Police chiefs from major cities across Texas gathered in June in Fort Worth to learn about the latest leadership issues in the field of law enforcement.
Among the topics discussed at the biennial professional development session were recent research on leadership models, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and the Blue Courage philosophy. The courses were taught by national professionals and academics in criminal justice and including representatives from cities with populations over 100,000, including Arlington, Austin, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Houston, Irvington, Laredo, Lewisville, Lubbock, Mesquite, Pasadena, and San Antonio.
In April, a similar training was held which included top law enforcement leaders from Arlington, Austin, Beaumont, Carrollton, Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police, Fort Worth, Garland, Houston, Killeen, McKinney, Midland, Odessa, Plano, and Wichita Falls.
“Numerous leadership models exist to provide philosophical and practical guidance to police executives,” said Donna Garcia, Director of Executive Development at LEMIT. “This provided an overview of contemporary leadership models and allowed chiefs to reflect on and share their ideas on what works best in their cities.”
Dr. Joseph Schafer of Southern Illinois University discussed major leadership models being used in law enforcement as well as the latest research on their strengths and weaknesses. He also presented new information collected from police leaders who participated in the FBI’s National Academy, which provides insight on their perceptions of effective leadership practices and traits.
Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino led the discussion on how to implement recommendations from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. DiPino and her colleagues represented one of 40 cities invited to the White House to address police reforms and ways to improve relations between police and the communities. DiPino said Sarasota has implemented several programs, including using social media, increasing legitimacy, and building relationships and trust in the community.
In response to unrest between citizens and police in cities across America, the President’s Task for 21st Center Policing identified best practices and recommendations on reducing crime while building public trust. Among the core pillars of the report were building trust and legitimacy, implementing policies and oversight, adopting technology and social media, using community policing and crime reduction, developing training and education, and offering officer wellness and safety.
Michael Nila, managing partner of Blue Courage, introduced police chiefs to the program, a model designed to inspire the noblest of character and unquestioned devotion in the profession. The program is designed to change the way that law enforcement views policing, themselves, those they serve, and the performance of their duties. The program focuses on understanding respect for others, building resiliency to manage stress and function at peak capacity, and adopting the need for positive psychology as part of overall health and wellness.
Nila spent 29 years in law enforcement enforcement before retiring as the Police Commander of the Aurora, IL. Police Department. He has trained and certified thousands of employees in Blue Courage, including police departments in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, the U.S. Department of Justice, the United Nations, military and government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies.