Thursday, March 31, 2016

LEMIT Reaffirms Commitment to Law Enforcement Profession

To help strengthen its mission to serve officers in the Lone Star state, the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) recently reorganized its staff to focus on development programs for executives, leaders, and professionals; research; and finances.

“The Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas is committed to providing exceptional education, professional development, and service to the law enforcement community to enhance the ethical advancement of Texas law enforcement and inspire excellence in leadership,” said Dr. Rita Watkins, Executive Director of LEMIT. “What all the new units will do is to better provide what the institute was designed to deliver.”

The reorganization includes the appointment of five new directors. Dr. William Wells will head the Research Unit, which provides ongoing collaboration on topics of important to practitioners in the field. Tammy Douget will lead the Finance Unit, manage funding as well as Project EnCriPT which trains environmental officers, information technology, and future online offerings. Donna Garcia will oversee Executive Development, which includes programs for Police Chiefs and Command Staff. Dara Glotzbach will head the Leadership Development Unit, which encompasses the Leadership Command College and programs for Constables. James Senegal will be in charge of the Professional Development Unit, including current topics of training for law enforcement personnel, such as the LIFE program for female leadership, the Post Criminal Incident Seminar for officers involved in critical incidents, public information officer and emergency management training, and other specialized programs.

The Research Unit, headed by Dr. William Wells, is designed to study the current critical issues in the criminal justice field, utilizing faculty and graduate students from Sam Houston State University, one of the oldest and largest programs in the country. The focus of the unit is practical application in the field, with recent studies on such issues as eyewitness identification procedures and untested sexual assault kits. Dr. Wells works closely with participants in LEMIT programs to help identify issues that need to be addressed and to provide recommendations on how to solve these problems.

The Finance Unit is charged with managing money collected through court costs into professional development programs for Texas law enforcement. In addition, the Finance Department manages Project EnCriPT (Environmental Crime Program Training for Environmental Enforcement), an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection to train civil and criminal enforcement officers on how to effectively enforce laws protecting the environment and public health. In addition, the Finance Unit oversees information technology and the development of online course offerings at LEMIT.

The Executive Development Unit focuses on the top leadership of law enforcement agencies, providing information on the latest issues and trends facing departments across the state. LEMIT provide biennial training for police chiefs through the Major Cities Police Chief Leadership Series, which covers issues specific to urban areas with populations over 100,000; the New Chiefs Development Program, which offers skills to newly appointed chiefs in Texas; and the Texas Police Chief Leadership Series, which provides information on managing a 21st Century law enforcement agency. LEMIT also offers a Command Staff Leadership Series, which delivers similar training for the second in command at law enforcement agencies.

The Leadership Development Unit includes the Leadership Command College (LCC), LEMIT’s flagship development offering for up-and-coming executives. This nine-week program, often compared to the FBI National Academy, covers leadership and management principals; political, legal and social environments in law enforcement; and law enforcement administration. Established in 1989, the program is held at Texas A & M, Texas Women’s University, and Sam Houston State University and recently graduated its 75th class.

The Leadership Development Unit also offers programs for Constables, including those newly elected or appointed to the position; continuing education offered in four-year cycles to provide recent updates and management skills in the discipline, and the Constable Leadership College, an intensive, nine-week program modeled after the LCC. In addition, a course is available for New Supervisors in any law enforcement agency to help guide individuals in their first supervisory position.

The Professional Development Unit provides current and timely topics for all law enforcement officers. Among its current offerings are the Leadership Inventory for Female Executives (LIFE) which is designed to bridge the existing gap of female representation at executive levels of law enforcement in Texas and nationwide; the Post Critical Incident Seminar, a peer-based program to aid officers involved in critical incidents; and skill development programs for Public Information Officers and Emergency Management. The unit also offers special programs for Field Training Officers, Forensic Analysis, Crimes Against the Elderly, and Homicide Investigators, to name a few. Finally, the unit provides support to many professional conferences throughout the state.

“We want to continue to build upon the original LEMIT mandate,” said Dr. Watkins. “For Texas law enforcement this reorganization aligns dedicated resources to better serve the field. It took a period of time to evaluate and re-evaluate the institute, which resulted in a new organizational model that is responsive to our policing professionals. I am so excited for each of the new project directors, they have the knowledge and experience to lead key pillars of the institute.”