Leadership training

I have had some great opportunities at MCOLES highlighted by my affiliation with the International Association of Directors of Law enforcement Standards and Training ( IADLEST). Through that affiliation I have been able to travel to several other countries to interact with their law enforcement trainers.
What I have observed in countries such as Nigeria, Serbia and Colombia is the amount of leadership training that is required. In all three the completion of executive level training that I would equate to our military academies is required to hold a leadership position in their respective police agencies.
When I contrast their overall training to the United States as a whole I find that our skill level training for patrol is superior. Much of the reason I was sent to those countries was to offer suggestions for improvement in the basic level and/or evaluate their current training academies. However, when it comes to command level training they have much more focus.
Through my career I advanced through the ranks to eventually become the Chief of Police. Some specific command training was offered such as supervisory schools from entry to middle management to Police Staff and Command for executive. Most however, came after I was promoted. Once I became Chief little or no training was offered and mostly due to budgetary constraints. Not all of that was the fault of the City administration as I made those decisions to spend my training dollars on the officers and not me. I chose along the way to earn Bachelors and Masters degrees, but was only compelled by my own desire.
It is long overdue in our organizations that we focus on leadership training long before an officer ascends to the next rank. Offering training after the fact to me is like offering the keys to the car without first obtaining a license to drive. It’s even more prevalent at the executive level where major decisions begin day one and that executive may or may not have adequate formal or departmental training to address the multitude of complex situations they encounter. We basically learn by experience     Pillar 5.3 of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing states ; “Law Enforcement agencies should provide leadership training to all personnel throughout their careers.” That training needs to start early and be continuous progressing from front line to middle management onto Executive levels. We simply as communities cannot say anymore that we don’t have the funding. Executives, especially need to focus on continuous training, not only formal, but with their respective associations whereby they can be exposed to issues, discuss strategies and be prepared for the dynamic situations that will occur and they will be held accountable for.
As I have said many times, we as practitioners, cannot always depend upon the organization to offer training. As professionals we must seek out our own, that’s what professionals do. Also, however, The City Managers and Mayors and other community leaders need to conduct their own cost benefit analysis and weigh the cost of training to the cost of a bad decision.
It is my hope that we as a profession develop training such as a command college. This college takes the learner from the basics to the advanced. Other countries already do this, it is our turn and the time is now.


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