. It was really good to talk to you. And I think what you do is very important. And I think we're both in agreement that it is an unbelievably difficult job and very underappreciated. Yeah. And, you know, there's a lot more good cops and there are bad cops, that's for sure.
That's for sure. Thank you very much today.
Do you have a social media or anything or mainly just email, don't your email pretty low profile.
I'll give you social media that people can go for. Do you. What what do you have a I have to give it to you like Twitter.
I don't Twitter. Instagram, I just I stay away from it. Yeah. That's why I say good for you chanoff email. I can't deal with all the social media. Good for you.
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