10 must-listen-to Policing Matters podcasts of 2020

From mixed martial arts to sleep deprivation, here are some of the most popular Policing Matters podcasts of the year


By Police1 Staff

Each year brings a host of challenges to the law enforcement profession, but 2020 is in a league of its own. The Policing Matters podcast tackled police reform and de-escalation training, kept up with ongoing mental health conversations, discussed the value of Jiu-Jitsu training with Rener Gracie, and spoke about police transparency with Axon’s CEO, all to get a wide view of where policing is going next after a year like no other.

Listen to some of the most engaging episodes from 2020 below, and email us if you have a topic you’d like to see addressed or a guest suggestion.

1. Preventing police suicide

In 2019, Blue HELP reported a total of 228 police officers died by suicide. Although overshadowed by the pandemic and civil unrest, police mental health remained one of the biggest issues for law enforcement this year. This podcast reviews how police agencies and individual officers are smashing the stigma, and how the culture of policing must continue to evolve.

NEXT: What is the state of officer mental health in 2020?

2. What Scottish police can teach U.S. cops about de-escalation

One Florida sheriff credits a visit to Scotland as part of the reason arrests in his county dropped by almost 30% from 2017 to 2019. Even though call volume remained steady, the recorded frequency of deputies using force fell by nearly half. Host Jim Dudley talks to Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood about how other agencies can implement similar programs.

NEXT: Why de-escalation is a rural cop's lifeline

3. How we took down Pablo Escobar

Retired DEA Special Agents Steve Murphy and Javier Pena were at the center of the largest, multi-national, high-profile investigation of its time. Working with an elite Colombian Task Force, Murphy and Pena were responsible for the capture of the world’s first narco-terrorist, the infamous drug cartel leader, Pablo Escobar. Their real-life story inspired the hit Netflix series Narcos. Host Jim Dudley chats with Steve and Javier about the release of their new book, “Manhunters: How We Took Down Pablo Escobar,” and where we find ourselves in the “war on drugs” today.

NEXT: The de-criminalization of street drugs and narcotics

4. What do Americans want from their cops?

Arguably the biggest question in law enforcement in 2020: What is the role of police? Are they drug counselors, child protectors, criminal investigators, social workers or something else? This podcast addresses how Americans perceive police officers and what they truly want from law enforcement.

NEXT: A letter to the American public: Why you must decide what you want from cops

5. Why police reform must be evidence-based

"Police reform" is a simple phrase but a complicated reality. Host Jim Dudley talks with the co-founder of the American Society for Evidence-Based Policing – Dr. Renée Mitchell – about why elected officials and police leaders must consider the research when designing strategies to reduce crime while maintaining the trust of the public we serve.

NEXT: How civilian review of law enforcement can improve police-community relations

6. Dead tired: Fighting fatal fatigue in law enforcement

With mandatory overtime, court appearances and in-service training all limiting the time available for officers to sleep, what can cops and their supervisors to do ensure sleep deprivation doesn’t result in fatal errors? Jim Dudley chats with Dr. Stephen James, an assistant research professor at Washington State University, about his work on the interaction between physical stressors such as sleep-related fatigue and police performance.

NEXT: Cops need to engage in tactical napping

7. Rener Gracie on why every cop needs one hour of Jiu-Jitsu training a week

Officers are often put into difficult situations where they need to make immediate decisions on how to stop an attack, to defend others or themselves, or possibly to use to effect an arrest of a resisting offender. In this episode, host Jim Dudley speaks with Rener Gracie, world-renowned Jiu-Jitsu expert, practitioner and chief instructor at the Gracie University about deficits in law enforcement defensive tactics training and how use of force “reform” could endanger both cops and civilians.

NEXT: Defensive tactics training: A Police1 series

8. Why we should not remove SROs from our schools

In the wake of George Floyd protests, some schools chose to sever ties with their school resource officers. In this episode, host Jim Dudley talks to Mo Canady, Executive Director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, about the value of SROs and the risks of removing them from schools.

NEXT: Back to school with no SRO: Will attacks increase?

9. Axon CEO talks TASER weapons, police performance and transparency

Increased transparency has been a cornerstone of the police reform conversation in 2020. Host Jim Dudley speaks with Axon CEO Rick Smith about current research around the development and deployment of TASERs, as well as new offerings from the bodycam maker designed to improve police performance and transparency.

NEXT: Keep your community informed with a transparency hub

10. How an app could integrate off-duty public safety personnel into mass violence response

There seems to be an app for just about everything these days, from accessing training to seeing how crime is occurring almost in real-time. Wouldn't it be great to have an app that alerts off-duty LEOs to assist in responding to an act of mass violence if they’re close to the incident? Host Jim Dudley speaks with Lt. Travis Norton, a 20-year veteran with the Oceanside (California) Police Department, about how to bring this concept to reality.

NEXT: How tech is transforming mass violence response

What was your favorite podcast from 2020? Email policingmatters@police1.com.

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