Growing up, Terence Herrick figured he could make a difference in the world with a badge and a gun. Turns out he might do the most good with a microphone and podcast.
A one-time police officer for the City of Bellevue, Herrick is the originator of Police Academy Podcast, which encompasses a website, podcast, YouTube channel, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account.
At the heart of each post is an in-depth conversation about controversial police issues in the U.S. And there’s been plenty to talk about: the shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and of other black men in Minnesota and Louisiana; the shooting of five Dallas police officers; riots and rallies.
It is an atmosphere Herrick calls “dismal.”
“It is discouraging to see how many powerful and influential people and organizations are willing to mislead the people of our country for whatever agenda they have,” Herrick says. “It is discouraging to see that those people and those groups are willing to literally get people killed to promote their agenda.”
That said, he is “hopeful because I do believe that most people—I think the majority of people out there—realize everything is not what it seems and are looking for the truth.”
They can find the truth, he says, at Police Academy Podcast.
The idea to start the podcast came while Herrick was spending “umpteen hours a day” driving for his job with MSI Consultants, a Colorado company that provides risk mitigation services to lenders for construction projects. Herrick had joined the company in the fall of 2015 with the idea he might one day take it over. He left behind five years with the Bellevue Police Department to do so.
“It is discouraging to see how many powerful and influential people and organizations are willing to mislead the people of our country for whatever agenda they have.”
Before long, though, he knew the switch wasn’t working.
“I just realized that I personally cannot go to work every day if what I do isn’t literally changing someone’s life,” says the Gretna native. “That’s just the way I’m wired. To run a business that is about construction and banking risk mitigation isn’t something I can do for the next 30 years. No matter how much money I make, I would never be happy doing that.”
His Police Academy episodes are rant-free. “Just the facts,” as Sgt. Joe Friday might say, delivered in Herrick’s steady, even-keeled voice. There’s a classroom feel to it, as when he’s giving a detailed explanation for why Officer Darren Wilson’s gun didn’t fire during his struggle with Brown in Ferguson, demonstrating hands-on with a .40-caliber Smith and Wesson M&P pistol.
Herrick’s first podcast was posted in April, a five-part series about Ferguson. Herrick will often post raw police footage and then offer play-by-play analysis. He provided such analysis of when police pepper-sprayed an 84-year-old woman in Oklahoma, and he used the same strategy to examine police shootings of Charles Kinsey (the therapist for an autistic man in Miami) and the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Though podcasts were his initial focus, his YouTube channel now generates more traffic. A show discussing the Chicago Police shooting of Paul O’Neal in July had 19,000-plus views.
He laughs when asked whether his show is pro-police or pro-citizens.
“That should be the question everyone asks when they consume any content: What is the slant of this creator? I do not defend the police. And I try not to support any narrative.
“My goal is…the truth.”
Visit policeacademypodcast.com for more information.