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October 10, 2023 50 mins

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Season 6 - Episode 113 - The CopDoc Podcast

What does it take to be a successful police leader in a constantly evolving world? Join us in our latest Cop Doc Podcast episode as we dive into the mind of Deputy Chief Sean Riley from the Framingham Massachusetts Police Department. We explore the challenges and rewards of leading a force of 136 sworn officers, handling a diverse population, and managing a transition from a town to a city.

Deputy Chief Riley shares invaluable insights on the importance of police leadership succession planning and cultivating a lasting legacy. As a true leader, he offers practical advice to new lieutenants, stressing the significance of listening to their team and speaking with one voice. We also delve into the role of civilian staff in policing and how they contribute to the ever-growing mental health calls.

But there's more to leading a police department than meets the eye. Deputy Chief Riley reveals his plans for creating a community impact unit that aims to address calls for service, crime, mental health, and quality of life issues. We discuss the international implications of the Framingham Police Department and the mentor-mentee approach he employs with his team. Don't miss this thought-provoking episode featuring a true leader who's passionate about the men and women in blue.

Contact us:


If you'd like to arrange for facilitated training, or consulting, or talk about steps you might take to improve your leadership and help in your quest for promotion, contact Steve at

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Intro (00:02):
Welcome to the Cop Doc Podcast.
This podcast explores policeleadership issues and innovative
The cop doc shares thoughts andideas as he talks with leaders
in policing communities,academia and other government
And now please join Dr SteveMorialli and industry thought

leaders as they share theirinsights and experience on the
Cop Doc Podcast.

Steve Morreale (00:32):
Well, hello everybody again.
This is Steve Morialli, comingto you from Boston,
massachusetts, and today we gonext door from where I live to
the next town, framingham Itactually is now a city,
framingham, massachusetts and Ihave the pleasure of talking to
Deputy Chief Sean Rally.
He has the operationsresponsibility for patrol.
He told me patrolinvestigations, canine and such,
so I want to welcome you thismorning.

How are you, sean?

Sean Reilly (00:54):
How are?

Steve Morreale (00:55):
you, how are you ?
Thanks for being here.
Before we begin, let's starttalking about not you yet, but
about the department.
Describe the department, talkabout the transition from town
to city and what that means.
How big are you, what's yourvolume?
Those kinds of things, thethings you can tell us about
your department.

Sean Reilly (01:09):
Absolutely So.
The city of Framinghamobviously is a fairly new city.
We were a town up untilapproximately five years ago,
2018 we became a city.
As far as the day-to-dayoperations of the police
department, it really hasn'timpacted it too much.
Obviously, the way the chief,lester Baker, kind of manages
his way through city hall is alittle bit different.
There's not a town meeting Thecity council mayor, so that

changed a little bit from thatperspective.
But for the day-to-dayoperations of the police
department, it really hasn'timpacted us all that much.
The city of Framingham policedepartment is comprised when
we're fully staffed I thinkthat's important to put out
there where we would be 136sworn law enforcement officers.
That's from the chief all theway down to the most junior

police officer.
We're currently about too shyof that, and the reason why
we're too shy is we have somepeople that will be attending
the police academy.
We have some recent graduatesthat will be graduating in the
next month, so we have twoavailable openings as of today,
which is actually probablybetter than the national average
, i would think.
So we're doing pretty good withhiring.
As far as call volume goes forthe city, we average about

50,000 calls for service a year.
That's logged calls for service.
We are interactions with thepublic far greater than that,
but a lot of that doesn't getcalled out Community engagement
A lot of just the everyday workthat the men and women do and
the phone calls that come inDon't get necessarily added.
So it's probably, when youthink about it, a couple hundred
thousand encounters at least ayear that officers have with the

residents and those visiting orworking in the city of
Framingham itself is about 72 to75,000 residents as of the last
We're approximately 26 squaremiles.
It's a very diverse population.
Those that are not familiarwith the city of Framingham we
have a very urban and suburbanenvironment in the city.
The south side is a verycity-like environment And then

you can go on to the north sideAnd I would say in certain
sections it's even rural.
So very dynamic population.
We have a very high Brazilianpopulation in the city, probably
one of the highest in theCommonwealth, if not maybe even
in the country, as far as percapita how many Brazilian folks
we have.
So language barrier is probablyone of our bigger issues that

we encounter right now.
But we have various units withinthe police department.
Obviously, we have our basicpatrol operations, but we have a
full-time detective bureau thatworks weekends, holidays,
they're not on Monday throughFriday, they're a five-on
three-off schedule.
We have a crime scene servicesbureau.
We have four canines dive team,metro West Drug Task Force, so
a very active police departmentwithin the Metro West area.

Steve Morreale (03:46):
Okay, so we're talking to Deputy Chief Sean
Riley from FraminghamMassachusetts Police Department,
a mid-sized police departmentwith 130 plus sworn, and
obviously you have a prettystrong civilian or a
professional staff.
But I want to ask a couple ofquestions about you.
First of all, how long have youbeen on?
What's your trajectory?
What did you serve as you movedup in policing and in this


Sean Reilly (04:08):
I'll hit my 30th anniversary this October.
October 6th I started my careerat the Suffolk County Sheriff's
Department, working at theHouse of Correction in Boston.
That's where I started mycareer with the ultimate goal of
becoming a street cop, which Iwas able to do by getting hired
with the Winter PoliceDepartment in September of 1996
as a reserve police officer.
So I worked part-time shiftswith the Winter Police

Department until I was hiredfull-time, but I also worked
full-time with the Sheriff'sDepartment at the same time.
So I worked a little bit ofboth jobs.
Got on the job in 1998full-time as a police officer in
the town of Winter.
Then I transferred to theFramingham Police Department in
November 15th of 2001, shortlyafter.
So yeah, it's a great question.
I wanted more in my career.
It was a larger policedepartment.

I knew one of the lieutenantsthere.
There's the family connection.
My brother was married to aFramingham resident whose father
was a lieutenant with theFramingham Police Department.
That was my connection toFramingham And I guess I wanted
to expand my career, go to abigger department where there
was more to do and havehopefully some upward mobility
to do various types of things inpolicing, which I've been very

Steve Morreale (05:10):
Well, clearly you did.
You're now the deputy chief.
What's the setup?
So you have a chief, lesterBaker.
You have how many deputy chiefs?

Sean Reilly (05:17):
We have three deputy chiefs.
I oversee the operations sideof the house, which basically
the boots on the ground, i liketo call it, the men and women
that are on patrol, detective,bureau, investigative units.
And then we have the executiveofficer, ron Brandolini.
He handles more of the budgetside of the house the building,
the fleet And then we have anadministrative deputy chief that

handles all most of ourcivilian side of the house with
records, it type issues, etcetera.

Steve Morreale (05:43):
In 30 years, you've had exposure and
experience to a couple ofdifferent police departments,
including the correction side ofthings, and you've seen many
different people and manydifferent styles of leadership
some stern, some laissez-faire,think.
The question that I ask anawful lot of people is how do
you gain or what do you gleanfrom those people, to put it

into your customized approach toleadership?
Yeah, that's a great question.

Sean Reilly (06:08):
You learn from both good and bad leaders.
You take a lot of.
I think the biggest thing istaking the strengths from your
really good leaders and avoidingthe pitfalls of the leaders
that had rank but they didn'thave leadership ability A
difference in the two.
Your rank is your rank, butthere are a lot of people that
are leaders within ourorganizations that don't hold
any rank, and people will followthem And I think a lot of it

comes down to trust,communication and listening,
listening to the men and womenthat you're in charge of And I
say in charge of because of yourrank, but they do the work for
So I think that was probably, asI was coming up through the
ranks, probably some of thebiggest things you know
communication, communication,letting the men and women know
what's going on.
You can't let them knoweverything that's happening once

you get up into that chief'soffice, but I think advising
them and understanding the whyyou're doing what you're doing
that is, i think, super, superimportant.
It's easy for us to give ordershey, I need you to do this but
we're in a generation of policeofficers that want to know why
they're doing something, and Ithink we need to address that
and make sure that we areexpressed on why we do what we

Steve Morreale (07:12):
Yeah, but you're a 30 year veteran I was too,
and we can pin it on the newgeneration.
But so many times when you andI were coming up, we weren't
told things.
but you can't say that weweren't standing by to say why
the hell are they making thatchange?
I mean, we wanted to know asmuch as anyone except.
I suppose we were raised in anera where you did not question,

and yet now I suppose peoplequestion.
but don't you need to know why,as the deputy chief?
why someone's asking you to dosomething so you can sell it

Sean Reilly (07:42):
You're 100% correct , you nailed it.
We asked the same questions inour head, but 30 years ago you
just didn't question it becauseyou would be on a walk and beat
on the midnight shift.
But yes, i think we had thatsame reason why we're doing what
we're doing, and I think that'swhere the profession is
evolving in a positive direction.
I think the leaders today areimplementing some of the things
that we wanted done back in ourday, but we're just afraid,

maybe, to say something.

Steve Morreale (08:05):
That's a fair thought, you know.
I want to go back to somethingyou said a little bit ago and it
troubles me, not because yousaid it, but because, over and
over, i hear that and that isthat there's so much work that
we ask people to do buildingrelationships, talking with
people, pressing the flesh, ifyou will And yet we don't seem
to care or know how to capturethat.
And I wonder whether or not, asyou're sitting in meetings to

say, think about what you said,sean, we have about 150,000
calls to service per year, butwe probably have 150,000
Is it not important, do youthink, to try for us to figure
out how to capture that work,those attempts, those community
meetings and such?

Do you have conversations aboutthat?
Do you ever scratch your head?
How do you explain what peopledo during their day?

Sean Reilly (08:54):
That's incredibly important.
So we try to capture that bylogging directed patrols and
that type of thing, because thisis the way I explain it to the
officers when they ask, when weask to do some sometimes mundane
I say it's important todocument these interactions
because that way there, when weget questions at the chief's

office and they say what are youdoing about traffic complaints?
So what are you doing incertain neighborhoods, we can
bring up the data to show thatyes, our officers are in those
neighborhoods Document.
We have a pretty robustFacebook and Twitter page
Documenting, even by pictures,that we are out in the
neighborhoods, various events,et cetera.
Quantifying positiveinteractions sometimes can be

difficult, right, because it'smostly just calls for service
that get logged.
But community engagement issomething that's super important
and showing the residents thatwe're out there and getting that
positive feedback is important.

Steve Morreale (09:48):
So, sean, as a leader of leaders and certainly
first we have to manage.
You have to manage the day today or you delegate that
management, but you still haveto make sure that things are
being done.
But as you get the opportunityto lead and you're leading other
people, you're leadinglieutenants and sergeants.
I trust that one of the thingsthat you feel your
responsibility is, and that oflieutenants, is to develop

leaders below you or amongst you.
And the first question would bedo you think that leadership
can be taught?

Sean Reilly (10:17):
I do.
I do believe it can be taught.
I think some people this is oneof those.
I go to a lot of leadershipclasses and that's one of the
questions that comes up quitefrequently.
I think some people are naturalat it, right.
They just naturally engagingpersonalities, they enjoy
engaging people.
They're not afraid to step outin front of their peers and help
lead them in the rightdirection.
But I do believe that withmentorship and coaching you can

bring someone up that has thecapacity mentally, in their
brain power, to also get thoseskills to help lead.
And I think a lot of it comesdown to confidence.
Be confident in what you'redoing and portray that
confidence to those that you'releading and that you'll lead
them in the right direction.
I find one of my biggest rolesin this police department is to

have the next generation ofleaders ready to take over the
police department.
When I leave, when Chief LesterBaker leaves, someone
eventually is gonna step upright, we're going to leave.
This is one of those.
This is an infinite game.
It's not a finite game.
Policing it's infinite, so itdoesn't end Someone's gonna take
The worst part of my legacy inParliament and I could probably
speak on behalf of the Chiefwith this is if we leave it in

the wrong hands.
So that's a legacy builder formyself, even in the Chief, to
make sure that the next lead isthe deputy chiefs and chiefs of
the framing of PD are ready totake over and move it even
better than what hopefully it istoday.

Steve Morreale (11:35):
We're talking to Sean Riley And he is one of the
deputy chiefs at FraminghamMassachusetts Police Department
in what we call Metro West.
It is probably about 25 to 30minutes away from Boston.
Framingham State Universityexists there And there are a
number of organizations andbusinesses that thrive in

Of course, there's restaurantsand there's a mall and such, so
it's a good size city.
What I'm curious to know is asyou evolved and moved up and
were selected to be a deputychief and now you are in charge
anytime you step into the nextrole.
That takes some time toacclimate.
Maybe you get a little bit oftraining, maybe you're on your

own, but ultimately you're inmeetings at a higher level and
you're running meetings.
Take us into the meetings thatyou run with your crew, i think
efficiency is probably thebiggest thing I try to keep.

Sean Reilly (12:27):
In a meeting, there's always time for we'll
call it water, cool talk andgetting to know the men and
women you're working with.
I think that's a vital,important part of any meeting.
But I think time is importantAnd at this level, i find that
we are in a meetings a lot, sothe meeting itself has to be
efficient And I try to keep anagenda for every meeting.
What are the things that I wantto accomplish during that

I always look at previousmeetings and notes What have I
done and what do I need to checkin on?
So it's important for me to notonly give the feedback from my
perspective, but, moreimportantly, i want the feedback
Especially, i meet a lot withthe lieutenants.
I want their feedback And oneof the things I always say to
them what can I do better foryou?
I always, always ask that inevery meeting, cause my job is

to give the men and women thetools they need to do their job.
I can't make them happy intheir job.
That's truly, i believe, apersonal thing, but I want to be
able to say I gave them thetools and the information they
need to do their job.
So I always ask that questionAnd I try to keep a very strict
agenda to keep their time, youknow, super important, but my

time is important as well.
So I'm very, very organized inthat sense with meetings.

Steve Morreale (13:40):
So in meetings.
what I'm curious to know?
obviously, the agenda is theagenda and trying to move out.
here are the things that arehappening.
Here's what city halls wanting,here are the complaints.
Here are the things we'reworking on.
Here's what we need to do.
A car is down, body cams arecoming out, all of those kinds

of things.
But ultimately, do you, or howdo you, engage others in the
process, so that you are not theunilateral decision maker, but
that you're collectinginformation in certain
circumstances And feedback?

Sean Reilly (14:17):
Yeah, i think feedback's important.
There are times where in ameeting where it's no, this is
happening, this has to be doneand this is why You know whether
it's coming from me directly orit's coming from the chief of
city hall.
You know there are times wherein those meetings where I say,
no, this is the priority andwe've got to get this done.
And then there's other timeswhere I say, hey, give me your

What do you think aboutpotentially this movement?
Maybe it's personnel movement.
I'm thinking about adding anextra couple of officers to the
midnight shift or vice versa.
Or we're thinking about makinga downtown unit that
specifically deals with qualitylife issues downtown.
What do you think of that?
What do you think the admissionshould be?
And then you know, those arethings that myself I can bring

back to the chief and we canformulate a plan, if that's kind
of what you're asking.
I think you know it's veryinteractive, my meetings that
way, because I think you knowmultiple heads in the game is
far better than one, becausethere could be things that I
think are the right way to go,but some will say yeah, and you
might not want to do it becauseof this reason.

Steve Morreale (15:24):
So you got a new lieutenant coming in.
I suppose they report to you.
They've just been a sergeant,They've just been promoted and
in they come, and you and thechief, but at one point in time
to you and the lieutenant, I'massuming what are the pieces of
advice that you give to thelieutenant as you get them ready
for the next responsibility tothe next level?

Sean Reilly (15:47):
I think the biggest thing I would give
recommendations I would say isyou know, yes, your job does
change And you haven't been inthis field and you move up to
say the latter people go, oh,you've changed.
Well, yes, you have changed.
Your responsibilities andduties as a, say, a sergeant to
the lieutenant absolutely havechanged.
And take those responsibilitiesseriously.

Listen to the men and women.
Get to know them.
You know everyone.
You know we deal with some verydynamic people.
Get to know what their issuesare.
We can disagree in the roomtogether when we're talking, but
when you leave, it's onemission and one statement.

You may not agree witheverything the chief's office
wants to do, but it's incrediblyimportant that when you leave,
that you fulfill the mission ofthe police department and you
are the voice.
Don't go into the roll call andthis is one of the biggest
things that was a pet peeve ofmine.
Say the chief wants, so it's.

No, we are going to do X, y andZ.
And I said because you as alieutenant, especially in the
framing of police department,you're either a shift or a
bureau commander, so you'reoverseeing in sometimes small
police departments.
You know the midnight shift,for example, the lieutenant
might have four sergeants and 18police officers.
That's a lot of small policedepartments.

So they have a bigresponsibility And I think, one
voice, one message.
We can disagree and we can evenargue in these private meetings
I don't have a problem withthat.
But when you leave that's oneof my biggest pieces of advice
don't divide the house.
It's one of my biggest piecesof advice.

Steve Morreale (17:37):
Yeah, that's great to hear.
So an old guy like you has beenat this for a long time, has
experienced from a couple ofdifferent places, and I know
that you just graduated withyour master of public
administration from thatFramingham State University.
Talk about that experienceGoing back, being humble, being

willing to learn more.
How did it help you?
How did you adjust to goingback to school?

Sean Reilly (18:07):
It was a great experience.
First and foremost, i considermyself a lifelong learner, so my
learning, i guess journey hasbeen not very linear.
I guess in the sense of whatand I get a lot of people share
my path right.
But and what I mean by notlinear is I graduated from high
school, went to UMass, boston.

That was my first stop.
I really didn't like it.
I wasn't the greatest ofstudents.
I wanted to be a cop or Iwanted to join the Marine Corps.
That was kind of like mymission in life.
So I left and I joined theSheriff's Department at the time
It took me, oh man, probablyabout 13 years, i think, to

finally graduate my bachelor'sdegree at Weston, new England
College, and it was a lot of offcampus stuff, it wasn't on
And then I took quite a breakand I decided myself and the
chief actually this was a dualeffort We got together and we
were like you know what we needto go back for our master's
degree, and this was in probablyNovember, december of 2019.

And we signed up during themaster's public administration
program at Framier StateUniversity.
And then COVID hit Yeah, Right,when we first started our very
first class.
So it was a very onlinelearning platform, but I learned
a lot from the classes I was inAnd it opened my eyes.

Because you're dealing, youknow, as you know, when you're
dealing with nothing but lawenforcement, in that perspective
, all the time, you can get veryjaded and singularly focused,
and I think that hurts policeofficers when it comes to even
our street work, because we canget jaded and sometimes in a
negative way.

Steve Morreale (19:51):
So being able to It's almost like I don't mean
to interrupt, but you almostlook like you have blinders on
and you need to take thoseblinders off.
You need to have betterperipheral vision.

Sean Reilly (19:59):
Right and listen and gets back to listening to
other perspectives.
You may not agree with it, butlistening to other perspectives.
So the masses program gettingto and I was one of the old guys
in the program, but that's allright.
But listening to some of myyounger colleagues that were in
different professions And mostof us were in the public realm

because that's the programyou're in But hearing those
different perspectives I thinkreally helped me and it helps me
today do my job Because I tryto think of the big picture when
we're making decisions Now.
Certain things that we makedecisions on really critical,
you have to make a decisionright now, but a lot of what we
do up in the chief's office is,you know, looking long-term.

So getting differentperspectives in this program
masses program really helped mewith that a lot.

Steve Morreale (20:49):
So that's very interesting thought.
I've written a few things down,but what you just said triggers
this in my mind that whenyou're at the top or near the
top, while you have theresponsibility as the patrol
bureau Commander, you have theresponsibility through your
people, through your colleagues,to handle the day-to-day.

But someone, including yourself, at the deputy chief position,
has to have the long view, andthat's a lot of what you're, i'm
sure, you're talking about.
Okay, we've got this, we setthat up, but now, well, let's
talk about the next month, let'stalk about what's coming up in
six months, let's talk aboutwhere we are in a year.
And I know that that takes timewhen you go from the
lieutenant's position to acaptain or a deputy chief's

position, to understand your newrole.

Sean Reilly (21:37):
How did you adapt?
I always kind of had that.
I'll be honest with you.
That was probably one of mystrengths when it came to maybe
becoming an administrator.
A lot of the roles I hadthroughout my career.
I dealt with the chief's officequite frequently And some of my
mentors were in those positions.
So I always kind of learnedthat, what their role is, and I

try to explain that because Iwas never.
I was lucky, but they never thechief's office never explained
it to people what their truerole is And I think that's
something that, as my role nowis, i try to push that down to
the lieutenant and the sergeantlevel, saying, yes, i get to
wear this fancy uniform now, butI'm really not a street cop
anymore And I'm accepting ofthat.

My job is, like you said,looking long term.
Where are we today?
How can we improve on processes?
How can we change things thataren't working?
One thing in law enforcementthat I've learned in 30 years we
hate change And we don't wantto admit that maybe we're going
in the wrong direction and weneed to maybe shift a little bit
, and I try to look at it thatway all the time.
It creates more work for me,but I think that's important.

We need to realize that we arean industry that needs to change
with the times and what thepublic wants from us.

Steve Morreale (22:47):
So let's walk down that road.
What are the things that arebeing worked on now?
Look, Lee Singh, as you know,and certainly I know, has had a
couple of black eyes, if not acouple, a whole bunch of black
eyes, And, unfortunately, whenthings happen in other
jurisdictions, we're all paintedwith the same broad brush.
Yet your men and women have togo out on the road that same
night and deal with people anddeal with issues.

The night that George Floyddied and the weeks after with
They had to go and they had tostill wear the uniform, be a
target of sorts and yet do theirjob.
How do you talk them through it?
How do you keep them focused ontheir job?
and try to not be distracted bythe noise.

Sean Reilly (23:26):
How do you communicate to them that they
still have our trust, that theyhave city's trust?
We're lucky in Framingham.
We overall have a verysupportive city council.
We've had two mayors thecurrent mayor and the past mayor
that have been very supportiveof us.
I know if the chief was on thiscall and I'm going to use the
George Floyd incident our mayorat the time was Mayor Yvonne
Spicer, who was a black femaleAnd I know her and I can say

that she was incrediblysupportive of the police and she
communicated that.
And I think by communicatingwith the men and women
constantly showing up at rollcalls saying you do have the
Yes, this is a rough time, butyou have our support.
Continue to do what you do eachand every day.
We cannot control these otheractions around the country, but

they do impact us.
So remember that when you dealwith the public, they're looking
at us the same ways thattarnishing of the badge.
So you need to show that theframing him police department do
it the right way every singleday And you do have the support.
So that was one of the biggestthings that myself and the chief
was constant communication.
You have our support.
Continue to do your job.
You're doing it.
Well, just go out and continueto do it, that's good to hear.

Steve Morreale (24:32):
You know, a little bit ago you said
something that again sticks withme And I think it's a very,
very important element ofpolicing, and that is that you
as an administrator get the workdone through other people, and
the communication that you'retalking about is really
I wrote a few things down herethat play into that.
Relationships become importantinside and outside.
I wanna talk about that, but Iwas just reading a book, as I

know that you continue to readTrust and Inspire, and old Covey
book is now putting out Trustand Inspire, and I think the
basis of relationships is aboutearning trust and developing
two-way trust and inspiringothers.
This book could be veryvaluable both inside the agency
but outside the agency, becausepolice departments have to
continue to build relationships.
You and I have talked about thisbefore.

I don't really want you drivingby.
If you've got a little bit oftime, stop, shake hands, say hi,
talk to people.
How else are you going to earnthat trust?
But how do you drive that?
How do you drive that throughto say, as busy as you are, you
always are gonna have some timeto stop and meet somebody and,
in essence, make a friend forthe police department.

Sean Reilly (25:36):
I think super important is that they see the
command doing what we're askingto be done Leading by example,
leading by example.
I pride myself as someone thatI'm not as a do as I say, not as
I do, type person.
If I ask you to go out andengage the neighborhood, guess
who's gonna be out there,walking right beside you?
I will be there with you.

The chief will be there.
This past weekend, the chiefand I.
As you know, steve, thesepositions are kind of very
political Once you get into thechief's positions and there are
certain events you need to be at, certain events you should be
So there was a Juneteenthcelebration on Saturday.
Myself and the chief went.
We went and played clothes, notin uniform.
It was because we went to acouple of community events and a

young black man said we'd liketo see you as not police
officers and be in not justregular street clothes, humanize
, humanize ourselves.
And I took that to heart Andyou know what, and that was a
learning experience.
Now I love being a cop, love it.
I take great pride in it.
I took that young man's what hesaid to me and over the last
several weeks I've gone toseveral community events, one

recently where I went and shotin a T-shirt with my wife and
just showed up and people werekind of shocked.
But little things like that.
And I try to show that to themen and women that we need to
show that we are human beings aswell and build that trust and
open ourselves up a little bit,get to know the residents, get
to know the business owners.
So one of the biggest things,if I could just kind of go back

a little bit, we used to get introuble a lot.
Oh, the cops are hanging out incoffee shops and everything
else And I said listen, i willback you up Now.
I don't want you hanging out inthe coffee shop an hour and a
Or for the whole shift Right butI will have your back if you're
in there in a business having acup of coffee with the business
owner, getting the pulse of theneighborhood, because that's
what I want you to do, becausewhen the call comes in, you're

gonna leave and go answer thatcall.
Get to know people that you'retrying to protect and serve.

Steve Morreale (27:23):
We're talking to Sean O'Reilly, and Sean and I
had the opportunity to travel toIreland a few months back
because the Framingham policewas one of the first in the
Commonwealth to begin aco-response program, and it
continues to purge and become avery important or an integral
part of the police department.
But I wanna talk about thatco-response and your experience

as you grew through it.
It's been 20 or so years thatyou weren't been involved, so
you must have been either ayoung officer or a sergeant or a
lieutenant involved in it.
And let's go back to the periodof time when it first started
Your first guttural reaction.

Sean Reilly (27:59):
Yes, when I think about when you ask that question
, my first and I'm smilingbecause my first reaction is I
picture Sarah, dr Sarah Abbottin her great English accent,
showing up in the policedepartment 20 years ago.
I think we actually just hitthe 20th anniversary back in
So, yes, we're not 21st year ofco-response And I was a young
officer at the time.

I was a patrol officer whenthis was first introduced by
Deputy Chief, then Craig Davis,and she wasn't Dr Sarah Abbott
at the time, but Sarah Abbottcame in and they created this
program That the officers at thetime we kind of looked around
the room and like what is this?
Who are these people cominginto our world?
So that was like the initialreaction.

And again it goes back to whatI was saying earlier right, and
Sarah did a fantastic job withthis.
She was very slow, she was veryengaging, she was a perfect
person to start this programbecause she took it slow and
built trust.
I always told other agenciesthat try to build this program
from the start.
You can't just force it onpeople.
It has to grow like anyrelationship, communication and

build the trust first.
It's a crawl, walk, run typeprogram, cause you are inviting
people into our world that wedon't historically let in.
So my initial reactions werewhat is this all about?
But I quickly bought into theprogram and I'll tell you it's
one of the books are going to bewritten about this And we're
going to look fast years fromnow in saying this was a

critical component to howpolicing changed for the future.

Steve Morreale (29:26):
So you're still doing it.
You're still involved in it.
In fact, i know that yourdepartment did something that
was unique, and that was theLester and predecessors.
You were relying on grant moneyfor this to happen And now, if
I'm not mistaken, there isactually city money involved in
it so that you can continue it,which is so unusual, which
indicates that you are nowrecognizing the importance of

having civilian staff to helpyou do the job, especially with
the rise in mental health.
Talk about that.

Sean Reilly (29:54):
So the city has bought into this program where
they are even, like you said,they're backing it up with their
wallet, which is so, soimportant, because a lot of
times you can't depend on grantsforever.
There's a potential that thegrant could wash up and not be
And then what do you do?
And I think as a policedepartment and as a city, we've
decided that this is criticalwork and mental health is

probably one of the biggestthings that we do on a
day-to-day basis.
Even the simplest call of goingto a 14 year old or 12 year old
kid stolen by, there's a mentalhealth component to that call.
That is a critical issue forthat kid.
That could be the one bite thatthey own, that they will never
see again, and that kid is indistress, having a mental health
we'll call crisis.

So mental health is veryinvolved in almost every single
call we go on, and having acivilian staff person that is a
master's level clinician with usto even deal with something as
simple as that not only helpsthat person maybe hopefully get
over it and move forward, butthe cross-pollination, i like to
say with police and cliniciansis evident at the framing of

police departments.
Our officers have naturallybecome more adept at dealing
with mental health calls.
It's become so ingrained in ourculture in having a mental
health clinician there.
Our officers have become betterat dealing with mental health
calls with no clinician.

Steve Morreale (31:13):
Biden is Because you're observing each other's
behavior and then you'readapting some of the approaches
that the clinician will helpinstead of walking in.
I mean, I understand becauseI've been through it as you have
I'm Officer Moriely and I can Italk to you and I see a license
of registration, when that'snot what happens necessarily.
In one way, Sean, what I'mbeginning to think is it is a
form of de-escalation.
When you walk in and say, hey,I'm Steve from the police

department, How can I help you?
You seem to be in distress Andif it's not me, it's your
Talk about that change, thatmetamorphosis.

Sean Reilly (31:41):
Yes, i think, and you nailed it, it's a
We walk into scenarios now.
How can I help you?
We're years ago What's theproblem here?

Steve Morreale (31:51):
Exactly, i know.

Sean Reilly (31:52):
We're going in with a different mindset And I think
that really changes the gameAnd it's not soft on policing
And I try to say that toofficers.
It's just a different approachbecause that person you walked
in and say how can I help you?
You may still have to lock themup, they may have just been
involved in domestic and hittheir life, but you will get
buy-in hopefully by just yourapproach.

And I'm guilty as charged.
I had that cop mentality whereI walked in like the big guy.
What's the problem here?
I'm in charge.
I have morphed over the yearsto change And I think that
happens with age and time on thejob.
But I think we try to ingrainit in the culture on a new
officer immediately at theFramier Police Department to
de-escalate situations, try notto use force and use the tools

we have at our hands to commitand help them.

Steve Morreale (32:38):
Well, how many times have you shown up at an
You've shown up at a call,you've calmed everything down
and in comes Joe, and Joe isjust going to come in and he's
going to rev it up.
like you, son of a bitch, ijust had it calmed down and now
we're wrestling because you'rejust pissing the guy off.
that I just calmed down.
Why did you show up?
Isn't that true?

Sean Reilly (32:54):
Yeah, I can think of a couple of things.
I know, I know, I know.

Steve Morreale (32:57):
But I'm assuming that that is happening less and
less and less today, based ontraining and setting
expectations 100%.

Sean Reilly (33:07):
I don't think we're human beings, i don't think
100% go away Right, and I saythis all the time.
We're human beings, we havefaults.
It will never always be perfect, but we strive for perfection
And, i think, make it cultural,continually push down the
message of what we're trying todo as a police agency And that
way the other men and women know, when they come in every day,
that, yes, our ultimate goal isto protect people, service them,

get them the help they need,but at the same time, keep the
residents of the city ofFramingham safe.
And if that means someone hasto be locked up, well, let's do
We can do it in a dignified way, without going hands on all.

Steve Morreale (33:38):
Well, it sounds to me too like this is the
perfect place for an emotionalintelligence to be talked about
on the police department,because if you can control your
emotions, if you can understandthat it yes, it seems like this
is an attack on me as a policeofficer, when really it may not
If, again, if you change themindset, they're just venting
and they're bullshit.
And yes, it may be a littleuncomfortable I'm in charge here

but to say hey, hey, hey, hey,hey, no, let's comment down here
a little bit, let's talk.
I mean, i'm not here but tohelp you, you made a call and
here I am.
I'm certainly not trying topreach by any means, but that
emotional intelligence piececomes in.
You've been in plenty oftraining And obviously you've
talked about that, perhaps inyour master's program.
But how does that weigh in?
What are the tactics orapproaches in field training

that you are talking about, sothat it can become, as you said,
a part of the culture, a partof the expectations of every

Sean Reilly (34:28):
I think the emotional intelligence piece and
I think as law enforcementwe're looking at that far more
now than ever It plays anintegral role in dealing with
We're in the people business.
We start right out of the gate.
When someone gets out of thepolice academy and they come to
us, They are introduced withinthe first three days to our
co-response clinicians.
When they're out on calls theclinicians will even ride as a

third person in that field,training officer's car.
Oh, wow, So they get to knowthem and they are ingrained into
the culture immediately in howimportant it is to use our
clinicians For not only themental health calls.
It could be maybe a deathnotification bringing them along
, go to any various calls.
And I think one of the biggestthings when I was a lieutenant
in charge of our field trainingprogram and now as a deputy

chief, the new officers haverealized that the clinician is
part of our team.
They may not be sworn but theyact equally as important as they
are with the batch, and thatincludes the janitor who's
sweeping your floors.
They are part of the overallteam in the police department.
They play a role as a team.
We've accomplished on missionAnd I think that's what we try
to ingrain in our offices at theframing of police department

from day one.

Steve Morreale (35:34):
So we're talking with Sean Riley He's a deputy
chief at FraminghamMassachusetts police department
And we've been talking aboutco-response and we've been
talking about emotionalintelligence.
We've been talking about theissues that are going on.
There were a few questions thatI wanna ask you.
The first is how your agencyuses incidents that happen in
other places as teachableopportunities to try to put your

officers and staff in themindset about what you would do
differently, how you would avoidthat from happening.
Let them vent, perhaps talkabout that.

Sean Reilly (36:04):
Let me use the Memphis most recent incident
where those officers beat thatman to death on a traffic stop.
Basically We use that as a way.
I think I sent out an emailWithin a couple of days of
what's the videos were releasedfor the importance of
And just because you get rankand become a sergeant or a
lieutenant doesn't mean youdisappear.

It's actually more.
You become more important roleto supervise those that are
under your command.
So we sent off an email to thesupervisors saying the
importance of supervision to beat very hot calls, so to speak,
calls that can get them veryemotionally charged We've all
bet on them and to take charge.
So we use that as a teachingmoment.
The George Floyd obviouslythat's a big one that really

changed a lot in policing,moving forward in police reform.
We use all of these as teachingmoments.
You're always on camera.
That was one of the chiefbakers biggest things.
I remember him as a lieutenanton his roll calls.
He would always say and he doesit now, even as the chief if he
jumps into a roll call,remember, you're always on
So teaching moments that you'rebeing watched The other things
that we've kind of looked at iscontinuing education.

Yes, you have the police academyand you have your in-service
training, but one of the biggestthings to prevent burnout is
educating yourself.
You may not think you need it,you may think you're the
greatest thing since slicedbread, but by going and
educating yourself leadershiptraining, or maybe it's accident
reconstruction, whatever yourexpertise is, or wherever you
want to improve yourself gettingthose days away from, say, the

mundane day-to-day operations ofpolicing can help improve who
you are, can make you a littlebit healthier, i think, the more
you're educated.
I think that's a big deal.
I think that's why up here inthe Northeast we do pretty well,
because I think we have apretty educated police force
here in Massachusetts and Ithink the importance of training
is critical.
So that's some of the thingsthat we use from around the
country as to what can wesacrifice, but what can't we

sacrifice more important to keepour offices safe and make them
the best officers they can be ona day-to-day basis when out in
the public eye Great.

Steve Morreale (38:05):
One question that is in my mind is what the
Framingham Police Department andyou and the command staff are
working on to improve.
And so I'm sure in some of themeetings, as you look forward,
someone whether it's you or thechief or your colleagues as
deputy chiefs are saying whatare the things that we have to
work on, what are the things wehave to pay attention to, what
are the things we should catchup on to do a little learning

and then see what we can do toapply and improve What's on that
How does that process work?

Sean Reilly (38:31):
So I'm gonna use a very specific kind of situation
we're dealing with.
It involves some mental healthcomponents, homelessness
components, quality of lifeissues in our downtown area.
It's always been an area ofconcern with residents,
politicians, the policedepartment, and we're always
willing to change the way we dothings.
So the chief and I, actually onSaturday, we're in the office

talking about what can we maybedo to improve our approach to
Now that's the specific issue.
but what can we do to improveresponse, maybe city-wide, when
it comes to very certainspecific problems?
We're in the early stages ofcreating perhaps a community
impact unit that can deal withvery specific issues, hot spot

They could be calls for service, they could be crime related,
they could be mental healthrelated or just quality of life

Steve Morreale (39:19):
Well, it could be proactive too, rather than
being reactive, in other words,We know there's a problem here.
Get some people down there toget to know what the issue is.

Sean Reilly (39:26):
Correct And I think , as police officers, i try to
push this down as well.
Sometimes some of the issuesthat we deal with are not police
issues, but we do driveActually, most of them probably
Right, but we drive the train.
The public depends on us tocome up with solutions.
So I want the men and womenthat hopefully will be in this
unit eventually to understandthat they're communicating with

the DPW, the Board of Health.
So we're trying to in essencewe've been doing these things
for years We're trying to createa more formalized structure.

Steve Morreale (39:56):
You were at that event, as I recall, at William
James College when we werelistening to the as a captain
from the Los Angeles Sheriff'sDepartment.
Is that correct, where he wastalking about his homeless unit
and how, in essence, they'vevirtually made no arrests but
they were constantly helping thecommunity and those in need?
Correct, you react to that,right?
I mean, i did too.

Sean Reilly (40:15):
And I think that's what we're.
And I'll tell you I'm going togive some kudos to Gloss of the
I've been using some of theirliterature as well.
They have a community impactunit that was put together to
deal with some homeless andopioid issues.
But yes, that captain thatspoke talking to folks up at
Gloss of the PD.
Now, obviously we have tocreate it specific to Framingham
, but that is something that weare, to answer your question,

looking at and trying to develop, to get better at what we do We
do a pretty good job of it butto formalize it And hopefully
try to resolve some long termissues.
Whether it's downtown, it couldbe up on Route 30 in Framingham
, it could, and it could pop offanywhere in town.
Their issues may just all of asudden be created in a certain
location in the city, so thisisn't necessarily a downtown

That might be our spot where westop.

Steve Morreale (41:01):
So it sounds like it's a littlebit of pop right
Problem-oriented policing And itcertainly is community policing
We haven't talked about that.
What's your view on communitypolicing and how important it is
for your officers and for yourtown?

Sean Reilly (41:12):
It's funny.
We've always said to ourcommunity that community
policing is a department-wideinitiative.
It's not a unit, it's adepartment-wide initiative.
Every single sworn person is acommunity policing officer.
Everybody from the chief down.
We all need to be in thecommunity.
We all need to engage.
Now this particular unit that Italk about, that we're hopefully

going to start up, is going tobe dealing with very similar to
what Detective Bureau does.
They're looking to maybe stoplong term issues or investigate
issues that maybe a everydaypatrol officer can't deal with.
So, yes, will they be out inthe community in a more engaged
way as their primary mission?
Yes, but that doesn't meanevery other officer stops doing
what they're doing.
So community policing is vital.

It builds that trust and thatcommunication that we talked
about earlier on, partlyimportant from a top down
But again, we always say to ourofficers just because you're a
community engaging communitypolicing doesn't mean you don't
hold people responsible andstill be a cop.
Deal with policing issues.
We don't want people tode-police.
But that message sometimes getsvery missed.

People go.
They don't want us to be copsanymore.
No, that's not true.

Steve Morreale (42:18):
You can still engage the community, but do
your law enforcementresponsibilities, done so many
trainings, and that's what youhave to try to convince people.
Look, we are not ever takingaway your ability to arrest, but
it's your discretion as to whenand if you choose to exercise
that, and you're the only personthose who are sworn officers
that have that right.
But certainly makes life a loteasier when you have more

friends than enemy.
Correct That accurate.
So let's talk for a few minutes, as we wind down, about your
experience, our experience inIreland.
I will set it up by saying ourcolleague, andy Lacy, who's a
superintendent at Angar deChicana, is in Limerick.
I spoke to him actually theother day.
He's back in Limerick and HenryStreet, and one of the things
that they did, based on a reportfor the future of policing in

Ireland, was to say we need todeal with the mental health
issues in Ireland.
And what I found fascinating, asI know you did too, is that
there was such a willingness togo and look elsewhere as to
what's being done and tocustomize a program for the
guard based on the experiencesof the United States, of Canada,
of Northern Ireland and ofScotland And we were able to

observe all of those, and youwere one of the presenters for
the Framingham model.
What fascinated me about thisso far is the gathering of
evidence and the planning andthe singular steps that were
taken to try to make thisprogram go Just blew my mind.
I'd like your opinion of that.

Sean Reilly (43:43):
This is a career highlight of mine And the core
response is passion of mine Andit's something that I want to be
involved in when I retire frompolicing and made my quote
second career I definitely wantto stay professionally involved
at the higher education levelwith this because I really do
believe in it And I think it'sthat important.
And having the opportunity tomeet Superintendent Lacey I

think he came we went over therelast year in 2022.
So he came over in late 2021and presented to us at the early
stages of what they were doingand then drove around with our
officers, came over to theFramingham Police Department And
I got to know the gentleman andhis passion to bring this back
to the country of Ireland Andthen being able to go over there
and present was incredible.

It's my home country, so tospeak, life changing for me.

Steve Morreale (44:29):
To be honest with you, Well, excuse me,
excuse me, Sean, I do rememberus at the hotel and you barging
in on a wedding.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Remember thatHere these big blokes are there
in full uniform and we were ata wedding and these people were
just like there's cops here fromthe States.
That was an amazing moment too.

Sean Reilly (44:48):
It was really.
It was amazing to see thebuy-in from the highest levels
of government in Ireland thatwere there to listen to us as a
group not just Sean Riley, butus as a group from international
perspective to really listen,because policing in the States
is totally different thanpolicing in Ireland, And their
willingness to listen to what wehad to say and incorporate some

of what we do into their modelis something that I don't.
We try to express it to the menand women of the police
department, saying what you aredoing here is having
international implications inother parts of the world And
it's hopefully going to grow.
So it was an incredibleexperience.
I've become friends withSuperintendent Lacey.
We do communicate, especiallyduring the Celtic season.

Steve Morreale (45:31):
Yes, I know.

Sean Reilly (45:34):
Yes, it was fantastic.
And to see that the progressthat they're making and I'm
fascinated at how they're doingit, because they're doing it
there Obviously their form ofgovernment is very different
than ours And they're doing iton a national scale rather than
a local scale It's prettyimpressive And I think we can
learn something from that aswell.
Yeah, that's no question.

Steve Morreale (45:52):
Well, as we wind down, we're talking to Sean
Riley and he is a deputy chiefin Framingham, massachusetts, in
the greater Boston area, wecall it the Metro West And as we
wind down, i would be curiousto know what you see your legacy
to be when you retire.
Whatever that is, how do youwant to be remembered as a
It's so much more important.
I am using the term it's all onyou, but it's not about you.

Tell me what that means to you.

Sean Reilly (46:17):
I want to be remembered as someone that had
as much passion the day Istarted to the day I left.
That's one of the things thatis exhausting 30 years into this
career, because I think I stillhave that passion.
I want to be known as someoneyou know what, when people look
back and say what was Sean Rileyto you?
He cared, he cared about themen and women that worked with
him and all for him.

That I had emotionalintelligence, that I cared about
the community, that I policedand took great pleasure in
overseeing a police departmentas part of the team of deputy
chiefs and chiefs.
You know we're all replaceable,but I think my legacy is I.
He was a good guy, good cop, ienjoyed working for him and he

showed me as much respect as Ishowed him.
I think that's very important,that you know he was always
I think that's where I wouldwant my legacy to be So.

Steve Morreale (47:07):
somebody, and probably more than one person,
took you under their wing andhelped appoint you in the right
Do you see your role the sameway now?

Sean Reilly (47:14):
Oh, 100%.
My goal is to take the men andwomen that I see and I have a
couple of patrol officersspecifically that pop into my
head that I try to mentor andsay you're going places here Now
, i may never see it in mycareer, but you continue to do
what you're doing And you arethe next generation.
There's sides and lieutenantsthat I grew up with in this

policing environment that I tryto hopefully encourage them.
So, yeah, that's, it's notabout Sean Riley, it's not about
me, it's about the nextgeneration that takes over.
So good to hear that.

Steve Morreale (47:45):
Well, sean, i'll give you the last word your
thoughts and reflection on whatthis interview led you down the
road and what message you wantto leave with the listeners
about policing and about A, theimportance, the value of
policing and where policing isgoing.

Sean Reilly (47:59):
So I want to thank you, dr Morioli, for having me,
because I think you doincredible work and when I got
to meet you many, many years agoand now we've in the last year
and a half we've become, i think, closer and you bump into more
frequently in our professionalpaths, and it's been fantastic
to be here with you today.
I think the most importantthing that I would leave with
the professional audience iswhat we do matters.

Many times I go to policetrainings and one of the
questions a lot of instructorsask nowadays is how many of you
would recommend this professionto your loved ones, and it
horrifies me when I'm one ofmaybe two or three hands that go
up in a classroom.
We need to say this job isimportant.
We have a vital role in societyand what we do matters.

What we do matters.
I think I actually postedsomething recently.
I reposted something from theIrish police, their academy, and
I think I titled it.
They had something in there andI said what we do matters And
it really does.
So this next generation of copswe need to mentor them.
We need to tell them that, yes,this is important.
What you are coming into iscritically important for society


Intro (49:01):
So that would be my message Hold your head up.

Sean Reilly (49:04):
Yeah, do we deal in rough times?
We absolutely do, but what wedo matters.

Steve Morreale (49:07):
That's great.
What a great way to end.
I appreciate your time andenergy and you know we'll be
together again quite soon.
So we've been talking to SeanRiley.
Thank you so much for beinghere.
Thank you, sir, as always, So heis from the Framingham Police
Department and that's anotherepisode of the Cop Duck podcast.
I'm Steve Morielli, coming intofrom Boston.
I want to thank you forlistening again and please share
this If you gain anything fromit and let us know if there's

anybody in your view that weshould be talking to somebody
who's innovative, somebody whohas passion for the job, and
certainly been talking to Sean,who demonstrates that.
Thanks for listening and staysafe.

Intro (49:43):
Thanks for listening to the Cop Duck podcast with Dr
Steve Morielli.
Steve is a retired lawenforcement practitioner and
manager, turned academic andscholar from Western State
Please tune into the Cop Duckpodcast for regular episodes of
interviews with thought leadersin policing.
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