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PODCAST: Transforming Corrections Through Evidence-Based Practices with Brad Bogue

Updated: May 7

Veteran criminal justice system trainer, implementation science expert, author, and founder of Justice Systems Assessment & Training (J-SAT), Brad Bogue, talks about his work in implementing evidence-based practices (EBPs) like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI) in public safety, particularly within probation & parole agencies, community corrections and drug court programs and his sense of priorities for positive evolution of public safety. Transforming corrections through evidence-based practices (EBP's) in criminal justice and public safety. What it takes to implement evidence-based practices and skills at scale with agencies and systems. The power of the communities of practice model and the need to move beyond the "train and pray" approach to long term investment in evidenced-based practice and sound implementation science.

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Transforming Corrections Through Evidence-Based Practices Transcript

Fleet Maull:  

Hi, welcome to another session on day five of the Global First Responder Resilience Summit.  I'm thrilled to be here today with my longtime colleague, Bradford Bogue. Welcome, Brad.  

Brad Bogue: 


Fleet Maull: 

Great to have you. Thank you very much for being part of the Summit. So, I'm going to share  with our audience a little bit of your pretty amazing background in criminal justice and public  safety. And then, we'll just get into the conversation. Sound good? 

Brad Bogue:  

I'm looking forward to it. Yeah, sounds great.  

Fleet Maull:  

Great. So, Bradford Bogue had worked in the fields of corrections, mental health, alcohol and  drug addiction treatment, and so forth since 1971, when he started working in a therapeutic  community based in New York. 

Mr. Bogue has a master's in sociology from the University of Colorado. When not  working, Brad practices meditation, Tai Chi and takes long hikes near his home in Boulder,  Colorado, on a daily basis. Mr. Bogue owned and managed an adult, as well as a juvenile  licensed addiction treatment program, the Centre for Change, from 1999 to 2006.  

Currently, he is the director of justice system assessment and training, a national  consulting company operating since 1997 that specializes in the implementation of evidence based practices. If you would, Brad, give us a little sense of your journey. I know since we've  known each other, you've really been focused on bringing evidence-based practices into  corrections, especially community corrections, I think, and also in probation and parole, and I  think drug court programs and things like that. 

Some of the evidence-based practices I know have been like cognitive behavioral  therapy or mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy, and then motivational interviewing  and things like that. So, could you talk a little bit about kind of how you got into that? We'll go  into the details, but maybe just you could set the stage here so we know who you are. 

Brad Bogue:  

All right. I'd love to. When you were reading my bio, and you said that I started in 1971, that's  actually somewhat misleading. I did start professionally in '71. But really, my journey began in  1957. I'm going to dash from there.  

So, I was eight years old, and I was put on probation. Those of you that work in the field  of probation or parole might immediately recognize that's an outline case. You don't get many  eight-year-olds put on probation. But nevertheless, I was. So, I had been involved in throwing  rocks off a bridge, trying to get them in a smokestack of a train that had an immense force  would come under the bridge and blow the rocks sky-high.  

It wasn't malicious, but it was certainly harmful behavior. They set a trap with the  railroad detectives for us because there was a schedule after school that we would do this on. I  was the slow runner and got caught. Looking back, they needed to make an example of me, I  think, and they put me on probation, even though I was eight years old. I quickly learned that  you get a lot of notoriety when you're in the system and started building on that in some ways. 

It was my first time in trouble but surely not my last. I became a consumer of the  criminal justice system. I've been arrested and convicted on a number of misdemeanor charges,  one felony charge. Over the years until I matured out at age 21, I probably spent about three  and a half years locked up. I was forewarned as I went into this. I'd gone to reform school for a  year, and I'd gotten out and started getting busted, and it was all the big lark to me.  

I got out of jail after a couple of weeks in Reno. An older woman that I was staying with  who is a mystic told me that I'm going to do well in corrections. I flipped out when she told me  that. I knew something was very, very true about what she was saying. But all I could think of  was I was going to do an immense amount of time in my life. I found it repugnant and  repulsive. I got very upset, and I screamed and cried and left the place. I never saw that woman  again. But her words have proven prophetic in many ways.  

During some of my experiences in corrections, I experienced some really horrible  situations, some really stressful, difficult, challenging situations. From beatings and rape and elevator rides, where correctional officers are practicing how they use blackjacks to a myriad of  miserable situations that are left embedded in me. Kind of an impression that this shouldn't be. This isn't necessary. This is something that is really important to change.  

That fueled my entering into corrections. I slipped in, miraculously at the beginning of my real work with nonprofits, which started in '71. But with criminal justice agencies in 1980,  there was a little window there where it was politically incorrect to ask about someone's  criminal record.  

By the time they got around to asking me, I've been working there long enough and  proven myself that they decided to overlook the fact that I had maybe a couple of dozen  misdemeanors and the felony, which was expunged thanks to some of my family. They didn't  see that. I stayed in for the career that I've been in for now since 1982 in corrections, primarily working with probation parole systems, jails, correction systems, and sometimes mental  health, sometimes alcohol and drug treatment.  

I've been looking for ways that might help the system improve itself—and looking at  things from a systems lens. I was a 10th-grade dropout. At 25, I went back to school. I got a  GED. I went to junior college and to college. I got an undergraduate degree in environmental science and ecology. And then, I got a graduate degree in sociology and criminology.  

Somewhere in there, I picked up licensure and certifications as a counselor and  therapist. So, that's kind of the nuts and bolts of my foundation in my career. But really, that's  the kind of formal edifice. The real edifice is the people, the mentors, that have been coming  way, and the steady stream in helping me immensely. 

So, I'm just in a sponsoring role, where they sponsor me and back me in terms of an  agency. Sometimes it's been much, much more personal and deeper, where they've been  training and kind of really mentoring me and educating me on things. And so, I have a long list  of people that I'm very indebted to that helped me, and I, in turn, have tried to help others  along the way.  

What I've found in the corrections field was at the beginning of the '90s, there was a  term about what works. And that later on, in 1997, when the Surgeon General coined the term evidence-based practice, that replaced the term what works. But this what works thing was  that there's evidence, and it's not just cursory evidence, it's systemic evidence. It's a collection of 50, sometimes 100 or more studies that form a meta-analysis that makes some pretty solid  conclusions about what kinds of things are working or not working.  

One of the things was the basic principles of risk, need, and responsivity and  professional override form the cornerstone for kind of case classification work, and working  with offenders and systems, so that the more risky people, not necessarily the more severe  offenses, but the people that had the more actuarial risk warranted more services. And then, we had a method for going about and determining that that was somewhat empirical and  reliable.  

When I stumbled into that kind of work, there was a course correction for me, and I  began to think in terms of this stuff is important, it's not going to go away. This isn't like the  flavor of the day anymore that I saw cycling in and out for ten years or more. This is something  different. And so, I felt like I wanted to do the best I could to bring it into the state system that I  worked in. At that time, it was the Division of Criminal Justice in Colorado and then for the  judicial branch in Colorado, where I worked in both systems as a manager.  

And then, at some point, I felt like I probably could be more useful if I'm outside the  systems working in. And so, I started my business 25 years ago, Justice System Assessment  and Training. It's been a great ride since then. I've gotten to work in pretty much every state  with two or three state exceptions. I've worked in every state in the country. I've worked  outside the country.  

All of it has been generally geared towards helping systems adopt more evidence based practices, whether that's better assessment, whether that's better case planning, or  that's better general treatment and programming for offenders. And so, I'm still working. The  chase is still going, although we're gearing down as I'm gearing down. I'm getting older and  looking forward to retirement. That's kind of the list. 

Fleet Maull:  

Yeah. Well, thank you very much. It's an amazing journey. The start where you started and to  be of added value that you've added over the years. You published really kind of the manual  for bringing evidence-based practice into corrections and motivational interviewing in a  correction published by the National Institute of Corrections. And so, you've made huge  contributions. 

You kind of already answered my second question to a degree, but I want to ask you  about the importance of evidence-based practice. And then, I want to move into talking about  implementation science because our topic today is creating healthy agency cultures of  resilience.  

So, at the agency level, whether it's a police agency, a probation or parole agency, a  corrections agency, emergency response agency, how do you create that culture that really  supports the individual personnel in adopting resilience practices, providing time and resources  that are building in your training, building into the academy? So, how do you create a culture  that really supports individual resilience?  

And then also, how could that contribute to a kind of collective resilience, having an  agency that is a resilient agency? What would that even mean? What's a resilient agency? Then, from our conversation today, I really like to talk about the importance of if we're going to try to have--.  

There are public safety professions because we all know that, unfortunately, the health  statistics are not good. There are very high risks in first responder professions because of  ongoing exposure to high stress and both primary and secondary trauma. And often, that's coping with less than healthy coping skills. That leads to some really alarming health statistics  data for these professions, which we're trying to turn around. 

We're also trying to remove the stigma around mental health and mental illness altogether. And that prevents people from reaching out for support. It changed our whole  perspective on how to work smart as public safety professionals, first responders in terms of  taking good care of ourselves in ways that don't do that damage to ourselves and our families.  

So, if we're going to approach that, based on your experience, we want to use  evidence-based practices that heal trauma and promote resilience. We need to figure out how  to implement that at scale. Right? So, I think that's the territory for us to explore today—both  the importance of using evidence-based practices and how that evolves because that can  sometimes be limiting. 

For something to get bold classification is that evidence-based practice can take a long  time and a lot of space. In the meantime, how do you innovate? So, maybe a little bit of just  that world of evidence-based practice, but as we might apply it to resilience and healing trauma for public safety professionals? Maybe you could talk about that first, and then we'll  talk about implementation science and what you've learned there. 


Brad Bogue:  


Fleet Maull: 

Well, that's a long question. 

Brad Bogue: 

You set a big table. I think I could only handle a course or two. But the question about  evidence-based practice is, I think, what I've learned is that this knowledge isn't merely only created empirically in the laboratory or on the basis of random controlled trials. Really, knowledge is created socially.  

What we have when we talk about evidence-based practice is this kind of like that's  the cherry on the top of the research vetted programs supposedly, but a lot of times people  substitute their own program in without necessarily vetting it. Very few people go to the websites that take it on as their main responsibility to vet and curate the research on different  kinds of programming and really rate them accordingly as to whether they're evidence-based,  or they're promising, or there have different kinds of levels of ratings.  

That takes place in the Campbell website, the Cochrane website. I don't think that's  nice gapping on the name now, but there's one here in the States. There's a handful or more  around the world that take that on as their primary responsibility. Few people go there and  bother reading. Actually, sometimes, it's really more often than not boring to read through all  that kind of stuff. And so, a lot of claims are made regardless of where something sits on these  websites about whether it's an evidence-based practice or not. 

People kind of work freely with this with the labeling of things. That's probably the way  it's always been. So, there's the social construction of knowledge. There's this empirical vetting  of the research that's helpful. And for me, the term evidence-based practice or what that connotates is, like, kind of that's the true north. We're never going to perfectly set a course  there. There are too many things in the real world to get in the way of achieving full fidelity  and implementing any one of the programs that are in there. But it is true north. 

Since that term was coined, I think that's here to stay. Also, the social construction and knowledge. The putative, the received wisdom that we work with. That's usually driven more  by intermediate-level scholars. Not really ivory tower scholars that are paying attention to  what's in these registries that I was talking about but the people that are right on the first line  in terms of the university faculty that are training staff to come into mental health, to come into  probation, to come into corrections, and so forth.  

Those people have an enormous influence on what people think works or not works,  regardless of what's in the registries. They presumably try to hold up and give an accurate  portrayal of what's in the registries, but the fact is that they know something's far better than  others, and they practice those things and teach those things far more than others. So, that's  the nature of social content. 

Fleet Maull:  

Yeah, that's helpful. One thing that might be helpful - I'm sure our audience is familiar with the  term evidence-based practice. It's been around for a while in public safety and so forth. But in  the field of medicine, where it was one of the higher bars for evidence-based practice, and  certainly, most of us, if we're going to use pharmaceutical medications or receive treatments  from a doctor or much less, get surgery or something, we would really hope it's evidence based practice and the randomized clinical control trials with double-blind studies and all of  that, that high bar for that. 

What people may not realize is that medicine is really based on two things. That is  based on that kind of evidentiary work. And then, it's also based on the body of clinical  knowledge—the accumulated body of what physician doctors have accumulated about the  body of knowledge over the years. And so, even today, currently, when we're in the midst of  this pandemic, obviously, we're looking at the studies on the vaccines and so forth. But then  also, if you really listen to some of the physicians talking, and I've listened to this quite a lot in a lot of podcasts. 

We also have this accumulated body of clinical knowledge. We know, for example, if  there's going to be problems with a vaccine, it's usually going to come on early on while or  other things like that. So, at any rate, when we all go to the doctor, that doctor is treating us  based both on research and based on the accumulated clinical knowledge over the last  hundred years. And so, I think what you're talking about there is that same combination. Is that  a fair analogy?

Brad Bogue:  

Yeah. I think there's a term that helps me. So, that's evidence-based practice. It's based on  research, and then it's adopted and implemented into a practice—research-based. And then,  there's practice-based research. There are researches going on with current practices. Usually,  it's very formative and sometimes crude research initially, or it's not at the level of clinical trials  and the gold standard, so to speak, but it's cumulative, as you said, and it's affecting practice, and it's affecting what we consider a setback to that putative wisdom that received wisdom,  it's affecting the received wisdom. They're both ways of enriching our practice.  

I think a third possibility is to become reflective practitioners ourselves. It's to really  look at what is the model that I'm operating from. I know what the policies and procedures are. Okay, that's one thing. I know the crew here or the crew there that I'm working with, what they  think. But what do I believe is the model? How do I integrate these pieces together in a model  that makes sense for me that is available all the time that I can test against? I can continue to  learn endlessly about what does that looks like. 

So, I might have a model for engaging people. First-time acquaintances I'm meeting,  whether it's clients or it's other professionals or whatnot. I might have a model for that that I  can test. What kind of things seem to work and warm people up? What doesn't? What puts  people off? What am I doing? What could I do differently? How can I test that?  

I think those research-based practices, the evidence-based practices that are kind of  extolled in the registries that I mentioned, practice-based research, like what we're doing, or  we stumbled into, that we think works—then testing that more empirically over time. And  then, having a model that's personal and fordable because it's personal, it's fordable about  what really is working in my day-to-day practice today. Those three things, I think, are  enormously helpful. 

Fleet Maull:  

That bridges really well into, I think, what this Summit is about because ideally, we hope this is  going to be helpful in having public safety professionals who are just more resilient  professionals who have the skills and have learned methodologies for taking good care of  themselves and to work in ways with improved self-regulation. So, not doing so much damage  to themselves while working, and then having good recovery time, and all those kinds of  things. So, that idea of a resilient professional kind of connects with the idea of a reflective  professional. I think there's some overlapping of skills there, some awareness skills, and so  forth. 

We had the pleasure of working with you in the National Institute of Correction Think  Tank called the Norval Morris Project for quite a number of years. That work developed into  two initiatives. One was about trying to figure out how to downsize a system because it has  gotten too big to really improve it. I think most corrections professionals today support downsizing the system so the system can really be improved and work better. But the other  part was workforce transformation.  

I remember the idea was how do we recruit, train, support, and sustain reflective  criminal justice corrections, public safety professionals, right? And so, maybe, could you  connect the dots there between your understanding of what it means to be resilient and the  idea of also being a reflective professional? 

Brad Bogue:  

Thank you for that, Fleet. I can try. Resilience, when I first encountered that term in graduate  school in the 80s, it came with the notion that resilience involves both risk and protective  factors. And if you don't have one or the other, you don't have resilience. If all you've got is risk  and no protection, there's no resilience. It's a straight write-down. If all you have is protective,  and you've got a silver spoon after silver spoon sticking out of your mouth, and no risk, right?  You don't have resilience either. You are a mama's boy or Mama's girl, daddy's girl. 

Fleet Maull:  

You haven't been challenged enough to really mature that kind of resilience. 

Brad Bogue:  

That's right. You've got to have them both together. And so, there's this interdependence or  this interaction between the risk factors and protective factors. Risk factors are, I think, an easy  kind of the epitome of risk factors is the adverse childhood experiences checklist, the ten baggers that are on there. We have big data all over the world on that and how they are life changing.  

When people hit five or more on that out of 10, more often than not, what unfolds is some sad  liabilities and vulnerabilities and trouble in your life, whether it's mental health, physical  problems, legal problems, interpersonal and social problems that are significant and chronic. The more people have those kinds of risk factors. So, that's a kind of an example of risk factors. Protective factors are things that buffer against risk or moderate risk. There might be a student  that's failing in school academically, but there's an acting teacher and coach that comes, and somehow, they connect. And there's some kind of chemistry that takes place in that  relationship buffers against the failing the situation of looking like an academic failure, until the  student or the individual may get a toehold back again, academically, and finds a reason, their  own reason for studying. So risk and protective, to me, are always there when you're talking  about resilience.  

Resilience is something that can be cultivated. I think it takes a full-court press to really  try to want to have greater resiliency and want to learn from your mistakes. Not many people  want to go out and experience humility on a daily basis. I know I don't, but I've learned to  accept it when it happens and try to learn from it as best I can in one humbling experience  after another, but that's a slightly different variation on resilience.  

Fleet Maull:  

I want that frame. I found that frame really helpful. It's just this intersection of risk factors and  protective factors. So, applying that to this world of first responder resilience. Actually, many  of us check a number of the boxes on the aversive childhood experiences data and survey and so forth. There are very few of us that come through childhood unscathed. I would suggest  there's probably a lot of people working in public safety that checked quite a few of those  boxes. So you already have that background.  

And then, some of the risk factors in working as a first responder and in public safety,  very high-stress levels. If we don't have the skills for managing that stress, we can be up there  too much redline experience, too much hypervigilance living in that stress zone, way too much  cortisol, noradrenaline, adrenaline in our bloodstream all the time, right? We get very little rest  and recovery, and it becomes our normal. We get used to it.  

You might ask me about my stressful times. No, I feel fine. But actually, if you give me a  blood test, you'd see my cortisol levels are way up, right? There's all that risk. And energy  exposure to both primary trauma incidents, critical incidents, and various kinds of primary  trauma that the first responders experience. And then, there's the secondary trauma of the  vicarious trauma. We just hear about this, and our brains are going, "That could have been me." Or we're working around people with a lot of trauma in their nervous systems, right?  

So, they're really significant risk factors. There's a lot of data around this for first  responders, public safety professionals—the ongoing exposure to high stress, which, if  insufficiently managed, becomes chronic stress. Actually, stress is not the problem. Stress is  just the challenge, right? Stress is the necessary risk factor for resilience, right. But unmanaged stress becomes chronic stress, and then the untreated or unmanaged trauma exposure, also  another high-risk factor.  

So then we can look at, "Okay, what are the protective factors for the first responder,  public safety professional?" We're focused a lot on that in the summer. We talked about the  first four days focused on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual resilience, all the things we  can do to take care of ourselves, our nutrition, our self-regulation tools, mindfulness practices,  meditation, yoga, breath regulation, our relationships, the quality of our relationships. We have  all these protective factors.  

I wonder if maybe we could kind of summarize this here in terms of applying what  you've learned, which has a lot to do more with how the criminal justice systems effectively  support offenders to how can we bring that data and that approach and understanding how  first responders and public safety professionals can better support themselves and how the  agencies can support the professionals in terms of this ideal marriage. They got the risk  factors, right? The risk factors are there in getting the protective factors so that the  combination would then create your definition of resilience. 

Brad Bogue:  

Yeah. Well, okay. To summarize that, you might say that resilience is a function of risk and  protective factors, okay? Risk and protective factors are both biopsychosocial, right? So, they're  at the biological level, the cortisol level that you mentioned. There're at the neural level.  They're at the psychic level. And they're at the social level. Okay? So, what kind of company  are you keeping makes a big difference, right? It's probably more influential actually than  willpower itself. In terms of one's behavior, it's a company that you're keeping.  

That has an enormous amount of research ingredients on it when we get into the social  support literature. Again, just to kind of finish the summary, you have constellations of factors, risk and protective, to look at. We now have lots of information, knowledge, and practice that  we can engage in to take responsibility for where we're at.  

I think we should say that in order to create that resilient agency, we need to create a  mandate at the top and at the bottom, top-down bottom-up, that is unmistakable, that we  need to change ourselves. That's the message. We need to become the healthier people that  we can be. If we can do that, we can affect other people. If we can't do that, we're playing  games about affecting other people.

No matter what the evidence-based practices we're adopting, if we're not applying it to  ourselves, if we're not applying these lessons to ourselves and we're atrophying in terms of  our resiliency, we're not going to help anyone else. So there needs to be a real clear mandate  that we need to work with ourselves as the vehicle to help other people. The primary vehicle is  what we have. That's a little different than thinking about adopting programs or not. This is adopting our own health.  

You mentioned that earlier in the conference that I'm looking at meditation. I'm looking  at other contemplative practices and social interactions. Well, I want to bring up something  right now that is a little risky for me to bring up because I haven't read the book. But there's a  book out called Dirty Work.  

It's about the work that we ask people to do all over the world. Certainly, in this  country, that's non-preferred work. And often, it's work that involves compromises, and  sometimes ethical compromises, whether that's in the military, or that's in law enforcement, or  it's in corrections, or it's in mental health 

Fleet Maull:  

There's another version of it in the corporate world. 

Brad Bogue:  

Or in the corporate world. Yeah, thank you. I'm very much looking forward to reading this book and better understanding it, but I think I've experienced some of it as I describe my trajectory. I  think that those kinds of things could be the most corrosive possibly. It's when your social  support and your culture are compromised, and people can't talk about it.  

There may be things that we can learn and share with each other as we're growing into  a newer, different world, I should say, that would alleviate some of these things. We have a  greater range of conversations, and we end up with social support that is more diverse.  Always. Normally what I think of anyways is racially diverse, but certainly racial, but diverse in  terms of age, education, background, practice, you name it.  

What the research is saying today is that the more diverse someone's social support,  the stronger it is. The more self-disclosing someone's social support is, the more that people  are willing to be vulnerable with each other and show you a little bit of what my underbelly is.  That leads to stronger and stronger social support. It also is indicative of when it's not there.  There's really not much support in cults or gangs or what have you. They strike out on it. 

It's like self-disclosing, diverse, and then the bigger. The more bandwidth you have in  terms of your contacts, the better off you are in two counts. It gets back to resiliency. One is the  buffering effect. The greater your social support on those three dimensions, the more it can  buffer against and help you withstand the trials sometimes that we must go through. The loss  of loved ones, the injuries, or the health, or working in a compromised situation, ethically, that  you might be able to navigate that better because you've got this network that's buffering it. 

The other effect is called the direct effect of social support. Again, on those three  dimensions, the more your sense of self-worth and your self-concept become stronger and  enriching and nurtured by that directly. I just want to make that case that coming together here is a fantastic thing to connect with and be in a network of people that are like-minded and  looking for ways to become more resilient. 

Fleet Maull:  

Yeah, thank you so much. There's so much in what you share there. I don't think there's  anything more correlated with longevity than strong social support being in long-term healthy  relationships. I mean, that's probably got the strongest correlation with longevity. So, we know  it's critical to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness and resilience and overall  health and well-being.  

You also mentioned the individual responsibility there, which I really think is important,  both at the leadership level and grassroots level. At the agency level, it's absolutely critical for  leadership to embrace resilience as a priority and really face the fact that we've been asking  people to work in ways or not supporting them. And so, that's why we have this data showing  really high levels of PTSD and high levels of burnout, empathy fatigue, suicidality, illnesses  and early death from chronic stress-related ailments, obesity, and all the rest of the substance abuse.  

And so, embracing ownership for that at the leadership level, and not only to support  programs and direct programs and shift budget always maybe, but also to become resilient  leaders to take personally to model that as leaders, but then it's also critical at the grassroots  level. We both have worked in a lot of agencies. Sometimes we're often offering programs at  the line staff level, and people are saying, "Well, yeah, but you can try to get me to be more  mindful, calmer, more resilient, but I still got to deal with this system that's all messed up. Management doesn't care. When are they going to do the training and all the rest of it, right?

Almost all the training work we do now hits every level of the system, from the top  leadership to the line staff. But we also always try to get the message out to everybody that  it's everybody's responsibility. If the people on the line staff level really work at embracing it,  they're going to influence their colleagues and their peers. And then, leadership, sooner or  later, is going to have to go along with that. If leadership can be supporting it from the get-go,  the whole thing can be a lot easier, right?  

It's a collective dynamics and responsibility. We're going to get into the implementation  side of that, but it does come down to individuals embracing ownership for my own health, my  own self-agency, and being proactive around my own health, especially my colleague,  Lieutenant Rich Goerling, who's one of our co-hosts for this Summit, and also a presenter, long  time first responder in the Coast Guard, and then in the police, and a retired police lieutenant now. 

He says, "Knowing the work that I was doing and the exposures that I have, for me, it's  just smart to take good care of myself. Part of that is I have my mental health coach." which is  what he calls his counselor or his psychotherapists. "I see them on a regular basis just for a  tune-up, just like I go see my chiropractor, and I go to my doctor, and I go to the gym with my  trainer or whatever. I go to my mental health coach on a regular basis." And that's just working  smart, right?  

So, the more we can all begin to embrace that kind of mindset and that growth mindset  and that self-agency, I think that's what it's going to take to transform the system. So, how do  we get that message across? Let's talk about implementation science.  

A particular agency or a probation and parole agency, for example, how do you bring  them up to speed across the agency on individuals having a competency and delivering, for  example, a cognitive behavioral treatment program, or using motivational interviewing with  clients, right? And so, here are evidence-based skill sets, and we could talk about evidence based skillsets for resilience because it exists. 

Fortunately, we have a tremendous amount of neuroscientific evidence now supporting  very specific skills and practices that enhance well-being and resilience. If we can identify what  we want to bring in the kind of programs, the kind of training, and kind of resources, okay, how  do you scale that up in an agency? How do you do that? What's the implementation science?  What have you learned about that?

Brad Bogue:  

One thing that I mentioned was that the first wave of new understanding for me was  associated with evidence-based practice and what works, and I described some of that, that  there were certainly some methods and principles that weren't going to go away anytime soon and that were worth really digging into. 

And then, as I continued to work as a consultant service with my agency and with the  people that work in JSAT, we got involved in all kinds of work, trying to scale it up but using  the old paradigm for doing that. Not implementation science but what I would call train and  pray paradigm that if we could train it enough, we train enough people, we train them over  again, if necessary, give them enough posters, and so forth, develop enough extra rearguard  trainers, and so forth, it's still the same paradigm that we're going to put something into the  workforce that they don't have, and they need that we could get there.  

Man, I have a lot of lessons to learn from that of how little that works when it comes to practices that are nuanced and that really work hand in glove with the intrinsic motivation of  the individual practitioner. If that motivation isn't there, it's really uphill to move line  practitioners, line counselors, line workers into fidelity with evidence-based practices by simply  training them. It's not a formula for success. So, what happened is it coincided. 

I think it was in 2009 that I got acquainted with the work of Dean Fix, who was then at  the University of South Florida with his team. And they had just published a meta-analysis and  a summary, a summation of implementation science research. It was a well-crafted monograph  of 100 pages or more. It just blew my mind. What I didn't know about implementation yet, I  had been in the business one way or the other, either as a private consultancy or working in  state government or local government or the nonprofit sector since '71. I didn't realize that this  kind of knowledge, these tactics, and the things that they were explaining were actually  codified and accessible.  

I was lucky I got invited, coincidentally, to go down and visit with Dean and his staff for  a day and struck up an acquaintance with him on that basis. And then continued with that, and  continued to study and as he moved and shifted, and they went to Chapel Hill, in North  Carolina, and form NIRN, the National Implementation Research Network. They've continued  and moved on.  

I really value my contacts and relationships with Dean and Melissa Van Dyck and  others that were with that Institute. I've learned so much from them. But what I've learned about it is like, yes, we have these tools, but at the system level, it's like, if you think of the  system level, and then there's the personal level, when people told me about certain tools, did  I pick them off immediately? No. Sometimes I might have gone a cursory look, but did I adopt  them? No.  

If you asked me, I couldn't honestly tell you why, except probably the real instant answer was I didn't think I was worth it. It wasn't that I didn't think that they would work. It  was like I didn't think that if they work and there's a multiplier effect, I'm not a whole number. So multiplying that effect on me is not going to really matter. There was some missed logic in me. I think that's what's happening. But at the system level, I see it all the time. That senior  managers, executives are not necessarily willing to drink the Kool-Aid about implementation science.  

We have the tools. We have the technology to tremendously expedite our success  rates with implementation, but it requires not just this kind of activity. Something, in addition,  you have to have a passion for wanting to understand and penetrate the infrastructure of  implementation science. To really understand that, you juggle those kinds of plates at the  same time. 

There are four or five very basic frames that form the foundation for implementation  science as I understand it. There are several different models, but they all kind of look at the  same things. And to kind of entertain that at the same time, you're trying to look at the  granular situation on the ground and further your sensitivity to operations in front of you. And  then, maintaining this at the same time is a handful.  

Some takeaways are certain things that drive implementation. They talk about the  seven drivers. And then, there's this concept about enabling the context. Those are two frames  of the five or six frames in implementation science. They carry enormous water and save the  heartburn that people involved in implementations sign up for day in and day out if you could  really understand what the science and the research are saying about implementation. 

Fleet Maull:  

Well, I know one component that I think is part of the more science-based approach you've  taken or that we're taking with things that have really worked in my experience. It probably is  not a driver. It's probably meant to address some of the drivers. But that's the community practice model. 

It seems to meet a lot of needs in terms of being a vehicle for a learning process. But  then it's also a socialization process and a social network building, a community process. It's a  place where people can develop enough safety with each other to have that self-disclosure  vulnerability at an appropriate level in whatever setting. 

I would suspect there's a lot of drivers that it hits in one way or another. So, could you  talk about that model? Maybe say what it is and how it works. 

Brad Bogue:  

The community of practice is a term of the trade that you bring together a small group of  people on a routine basis to practice the craft that they're engaged in. It could be firefighting. It  could be correctional officer high-security work. It could be working as a line officer, law  enforcement. It could be working as a line officer in corrections. Or it could be working as a  case manager or a counselor. Whatever the walk, the idea is that there's a craft here. 

Maybe some people are beginning to realize there are models here. We could create  something we could continually learn from if we had the will to do that. Or maybe it's just  here, and we need to study it and then play with it. 

Motivational interviewing is a model for interacting with people to help them find their  motivation for change. It's an evidence-based practice. It takes a bit of practice. We're talking  many months, minimally, to cultivate all the technical skills involved. And then, it requires  some development in yourself in terms of uncovering ways that you can experience and share  empathy or compassion with other people at the right time. 

That might be that there's a need for people to practice motivational interviewing in communities of practice that people say, "Hey, let's get together for brown bag lunch, and  extend the lunch a little bit." So, maybe we have two hours or an hour and a half instead of an  hour. Is that okay with the administration? "And then, let's learn from each other." Let's do a  show, or maybe we'll have an assignment that we're going to go out and practice with some of  our clients and come back and report on it. Or maybe we'll listen to a tape, video, or audiotape  for a little bit and see what we can make of that and give each other feedback if we're open to  it.  

There are all kinds of ways that once the commitment is there, the safety, and then the  commitment to practice and learn from your practice and your mistakes and from books and  from experts, if you feel so-called to that. But these are an alternative to train and pray. To train and pray is kind of based on this notion that we don't have enormous budgets in the  public sector particularly. We can invest a little bit each year. We need to invest a little bi but  let's keep it reasonable, and let's keep it to 40 hours or 80 hours a year or something.  

The most efficient way to do that is formal training. It's also the least effective, but  many systems have been wed to that for a long time. I think the education system was the first  to unlock itself from that back in the 80s. They discovered that at the end of the summer  session and coming in and training teachers for a week before the school year never got them  anywhere. They began to really call it into serious question in the early 80s. And then, they just  started forming communities of practice and coaching each other in their classrooms  throughout the year of teacher days, once a month, where they could have a day-long  community of practice and learn different things from each other.  

And so, other systems, other disciplines are adopting that now also. It's very democratic, and I think it honors a number of wonderful principles like emphasizing each  other's autonomy to learn. There's no one way that we can learn from each other. We're capable as adults, as well as children, I believe, as well, of co-creating and socially participating in the social construction of our own knowledge that we can uncover it for each other and show each other better ways to perform in the various context that we're working. 

Fleet Maull:  

Yeah, I think it really honors a lot of the principles of adult learning because there's a lot of  adult learning programs that are still delivered is that people are children, right? It's kind of  downloading. As opposed to this is a peer-based collaborative learning process that draws on  everybody's innate wisdom and intelligence and sharing your craft and sharing your practice. It's also just the benefit of being together. 

We use communities of practice in a program we have called Mindfulness-Based  Wellness and Resiliency. Unfortunately, it's short-term. Where we get enough traction, there are some ongoing communities of practice at some point. I think they'll still be so amazing if  this became part of public safety agencies, these really ongoing circles, and communities that  professionals can drop into each other and share their practices and share.  

What we hear in the shorter term 10-week programs, again and again, is that the first  responders and public safety professionals are valuing what they're getting, and they are  valued tremendously. They find it transformative for both their professional and personal life.  One is simple self-regulation tools, like simple breath regulation tools that make a huge difference right off the bat. Like, I can actually regulate my own physiology instead of having  the world around me do it all day long, right? I get bumped to up-regulate. I can do a little  simple breathwork. I'm coming right down into, you know. Or I bump to down-regulate. 

I can't bring myself back up. I mean, people just find that so illuminating and so  immediately applicable in their life. Then they find some mindful communication things where  they learn skills where they don't have to be caught up in every drama swirling around them at  home and at work and all the period drama interface that they can actually learn to unhook  from a lot of negative drama in their life and immediately increases our level of happiness and  life satisfaction. But that third thing that they always point to is the experience of being in  these peer circles, these communal practice groups with anywhere from eight to 12 peers  learning together and being together. 

It takes a few seconds, so they start to develop some trust with each other. And then, by the end, they're completely bonded. For the first time in their career, they often have a safe  space to have really relevant conversations with their peers, not the kind of conversations that  happen at the bar or in the parking lot but relevant appropriate human conversations. They  find that incredibly valuable and life-changing. So, if that could be somehow institutionalized  into public safety, I think it would be huge. 

Brad Bogue:  

I think that's a point that's worth dwelling on. I hope some people have the benefit of taking  that away if this is at all new to them. It's an old adage from Margaret Mead, "Never  underestimate what a small group of determined people can do. They can change the world. In  fact, they have." 

Whether it's the founders of our country in the US or it's some startup company with a  handful of zealots that want to do something, or it's a community of practice of regular people  in a public sector agency that wants to get together and cultivate greater kind of resiliency and  understand the value that feeling safe isn't to be taken for granted at all. It's hard to even talk  about sometimes, but the principles of high-risk organizations that came out of the early part  of the millennial in the 1990s and the research of some of the best universities, and that's how  I got wind of it was these real endowed scholars from different universities were looking at the  same thing. They were looking at high-risk organizations like firefighters, nuclear subs, and  chemical plants, and SWAT teams. 

What they uncovered was that they share the same principles. Those principles, as  they're articulated in that literature and kind of been promulgated since then. Preoccupation  with failure, cultivating that. Reluctance to simplify. Instead of saying, "Yeah, we got that." or  "This is a slam dunk.", slow the heck down and look at things differently. Wait a minute. If I consider all the factors here, sensitivity to operations, not just kind of flying by the seat of the  pants or painting by the numbers, but real sensitivity to what's going on day in and day out, in  that particular operational context. Commitment to resilience, indifference to expertise. Not  formal expertise, but the expertise of someone that's got the tacit knowledge, someone that  has lived and breathed, the process and the craft sufficiently that they carry some kind of real  inner light and are able to guide people, other people, and show them the way.  

Those five principles take on a completely different meaning, I believe, when you're in a  community of practice. When you're talking about those principles at the organizational level,  it's like yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, because there's no safety. People haven't learned how to  connect with each other, and they don't have the normalization that occurs very quickly in a  community of practice, where people feel like, "I'm not so crazy. I could talk about some of this  stuff, finally. Here are people that have experienced the same kind of thing." 

And they can move through the kind of the baggage they've been burdened with into  some new practices that require practice and testing and share more than one set of eyes and  ears on it to kind of really determine if this is working or not. Why is it not working? How can  you work around it if you need to work through it? 

Fleet Maull:  

You've worked with a lot of public safety leaders at the agency level over the years. You've  worked in most states in the US, and you've worked with, I'm sure, executive management,  mid-level management. 

I'm curious what you see about what it means to be a resilient leader, a reflective  leader, and a resilient leader who can actually model this in their agencies. What have you  seen? Maybe you've seen some exemplars. I'm sure you've seen some that are really  struggling as well. What did we learn from some of the exemplars? And then, maybe address  that person. And then, we're coming close to the end of our conversation. I'm also going to  want to hear what you might have to say to public safety leadership, the policy, and the  operational level together. But first, what have you learned about resilient leaders?

Brad Bogue:  

I wish there were more of them. I think a lot of systems promote up for some questionable  characteristics. One of them is political sensitivity. That doesn't necessarily translate to  someone who has a lot of backbone. I think that's what I've noticed in leaders that I think are  really adaptive leaders or resilient leaders or service leaders or whatever the term is.  

They have a commitment to being honest with themselves and with others, and they  have a certain amount of humility about the whole thing. They're predisposed, I believe, to  trust that people have enough resources to do what they need to do. And they try to engage  people in that. They try to draw that out by asking questions, by getting other people involved,  and by giving people more rain.  

It's quite different than my experience of people that try to manage and control. So, I  wish I knew and had more insight. If I had another chance at another career, I might try things  differently. But I think this kind of leads into this last question you indicated you wanted me to  share. 

Fleet Maull:  

Just before you go there, what you were just describing kind of points to a model that maybe  that's out there that may be helpful is the green leaf. I can't remember his first name but popularised by Parker Palmer, the servant leadership model. What you were talking about  sounds a lot like the servant leadership model. 

Brad Bogue:  

Yes. Yes. I think it is. It's been a while since I read up on some of that, but yeah, that would be  it. The leaders that come to mind, and I'm not going to name any, but they just stand out in my  mind. They are so distinctly refreshing and rewarding. And their staff, in a short time, really  knew that they had something with them. It was no secret. There might have been a couple of people that were alienated for different reasons. But by and large, the staff were resonating  with it. They are responding to that kind of leadership.  

I'm finishing a biography on Carl Rogers right now. That's just fascinating. I imagine him  to be something of that kind of person that wanted to see the best coming from the people  around them, and was really committed to that day in and day out, how to draw that out of  other people, and was willing to fight the status quo all the time in behalf of bringing the best  out of the people around them. They had the person's interest at heart first and foremost. I see that in Roger's life, though, I never got a chance to meet him. That would be the servant kind of  leader that I think we can do with more and we can ask for. That's a request that we can make. 

Fleet Maull:  

We also know servant leaders will be happier leaders. I mean, it's in our own self-interest to  embrace these things after all the data points. Not only will we be healthier physically,  emotionally, but we will also be happier, and we'll live longer.  

So, getting your crystal ball out. You've been in this quite a long time now. Where do  you see public safety going? Are you hopeful? If you had the opportunity to be addressing a large conference hall full of both public safety policymakers and operational leaders, what do  you think you'd want to emphasize? What would your core message be? What would your call  to action be?  

Brad Bogue:  

Well, I think you and I, when we worked on the Normal Morph Project, and we're working with  commissioners from around the country. We had different retreats that we would go to. I'll  speak just for myself. I was astonished, and pleasantly so, about what they were really willing  to talk about and grappling with. We weren't in school anymore. We weren't looking at how  cool you looked or what you had. It was really what was on your heart. 

As we moved through different exercises and whatnot, we saw that shared interest in  decreasing the system significantly, right? They weren't talking about modesty decreasing. They were saying this is an overgrown system. It needs to get seriously downsized. 

And then the workforce alliance. I would just add on to that. What I think in the future  with the work around the workforce alliance is just the themes, the things we've been kicking  around here, and many, many more about how to cultivate some kind of reflection capacity,  some kind of resilience capacity. I would try to message it and keep it real simple that there's  an inner and outer aspect of this.  

What we want is balance. We've had a long history of imbalance. And what we want  now is something that's more in balance and sync with what's out in the environment, what's  out in the institution. Was it structurally or culturally? What's out there? But what's inside of  us as well. I am gravitating to the tools. They're all tools, but they're tried and proven tools of  nonviolent communication of just really understanding and getting keener insensitivity to what  we're feeling inside and what's going on outside in the room, and what our needs are. 

We don't often talk about them. We overlook them—we kind of run-shoot past that all  the time. I think if we could learn to take care of ourselves differently in terms of our basic  feelings and needs, we would have much fuller organizations and systems that would really  unlock the kinds of possibilities that we need in the future for a real thriving society rather than where we're coming from which obviously had some problems. 

Fleet Maull:  

Well, thank you. I'm really glad you surfaced Marshall Rosenberg's work nonviolent  communication and that focus on increasing our feelings literacy and our needs literacy. Just to  be clear, what we're talking about with needs is the universal human needs we all have. Food,  warm shelter, belonging, connection, relationship, self-autonomy, respect that we all have.  And when we perceive our needs getting met, how do we feel? Well, we feel good. We have  all the warm and fuzzy human emotions. When we perceive our needs are threatened in some  way or blocked in some way, then we start having all the difficult emotions. 

Just recognizing that just opens the door to connecting with each other across all kinds  of lines that often separate us because we all have the same needs. Wherever we are in  society, whatever race we belong to, wherever we are, whatever side of the criminal justice  system we find ourselves on, we all have the same needs, right? That can open up so many doors of connection.  

We did a kind of retreat with a group of public safety leaders a few years back, if you  remember. We had heads of state departments of corrections, heads of probation and parole  agencies. We had Federal Public Defenders or former judges. We had victim rights advocates. We had police. I don't think we had anybody from the kind of Emergency Fire Rescue part of  first responders. But certainly, in the world of criminal justice. We had all the communities  represented with high-level leaders and really thought leaders. We spent three days together  with a lot of silence, and then a lot of dialogue, but a lot of time of silence and walking outside.  

And really, what I remember we came to at the end was this collective realization that  everybody in the system is suffering. Everyone in the system. The people that end up being  clients of the criminal justice system, their families, all the professionals that work in criminal  justice and public safety systems, and their families, everybody. And the communities that are  impacted disproportionately. Everybody's suffering. It doesn't have to be this way. We actually  know how to do it differently. We actually have the science and the knowledge to do it  differently. So, yeah. 

This has been really rich, Brad. I really appreciate this. I don't think that the challenges  that our public safety professionals and agencies face are going to get any less anytime soon.  It seems like the world's getting more challenging and more complex. Non-resilient agencies  are going to find themselves back on their heels and in that kind of reactive survival mode. Resilient agencies will be on the balls of their feet using these kinds of skills to increase  community resilience and improve the community and first responder relations. 

I think the call to find the leadership and the resources at the grassroots level and so  forth to become resilient professionals, resilient agencies because the challenges aren't going  to get any easier. We don't want to worsen the challenge. In a way, we're approaching it, right? So, anyway, I just really appreciate you bringing in so much expertise and the world of  research into this. I know this is going to stimulate a lot of conversations and discussions. Hopefully, help move the ball down the field. So, thank you so much, Brad. 

Brad Bogue:  

Thank you for the metaphor about balls on our heels/feet. Thank you for that.  

Fleet Maull:  

Okay. Well, you be well. Keep up the good work. I know you're kind of on that trajectory and  retirement taking care of yourself. This is probably not a good metaphor, but I'm sure you still  got a few punches to throw before your work is done. Keep up the good work. There's probably a better metaphor than that. But anyway, keep up the good work. Thank you. 

Brad Bogue:  

Thanks, Fleet. Bye.



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