Powers On Policing

Powers On Policing

Good day and welcome to Powers on Policing; a podcast devoted to the world of law enforcement and criminal investigations from the perspective and first-hand accounts of and by the professionals who have devoted their lives and careers to making our country a better and safer place for all. My name is Bill Powers and I have been active in the law enforcement community for the past five decades. To borrow a phrase, “I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.” Working together with my partner Jordan Rich we will present a view of the professions not generally seen or reported on. When you hear an emergency vehicle’s siren grow near or see a uniformed police officer approaching, what are your thoughts? I doubt they cause you to break into a smile, not because of the officer, but because of what they represent. Unfortunately, In the overwhelming amount of encounters the reasons for meeting are not pleasant or positive. Could be there has been an accident with injuries and you were involved or were a witness. Maybe a crime was committed, and you were the victim, or someone is being arrested and you are frightened. Sometimes it is a simple traffic stop and you are getting dinged for a speeding violation. Or perhaps it was a worst case scenario and they are on your doorstop delivering the kind of news that no one wants to hear. Have you ever stopped to consider that the person you are facing is just like you. A human being with a family and friends and feelings with similar beliefs and values. They aren’t the heartless mechanical automatons portrayed in all phases of media, but real people who took an oath of office to serve and protect you and your families from harm. They are the ones that willingly run towards harm while others flee to safety. They are the ones you pray can bring calm to chaos; and they almost always do! The primary objective of our podcast is to shed light on and explore the multi-layered and wide-ranging phases of policing and criminal investigations. Along the way we will also offer an inside look at the collaborations formed between agencies and businesses to fight and solve crime. For example: • We will discuss and explore the work of criminal investigators, crime scene specialists and forensic scientists. • We will look at the roles and responsibilities of coroners and medical examiners and talk about how they are able to determine the cause and manner of someone’s death • We will venture into the courtroom and explore the work of judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys. Think of our time together as a multi-faceted citizens academy; except on steroids. Along the way, we will also delve into related topics about leadership, community policing, current issues in policing etc. And maybe spend a few episodes speaking with true crime and mystery writers about their methods for researching and writing a short story or novel. Thank you for coming with us on our ride-along. and we promise you won’t be disappointed. Some stuff that may be better used as another time. Why now... for too long police have not had a voice in the narrative and it is the right time and place to re-write much of what has been written and give the listener a view from the police side of the yellow crime scene tape. Over the past few years, the general media portrayal of police has turned negative. It seems like news reporters often operating with limited knowledge but making plenty of assumptions about the why and what of the incident, depict the police press reports with skepticism and their actions are questioned as though they were being interrogated about why they took the action they did … Because the media and special interest groups have been dominating and controlling the narrative the police voice or version of the events has been lost in the noise.


May 23, 2024 41 mins

The encouragement and allowance of peaceful protest and free speech is a cornerstone of the United States Constitution and is solidified in the First Amendment. Our nation was created from political dispute with England, and angry protests and fiery speeches energized the rebellion. Now, almost 250 years later, political disputes, speeches and demonstrations are once again front and center.

Like all freedoms, there are rules and par...

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This episode concludes the discussion about the mass murder in Wakefield MA. on December 26, 2001. Previously, Jordan and Bill led listeners through an exhaustive examination of the investigative process and the legal challenges that led up to the trial of Commonwealth vs. Michael “Mucko” McDermott.

Today they focus on the trial in general and distinguish the differences in trial methods and process when a defendant offers a defense...

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April 25, 2024 29 mins

A defendant always has the presumption of innocence, and the prosecution always carries the burden of proving their case “beyond a reasonable doubt”. The burden is high because the stakes are as well. In a murder conviction, the defendant could lose their freedom for the remainder of their natural life. So, the preparation work leading up to a trial is enormous and needs to be on point.

In this week’s episode Jordan and Bill discuss...

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We continue our review of the mass murder in Wakefield and focus on the importance of protecting the crime scene in the original condition, preserving it from additional contamination, before documenting and meticulously collecting all of the evidence for additional testing at the crime lab and beyond. 

Bill addresses the strict judicial interpretations of the 4th Amendment regarding search and seizure, and he explains when, where a...

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Every death investigation presents unforeseen and unpredictable issues and complications. Each requires immediate, but considered decision making to restore order and safety, preserve the crime scene(s), summon the needed practitioners to assist, all the while keeping out those folks that aren’t central to the investigation. Only then can the next steps be determined and prioritized to move the investigation forward.

In this episode...

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Every homicide investigation and prosecution is unique and, while there may be similarities to other cases, no two are ever identical. An often-quoted legal principle states “Each case turns on its own facts.”

Some cases rely on direct evidence like the defendant’s fingerprints or DNA on the murder weapon or testimony from a surviving victim or eyewitness about their observations. Other cases are built in a circumstantial manner whe...

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Growing technological and scientific improvements and their application and benefit in criminal investigations has been extraordinary and at times mind-boggling. But, with the changes come legal, evidentiary challenges to the technology, the science behind it and the expertise of the scientists who test and evaluate the results. Court decisions are definitive and swift and can often change the course of an investigation and prosecu...

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Today’s episode launches a new chapter in our podcast series. For the foreseeable future, the focus will be on the investigation and prosecution of homicide cases. Listen as we walk you through a series of cases, taking you from the arrival at a crime scene, through the trial preparation and prosecution of the case.

Bill, and our guests, are practitioners with decades of experience and most often first-hand knowledge of the cases th...

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December 5, 2023 20 mins

Join us in this first episode of a new chapter as we transition from a general overview of policing in America today, to an in-depth look at criminal investigations.

In many instances the witness interviews and evidence present in a simple, straight-forward manner and result in a quick arrest and prosecution. In other cases, the preliminary information and evidence may be lacking or in dispute, requiring a larger and more in-depth i...

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Our guest today is author and retired police officer Frank Scalise. Frank, who writes under the pen name Frank Zafiro, has produced more than thirty novels and countless short stories in the genre of police procedurals. All are authentic, topical, and well written. None are more timely or relevant though than the two we will discuss in this episode. I believe our discussion serves as an exclamation point to the end of this chapter ...

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October 11, 2023 23 mins

Our conversation continues with retired police superintendent and current college professor, Dr. Paul Joyce. 

In this episode, Paul discusses community policing as a philosophy and not a collection of protocols or checklists that are set in stone. He describes it as a way forward by building strong partnerships, to problem solve and improve quality of life in neighborhoods. He talks of the need for all community stakeholders to buy ...

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Our guest in this episode is Dr. Paul Joyce, a retired Superintendent of the Boston Police Department, and current Assistant Professor and Chair of the Criminal Justice and Criminology Program at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. 

In any serious conversation about the best methods to generate a meaningful, collaborative effort between police and the communities they serve, Paul should be the featured speaker. His pro...

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In part two of our interview with retired police chief and recent author Kristen Ziman (Imagining Blue: Thoughts on Life, Leadership, and a New Way Forward in Policing), we focus on recent events and the resultant calls for police reform with an increased expectation of deliverable police services. We discuss the best way for law enforcement to meet those demands as well as the need for a significant government investment of money ...

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Kristen Ziman is the boss you always wish you had! Like the legendary example of the kid who started in the mailroom and rose to be company CEO, Kristen started her police career as a 19-year-old cadet and rose through the ranks to become Chief of the Aurora, Illinois Police Department.

Listen as she talks about growing up in Aurora, the daughter of a police officer, and why, from the time she was six, she had only one goal., to fol...

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August 30, 2023 33 mins

Community policing is both a policy and a strategy that requires buy-in and participation not only by the police department, but the community as well. It is never a “quick fix” but a long-term commitment that is built on mutual trust and respect, and that doesn’t happen overnight. Not an easy mission under any circumstances, but in higher education where the resident population turns over almost completely every four years, the ch...

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August 24, 2023 37 mins

Our conversation with Terry Cunningham continues with a discussion about the political motivation and movement to “defund the police”. He explains that with crime now at an all-time high, most of the defund arguments and proposals have had disastrous results with high homicide rates and the physical and financial destruction of many cities. In their place, new anti-police schemes have risen. “Demoralize the police” is their newest ...

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August 15, 2023 21 mins

The IACP is the primary organization representing police leaders throughout the world. With more than 33,000 members in 173 countries, it is the advocate and the voice for police chiefs throughout the United States and the world. As the Deputy Director, Terry Cunningham is a primary diplomat, educator, and negotiator for the Association with both the Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government. I could think of no ...

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There is much over-the-top talk about the need for police reform, without a real understanding of the issues. Historically, there is no profession that evolves and changes with the times as rapidly as policing. When laws change or government leadership redefines the role of their police department, or when courts make rulings that change or alter criminal investigative procedures, the transformation and “re-tooling” is immediate. T...
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August 7, 2023 16 mins
This is the first of what promises to be an epic series of podcasts designed to engage, enlighten, and educate listeners to the world of law enforcement and beyond. Our focus will be multi-dimensional and will cover current issues involving the criminal justice system as a whole, with an emphasis on criminal and courtroom procedures, as well as the forensic sciences. On the lighter side, we will speak with authors of both ficti...
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June 27, 2023 1 min
Good day and welcome to Powers on Policing; a podcast devoted to the world of law enforcement and criminal investigations from the perspective and first-hand accounts of and by the professionals who have devoted their lives and careers to making our country a better and safer place for all.
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