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The Challenges of Policing (with Sergio Diaz)

In this episode, Former Riverside Chief of Police Sergio Diaz talks with students from the UC Riverside School of Public Policy about the challenges of policing.

 
FEATURING Sergio Diaz
November 19th, 2021

42 MINUTES AND 29 SECONDS

 


In this episode, Former Riverside Chief of Police Sergio Diaz talks with students from the UC Riverside School of Public Policy about the challenges of policing.

About Sergio Diaz:

Sergio G. Diaz was the chief of police for the city of Riverside, California between July 1, 2010, and September 19, 2019. Prior to joining the Riverside Police Department, Sergio was a police officer in the city of Los Angeles for 33 years, retiring at the rank of Deputy Chief in 2010.

Learn more about Sergio Diaz via https://presleycenter.ucr.edu/about/people#external_relations_directors

Podcast Highlights:

“Policing is one of those professions where people believe that they know what's involved.”

-       Sergio Diaz on the topic of the misconceptions that exist on policing. 

“But what we can all do to be safer is to invest more and better in our children.”

-       Sergio Diaz on the topic of crime prevention. 

“The best thing you can do to encourage good policing is to refrain from encouraging bad policing.”

-       Sergio Diaz on the challenges involved in creating safe communities and how police can improve.

Guest:

Sergio Diaz (External Relations Director and Former Chief of Police)

Interviewers:

Kevin Karami (UCR Public Policy Major, Dean’s Chief Ambassador)

Zeno Marganian (UCR Public Policy Major, Dean’s Ambassador)

Music by:

C Codaine

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Xylo-Ziko/Minimal_1625

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Xylo-Ziko/Phase

 

Upbeat Emotive by Fretbound

https://www.fretbound.com/

Video Link: https://youtu.be/F_8EMeRnd40

Commercial Links: https://spp.ucr.edu/ba-mpp

https://spp.ucr.edu/mpp

Commercial Credits: Eboni Odior, Johanna Arias,

This is a production of the UCR School of Public Policy: https://spp.ucr.edu/

Subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss an episode. Learn more about the series and other episodes via https://spp.ucr.edu/podcast.

Video

Transcript

  • The Challenges of Policing (with Sergio Diaz)

    [00:00:00] Kevin: Welcome to policy chats, the official podcast of the school of public policy at the university of California. Riverside. I'm your host, Kevin Karami. Join me and my classmates, as we learn about potential policy solutions for today's biggest societal challenges.

    [00:00:23] Joining us today is former chief of police of Riverside, Sergio Diaz. My fellow classmate, Zeno Marganian, and I chatted with him about policing challenges. Former chief of police of Riverside. Sergio Diaz has a long and decorated career in law enforcement and as a leader of criminal justice. He rose through the ranks as a police officer for the LAPD for 33 years and served as the chief of police for the city of Riverside for nine years.

    [00:00:54] Chief Diaz is now the external relations director for the Robert Presley center of crime and justice studies. [00:01:00] Chief Diaz, we are honored to have you on today. 

    [00:01:03] Sergio: Thank you, Kevin. It's my pleasure. 

    [00:01:05] Kevin: So I know our audience wants to get to know you a lot in this episode, so I'm just going to jump straight into it with a very broad and general first question. How and why did you get involved in law enforcement? 

    [00:01:18] Sergio: Well, the first thing is I wasn't one of those kids that growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a police officer. That it didn't really occur to me until I was actually a senior in college. And I had a small part-time job and girlfriend. By the way, it's the same girlfriend that I have today.

    [00:01:35] We've been married for 44 years. And somebody else by that actually told me, Hey, the LAPD is hiring and they're looking for bilingual people to be police officers. And yeah, maybe you want to give that a try, by the way, my original educational plan was to become a lawyer. So I, yeah, I thought about it and read some books about policing and such and it interested me. [00:02:00] I applied and the following year I was accepted and once I, I got into it, I, you know, I had some friends and acquaintances, people, you know, from the more who were attorneys and I realized they didn't seem very happy and, and I was happy and fulfilled doing my job. So I stuck with it for a while.

    [00:02:21] Zeno: Thank you so much for that answer. It's great to hear about how you started and how you got started in such a long career in policing. And so on to the next question chief Diaz, what were some of the biggest challenges that you've had to overcome in your career? 

    [00:02:41] Sergio: Well, I don't, yeah, my mind doesn't work that way. I don't keep track of challenges. I mean, each with each job and I was fortunate enough to have many different positions and, and really lucky to be able to work in all of the major areas of the municipal police department. But in each one, I [00:03:00] guess the talent would just be you know, learning a new job, learning expectations learning the culture.

    [00:03:06] Which later on, as I got into management, I realized it's more and more important than, than the you think. The culture is very, very important, but I think it was just the learning job, but learning the people and always trying to rise to the occasion as work to fulfill the demands of the moment. 

    [00:03:30] Kevin: I think that's a really interesting way of looking at it, not looking at your position in terms of the challenges you face, but rather how you can overcome anything that is put on your table. And so I've kind of as a follow-up to that. I want to focus specifically on your position as the chief of police of Riverside. What were the biggest moments in your opinion that, you know, you remember most, I guess as the chief of police that represent. 

    [00:03:55] Sergio: Well, without a doubt, it's it's the deaths of, of officers that was going to [00:04:00]be under me. I had been here for approximately five months in November of 2010 when Ryan Bonominio was killed. He was a patrol officer. He was in pursuit of a car theft suspect and he was killed by that suspect. A few years later, Mike Crane and his partner were also patrol officers, you know, working the midnight shift and they they came under attack.

    [00:04:27] The crazy person who filled the the cabin of the police car with, with bullets fired from a military rifle. And Mike was, was killed. That was in 2013. So later on, I also had to burry another officer who died of illness, he wasn't murdered. But Corey Oaks was his name. So without a doubt, those are the most impactful things. And the things that you remember. But coming, you know, when I started in, in the Riverside police department, it was at a particular [00:05:00] moment in the history of the department. All moments are particular, I guess, is important, but at that time, The reason that there was a, a vacancy for the chief's position is that the prior chief had gotten himself in some trouble relating to his personal behavior.

    [00:05:20] And, and that was widely reported. And, and so there was a I think a crisis of public confidence in the department, which was by no means the fault of, of the members of the department by no means a fault of the The working people in the department, but everything gets reflected on, on the whole body. And so I saw that as a big challenge to regain and retain the trust of the public that we work for.

    [00:05:52] Zeno: It's very difficult to hear that there are many aspects to policing such as the death of officers in this case, they can be [00:06:00] very difficult to deal with. And so leading on to another question as someone who isn't involved in policing in any way myself. There are many aspects to policing that I don't necessarily know or fully understand. And so are there any unique aspects or unique challenges about policing, the communities that you have in your career? That members of those communities might not be aware of.

    [00:06:28] Sergio: That's a really broad question. And I don't even know where to begin. I'll start by noting this policing is one of those professions or, you know, we, we like to think of it as a profession, whether it is or not it's up for debate, but, but it certainly is one of those jobs where people believe that they know what's involved after all it's policing is the subject of a lot of popular culture, [00:07:00]movies and TV shows and, and novels and such a written around policing.

    [00:07:05] And and some of those, just as happens with any activities, some of those movies and TV shows and novels are more accurate than others. Some are more insightful than others. So there, there are a lot of aspects that I think the general public doesn't necessarily understand, although everybody has an opinion about policing.

    [00:07:25] So it is more technical and there's more to it. And there's more intracacy and nuance than, you would think if you just we're exposed to the popular culture and even the news coverage we use news of course, is dependent on, on the exceptional. You know, the that's that's by the nature of journalism exceptional cases are reported upon.

    [00:07:57] And so there's kind of [00:08:00] a, I don't know if you'd call it cognitive bias or, or a cognitive predisposition to form a general opinion about the exceptional case. So I don't know if that's that's clear. And I apologize if it's not, but. But it is a challenge because people will read about something that is unusual and they will form the opinion that that's the norm. And they will also form the opinion that based on that exception, we have to develop policies, procedures, training, whatever it is, it happens to be.

    [00:08:38] Know that policy, procedure training or things that are constantly need to be reviewed, but you don't necessarily base those decisions on the exceptional case.

    [00:08:56] AD: On December 2nd, at 5:30 PM. [00:09:00] Pacific time UCR School of Public Policy will host a virtual event, spotlighting Riverside city council member, Clarissa Cervantes in her career in empowering working families, fighting for social justice, and increasing participation in local state and national elections. Learn more by going to spp.ucr.edu. You can also find the RSVP link in our show notes.

    [00:09:28] Kevin: Want to kind of follow up on that. This is this question is on the same line of what you were just saying, but what would you say is the biggest misconception that you see people people make about policing or about police departments in general? Is there like a specific one that stands out? Or is it just kind of what you were saying, where it was just, there was just a lot of general kind of what you're saying on the cognitive biases, that there are these biases, people have on exceptional cases and based on those people make these assumptions, is that kind of the main issue or do you think there are like [00:10:00] outstanding misconceptions that exist that are perpetuated by social media or maybe by people in office or maybe by communities in general? Or maybe it's like a combination of both. 

    [00:10:11] Sergio: Well, I think it's a combination, but one thing that I have said for a long, long time, you know, long before the current political and, and public relations crisis I tried to put myself in the place of an average person who doesn't necessarily know a lot about policing.

    [00:10:31] And I think, you know, as i drive by by the police station. I would rightfully assume. Well, first of all, I asked myself, I wonder what goes on in there. You know, we, we don't know. Yeah. As members of the public, you, you see one side, usually at the, when you're getting a traffic ticket, you know, you see one side of what the, the cops do, but if you were outside and had no particular insight, you would, [00:11:00] I think, you know, based on my observations, Concerned people.

    [00:11:05] I think that you would naturally assume, you know, those people in there, they're all, they all see the world the same way. They all they're probably all conspiring against me. And I'll never really know what they're up. And, and not that everybody feels that that way. I mean, we, the police departments are among institutions in American society that have the highest amount of of respect and enjoy a lot of support.

    [00:11:35] But I don't think we're necessarily transparent. Again, you could, if you didn't have a real contact with the police department, Yeah, they're probably all plotting, you know, they're all friends with each other. They all see the world the same way. And they're all trying to figure out how to mess over me.

    [00:11:56] And that's not the case. That's not the case on any of those points. [00:12:00] In my experience. Most police officers get into the occupation for the right reasons. Yeah. They, they generally want to serve people that don't only want to protect people. You know, the police officers have as, as a group, have a high protective in this thing.

    [00:12:18] They also, by the way, one of the things that would attract people to, to the occupation is the, the sense of adventure about it. Even even a young person who is realistic and knowledgeable and all that. Everyday is not an adventure. Every day is not a a TV show every day is not a car chase or a fight, but those things all happen.

    [00:12:44] It's not, you don't go to an office and sit behind a desk and do the same thing today that you did yesterday and expect to do tomorrow. So I think those are the, the outstanding traits, you know, the, the, the desire to serve the, the desired.[00:13:00] To protect other people and also welcoming getting an occasional adventure.

    [00:13:07] And I think that's, what's, what's often misunderstood or overlooked. Now, as in any group of people, there are a few folks that are in the occupation that don't belong there. Yeah. I was a manager for a long time and I was chief for a long time. And I even before I was chief, when I was in, in LAPD much of my career was in and around internal affairs function.

    [00:13:32] And so I've got a lot of experience at dealing with individuals when they don't follow the rules. So I think I'm pretty realistic about, about that aspect of, to the importance of enforcing rules and importance of training, the importance of culture in short, the importance of leadership. I think I, I understand those things.[00:14:00]

    [00:14:01] Yeah, I give myself the benefit of the doubt, I think I understand those things better than the lay people. And I don't mind the questions, but I welcome being able to discuss those things. You would let people know. 

    [00:14:17] Kevin: I want to ask a followup again. I know we've been on this stuff for a while, but I think it's a really interesting topic to talk about, especially with someone with as much experience as you. Are there any policies that you've ever thought about that should be implemented and vice versa? Are there specific policies you think that maybe should be cut out in terms of, you know things that people in public office talk about you know, this could be a local state or even a national level. Are there any, is there anything that you've always thought maybe should be implemented or maybe taken out. 

    [00:14:49] Sergio: Well, where to start, where to start. There are a lot of, a lot of things. There's certainly a lot of room for improvement in, in my field. I think [00:15:00] we, we can do a lot of things better. you know, when i was working the particularly when I was chief here in Riverside, I participated in a lot of community forums and town halls.

    [00:15:12] And there were these discussions, the way things should be And I never liked to give excuses. I didn't quite often I would tell people, no, you are right. That's that's something that needs to be changed. And I knew myself why it, why wasn't changed. But if I, if you go down that road of explaining why things are the way they are, you get into the, the the, the danger of making excuses, but there are a lot of things, for example, and this has been reported on quite extensively in the recent times, because things that have been in the news as I told you, there are some people that don't belong in policing.

    [00:15:57] On one hand it's imperative for police [00:16:00] managers to weed folks out. And, you know, I, I said many times when I was chief, look, this is, this is a sense of family. And in some ways inside a real family there may come a time when we ask one of our members to leave. Yeah, you got to leave the house. You can't be part of this anymore for the good of the house for the good of all of us and for your own good, but you don't take any pleasure necessarily in that, and I think it's that way in, in the disciplinary process.

    [00:16:34] And you know, when somebody has proven that they don't share the value and the cultures and ethos of the organization. We have to have some leap. It's not that easy though. We live in a democracy. We live in a society where people have rights organized folks, you know, folks that are unionized, have representatives. They have a whole different set of protections.

    [00:16:59] And here's where I, [00:17:00] I don't want to confuse anyone. I don't want to make excuses for why we can't always clean up all the lengths as quickly and as efficiently as we can. But those are real concerns. Now, should police unions exist? I think they definitely should. And I'll give you a reason that nobody talks too much about, and it's maybe because it's a particularly chief of police reason, but you don't want the chief to be able to say, you know what, you're out of here without any due process and without a public hearing and without any of that stuff.

    [00:17:36] And the reason you don't is because. What happens when the mayor comes to, to the chief and says, you know what? Officer Jones just gave my, my teenage son a ticket. I want you to get rid of officer Jones. Well, as it is right now, I would have to say under any circumstances, I would say, no, we're not doing that. We're not firing somebody because, because you're the mayor. [00:18:00] But I also have the back couple of saying, no, it's not that easy to fire somebody. We've got to have a hearing. We've got to gather up evidence. It's going to be public. You can't do what you want to do, Mr. Mayor. And by the way, that's a complete hypothetical situation, but it's not too far off from reality.

    [00:18:19] And, and should, should, should police officers have the right to, to, to bargain for wages and working conditions and all that? Of course. But with those rights comes, you know, the consequences. It's not easy often to, to get rid of somebody who's proven that they no longer belong, not impossible, but it, depending on the, on the setup, on the political administrative set up in a jurisdiction the chief might not have the final word. You know, it might be up to some arbitrator. That, in my view, is a complete disaster. That's a [00:19:00] recipe for disaster that somebody who doesn't have a stake in the outcome can arbitrarily decide on something as important as whether a person is is able to remain.

    [00:19:16] AD: Social injustice, health disparities, climate change. Are you interested in solving, pressing challenges like these currently facing our region and the world? then consider joined the next cohort of future policy leaders like me by applying for the UCR master of public policy program. Learn more at mpp.ucr.edu. You can also find the link in our show notes.

    [00:19:47] Zeno: Thank you, chief Diaz for helping shed kind of some of the light on some areas that either need improvement or have already seen some form of improvement and and kind of shedding light on the aspects of the responsibilities [00:20:00] and role of the managers and the chiefs and, and those high ranking people within those, the police system. But now to the other side of the aspect, The ways in which the police can improve. What steps could the public take to help make their communities more safe? 

    [00:20:18] Sergio: Well, you know, when we asked that question. I think back to part of my fundamental basic training in, in the in the police academy was the introduction into the history of policing as, as we know it in our Western civilization and, and, and the history goes back really. To the late 19th century, England, the London metropolitan police that was established by sir Robert peel. And so Robert peel had these nine management principles and, and one of them any, they worked themselves into some of the same concept with yourself through several of these principles. But one of them is [00:21:00] the people are the police and the police are the people.

    [00:21:03] And what he was saying was we all, all members of society have a responsibility for the prevention of crime. It just so happens with the police. or that small group of people that that's their they're so focused, they get paid to do that. But and I hope this response is satisfactory. It's not too general or highfalutin, but, but essentially the way.

    [00:21:30] The sh, you can argue about a lot of things, whether it's certain measures would lead to more public safety or not, then almost everything that the police do is subject to the debate as to whether those are effective means. But what we can all do to, to be safer is to invest more and better in our children . Educated people, accomplished people with what [00:22:00] we might as well call actualized people are unlikely to be a crime problem to their neighbors and their fellow citizens. So more than anything else, it's it's not the police certainly have a strong. Role playing deterrence and prevention and, and incapacitation of crime, you know, through the penal system.

    [00:22:25] But unfortunately in our society, families, houses, households are oftentimes little crime factories. Children who are abused, children who are neglected children, who don't get the proper instruction and support, and frankly love are likely to become a menace to their neighbors. So, I mean, that's, I hope that's not too long of a way to answer your question.

    [00:22:56] Now, aside from that, in terms of the police [00:23:00] specific I think the public can demand more professionalism more leadership better training, Republican demand that, that their elected officials support the police mission. First of all, Supporting law and order themselves, you know, we, we would hope that you know, we should not be electing criminals to public office and that should be a basic test.

    [00:23:31] You know, if you talk like a crook and you act like a crook you don't get to say, well, I'm a supporter of the police. So anyway, I, I would hope that people apply a lot of judgment and discernment in their political decisions. 

    [00:23:49] Kevin: I think that's a really interesting and also a very clarifying answer because I think, you know, education gets talked about a lot, especially in recent years. And given what's happened with [00:24:00] COVID I think education has really jumped up on our lists of what issues we talk about, but it's usually not in this context, right. It's usually not about how it can actually help make our community safer in the future by investing in our kids and making sure that they get what they need. But I also thought that other point you made on our elected officials was interesting. And I think it would be really fascinating to hear your thoughts on, you know, not specific officials, but rather what, from a, from the perspective of someone who has such a long career in law enforcement and was also the chief of police for the city of Riverside, what kinds of interactions have you had or experienced and have you had good or bad, or maybe neutral with elected officials and also how do police departments and I know this can differ from location to location, but how do police departments usually deal with elected officials in terms of how, how often is [00:25:00] that something that you have to think about? Is this something that maybe isn't thought about that much? Or is it case by case it's? 

    [00:25:07] Sergio: No, it is extremely important and critical. And, and by the way, in the United States, in our system of government, there are various models. So for example, you have the model of elected sheriffs and county sheriffs throughout the United States tend to be elected officials.

    [00:25:26] So to some degree, the autonomy. From other elected officials, although they have to work together in municipal police departments, typically the police chief is, is in is appointed by either a city manager or the mayor So when you ask about my dealings with elected officials or whether good or bad and so forth, they run the gamut.

    [00:25:51] People are individuals. But I will give you a little bit of a spoiler alert. Maybe I'll give you some hint into my thinking. [00:26:00] I've told people if, if my job was simply to run the police department, And to deal with the community. I could do that job till I'm a hundred years old. I enjoy it. I like it. I know, I know what I'm doing. The worst aspect of my job to be very frank with you. And I can be Frank because you know, I'm retired. The worst aspect of my job was dealing with city hall for a number of weeks. At, at the municipal level, especially, you know, in a, in a mid-sized city, people run for public office and, and essentially what they're doing in many cases is running to be the chief 3 1 1 operator, you know, the person who takes all the phone calls about any community situation that they're unhappy about. And then once they get it and they can't think very hard to get that position. And then once they get in the office, they [00:27:00] want the phone calls to stop. And so there's, there's oftentimes whatever they, the social problem, whatever the situation condition in the community is that people want to to address.

    [00:27:16] There's a limited number of tools that they have. And what it also often happens is that comes down to, Hey, let's have the cops handle it. Let's have the police fix it. So a very salient example would be the issue of homelessness. Now, pretty much anybody that I've talked to is disturbed by, by the topic of the homeless.

    [00:27:43] Some are disturbed because it pains them to see a fellow human being without shelter and condition where they obviously need help. So some people come to it from a a place of compassion. Others just want those unruly, dirty looking [00:28:00] people who are probably mentally ill. I just don't want to see them. And, and so then the, the, the problem becomes one of you, the police department, you make this, make this go away, you fix this.

    [00:28:15] My response always was, look, we can deal with the criminal aspects of that. If somebody is committing a crime, we can arrest them. If somebody who's committed a crime, we don't catch them. We can investigate the crime. If someone is mentally ill to the point that the California law defines you know, where the state can get involved. That is that they're a danger to themselves or other people are disabled. We can deal with that to a certain point, but we can't fix homelessness. We don't have the tools for that. You look at you try to tell people. Look at a police officer, look at what the tools are. The police officer has. They have a pistol and a taser [00:29:00] pepper spray and cups and their own power of persuasion and their own training and all that.

    [00:29:06] But none of those tools is adequate to solve the issue of homelessness, especially where as, as, as throughout our nation. It's so inextricably linked with issues of drug addiction and mental health. So that, that brought me quite often in conflict with, with elected officials, because I knew from experience, I, I had lived through many, many crises in the Los Angeles police department and in my view, many of the crisies, many of the worst crises and the things that eventually causes the most pain was when there was public pressure for the police department to take.

    [00:29:51] Take actions that they were not legally empowered to take, you know, solve a problem, no matter what, I don't want to look at it. I don't want to know how you solve it. [00:30:00] Just make the problem go away. I never accepted that. You know, it was after becoming a mature manager. I certainly was always on the lookout for that.

    [00:30:11] And I see that as as an issue Involving policing in our country throughout the country. Whether you in the Southwest or the Northeast or somewhere in the middle, the homelessness looks a lot alike throughout the country. It's almost always involved with mental illness and, and, and and drug addiction.

    [00:30:33] Seldom is it is the only problem that the person doesn't have a. So I've seen this play itself out over more than 40 years on various topics. You know, we don't like the, the gang problem in the area just west of downtown Los Angeles and what we call Rampart. Okay. You cops, you, you deal with it.

    [00:30:55] You, you make it go away. Well, we know we, we have an issue of resources and [00:31:00] legal authority and all that. We don't care. You just make it go away and. The tendency among police officers say, you know, salute and say, yes, sir. And I saw my job as often say, no, no, no, sir, we don't have, if we don't have the authority to do something, we shouldn't do it.

    [00:31:17] We should certainly never violate the law for some other purpose and my message to the, to political leaders and to police officers are. That guy that elected official is not going to bail you out after we arrest you for violating the law. They're not going to be giving you a different job after, after we have to fire you.

    [00:31:40] There was. Yeah. So anyway, I don't want to belabor the point, but that is one area where I would ask the public for help. You know, the best thing you can do to encourage good policing is to refrain from [00:32:00] encouraging bad policing, you know, for, for some other purpose. Even if you think it's an important, I don't know if that's clear, that's too much inside baseball.

    [00:32:10] It's clear to me, but when it's clear to you,

    [00:32:17] AD: The UC Riverside school of public policy is excited to announce the launch in fall 2022 of its new combined BA and master of public policy program. As the only such program offered exclusively within a public policy school in the entire UC system, the UCR BA/MPP will allow public policy students to complete both their public policy major and graduate studies in five years. Learn more at spp.ucr.edu/ba-mpp. For more information, you can also find the link in our show notes. 

    [00:32:58] Zeno: Yes. Perfect. Thank you for that [00:33:00] answer, chief Diaz and illuminating how sometimes a police get put in this scenario of being asked to solve something that isn't something they can solve. And how it's a very interesting scenario in that case. So just to kind of circle us back towards something we talked about at the beginning in how you didn't necessarily see yourself or grow up wanting to become a police officer. But that ended up being the career that you pursued in and had a good time doing. What advice would you give for anyone interested in a career in law enforcement? Or what advice would you have for those people who maybe aren't considering law enforcement yet? But maybe might in the future?

    [00:33:39] Sergio: Well, the first thing is I have a rule that I don't try to talk anybody into anything like that. The, the stakes are too high and you know, if, if you have the makings of being a good police officer you feel a calling and by the way, some people feel a calling that shouldn't be called, you know because you need the calling, but you need some other things [00:34:00] too.

    [00:34:00] But I, I don't believe in convincing anybody to do it. What I would say there's a whole lot. You can tell, by the way, I thought there was a whole lot that I would say to somebody who just starting a career and I might. Start with something that my dad said to me when I was 21 years old, I told him, yeah.

    [00:34:22] You know, I, I applied for the LAPD and all that. And and he said something to me I've never heard before. He said, oh, you gonna be a policeman. I said, yeah, thanks. So he says, well, okay, make sure that you behave in such a way that the day you stop being a policeman, you don't have to leave town. And, and I'm proud of having fulfilled that recommendation of my dad's. I didn't, I stopped being chief and I didn't leave town. I have nothing that I'm ashamed of. And and that is another [00:35:00] aspect about policing. You have many opportunities and really in any job in public life. You have many opportunities to do things that, that you'll regret later are something that I would have done different in retrospect and all that, but I don't feel shame for any of it.

    [00:35:16] And on the contrary, I'm very proud of my career. And I guess I would say that also for a young person, if you're considering this, know, it's It can be very rewarding. Like I've, I've told other people, and this is a little bit gender specific, but you know, for us men, quite often, you get to a certain age, you get into your forties and fifties or so.

    [00:35:39] And you know, that famous midlife crisis thing strikes. And one of the symptoms of that is that people ask themselves, well, everything I've done with my life. So. And does it mean anything? Does it make a difference and all that? And I tell people, you become a police officer and you do good job at it.

    [00:35:57] And you you're faithful to, to [00:36:00] the principles. You don't have to have that conversation with yourself. You don't have to ask yourself whether it was worth it, or whether you made a difference or not. You made a difference. 

    [00:36:11] Kevin: I think that's one of the best answers I've ever heard. On what advice would you give on this profession or this career. You know, usually people will talk about, you know, you have this look forward to you have this, but the fact that you're so proud of what you've done and the fact that you you know, aren't ashamed of your work, I think is the best way to kind of prepare yourself as a role model for others who may be interested in the field now or in the future.

    [00:36:35] I think that's one of the best ways that people can maybe look forward to the work. And also understand if this is something for them. If this is something that they'd actually. If they're actually interested in doing, or if it's just something that was just a passing thought. So I, so really thank you for that answer.

    [00:36:50] I think that's a really, really great way to put it. I know we're getting close to time, so I want to end things off on looking towards the future. So I understand your new [00:37:00] position as the external relations director for the Robert Presley center of crime and justice studies. Do you have any specific goals in mind? In this new position, 

    [00:37:09] Sergio: there's a few things. Yeah. First of all, the definition of that position, the external director, what that really means. And there's two of us, by the way, Mike Ramos, who's a former district attorney in San Bernardino county. He's one of the external directors. I'm the other. So my job in essence is to be the liaison of the, the center to practitioners in Riverside.

    [00:37:38] Similarly Mike is, is the liaison in in San Bernardino county. So I reached out to the sheriff, the police chiefs, the probation department, the public defender's office the, the district attorney's office. And we want to be that, that, that blue that brings [00:38:00] the, the researchers and academics in the Presley center together with the practitioners throughout our region. That's in general more specifically we've been working on, we want to roll out for next summer quarter a series of Robert Presley internships, Robert Presley center specific internships, where the students in the, in the center will have an opportunity over a couple of quarters to deal with to be interns in different organizations in the, in the two counties, different agencies. And the goal is to do some relatively high level stuff. We don't want our interns to be doing, just go for duties, you know, menial work, but to be exposed to, to what those agencies do to what the members of the agencies are involved with, give them some real. Views of what goes on and public agencies and the nonprofits in the in the region. [00:39:00]

    [00:39:00] Kevin: I think that's a really, really great way to end it on, you know, we've talked to so much about your past career and what you are, the amazing things you've accomplished, but it's great to hear about everything you're work on about right now, and I'm sure our audience, especially our students would be especially interested in any internship opportunity that the center is as you're thinking about. So thank you again, chief Diaz for joining us today. It was an honor to have you on and I can't wait to share this episode with everyone. 

    [00:39:25] Sergio: Thank you, Kevin. Thank you, Zeno.

    [00:39:30] Kevin: This podcast is a production of the UC Riverside school of public policy. Our theme music was produced by C coday. I'm Kevin Karami till next time.