More than 1,500 police executives have graduated from the state’s premier management training program since it was created in 1989, providing the knowledge and skills necessary for successful leadership in a modern law enforcement agency.
The Leadership Command College, the most comprehensive program run by the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas, graduated its 65th Class in March. The nine-week program, which is taken in three, 15-day modules, helps up-and-coming law enforcement supervisors with training in general business administration; social, political and judicial issues; and budgeting, leadership and operational matters.
"I’m so proud of the police executives that have invested in their careers with the LCC experience," said Dr. Rita Watkins, Executive Director of LEMIT. "LCC is an executive development program recognized for its exemplary and rigorous curriculum. A graduate proudly wears the professional insignia of LCC which signifies the hard work and commitment one has made to develop themselves personally and professionally."
The program, a consortium which includes Sam Houston State University, Texas A & M and Texas Woman’s University, is open to licensed peace officers with at least two years of management experience and five years in law enforcement. It is available to a broad spectrum of professionals, representing police departments, sheriff offices, school and college police, state alcohol and beverage control officers, district attorney offices and the state Attorney General’s Office. It even has attracted a few international participants from Germany and South Korea, to name a few.
“It is not just about being a better cop, it about being prepared to become a leader and manager,” said Sgt. Steven McNeill of the Ector County Sheriff’s Office. “It is the best training I have ever had, and I have 3,000 hours of TCLEOSE training.”
After completing an online introduction to the program, law enforcement supervisors participate in three different modules held on the campuses of three Texas universities. They generally complete the sessions over an 18-month to two-year period.
"It’s truly an exceptional program," said Ric Sadler, Assistant Chief for Little Elm and a program graduate and instructor. "It nurtures you from your basic to your academic needs. It is for the whole person as a contemporary law enforcement officer."
At Texas A & M, participants learn basic administration, such as constructive disciplinary techniques, employee relations and basic leadership. At Texas Woman’s University, participants are exposed to social, political and judicial issues, such as the constitutional responsibilities of law enforcement, the police environment, the future of the profession, democracy and diversity, and fitness and wellness.
The final module is held at Sam Houston State University, where executive leaders discuss budget, operational and leadership issues. Among the topics tackled are community policing, budget, servant leadership, statistics, mental health issues, political survival, ethical challenges and officer-involved shootings.
"What sets the program apart is that it is Texas specific," said Dara Glotzbach, program coordinator at LEMIT for the Leadership Command College. "They are acquiring skills and knowledge specific to Texas."
The training is academically rigorous and requires participants to create a research paper on a law enforcement issue they are passionate about, which are cataloged in SHSU library collection and sometimes published in law enforcement magazines. The LCC executives also can use the course to earn college credit toward undergraduate or graduate degrees.
"I get requests weekly from around the country and internationally for this research," Glotzbach said.
Among the topics addressed during the latest class were the reduction of teen drunken driving through education; the affect of night shifts on officers; forensic facial imaging; forensic art vs. forensic software; incentive pay for police for bachelor or master’s degrees; workplace performance improvements; and the grief of surviving spouses.
The graduating supervisor also creates a leadership portfolio, a organized collection of documents and artifacts that represent their progress, goals and efforts. It can be used as part of a future job interview or to familiarize a new chief with the officer’s role in the organization. The portfolio includes a personal leadership statement, leadership autobiography, resumes and curriculum vita, trainings and certificates, letters from the public, newspaper articles and lessons learned at LCC.
"I took away something very personal," said Lt. Mike Scott of the Richardson Police Department. "It helped me to renew my commitment to my career, and I got to see the different sides of leadership. I know what I have to do and the changes I have to make."