Creating a Culture of Leadership: IACP LPO Projects Transform the Vermont State Police

As is true for many law enforcement agencies, the ability to recruit and retain qualified persons is an ongoing challenge for the Vermont State Police (VSP). During the next five years, Vermont’s largest police organization can expect to lose approximately 37 percent of its 327 sworn members—primarily due to retirements—resulting in hundreds of promotions. Because many of the vacancies to be filled via promotions are supervisory leadership positions, VSP members must acquire the best leadership training available if the agency is to successfully navigate this significant change.

To this end, the VSP began implementing the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Leadership in Police Organizations (LPO) course in 2010. The IACP LPO program, piloted with great success in 2005 and revised in 2010 and 2012, has the distinguishing feature of focusing on the systematic development of leaders at all levels of an organization, using the concept of “every officer a leader.” This three-week course, typically delivered one week per month over three months, is an adaptation of a program taught for many years at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Through years of research and development, the curriculum has been specifically tailored to address the needs of the law enforcement community. Since 2005, the IACP has worked with more than 300 municipal, county, state, federal, and international agencies of all sizes to share the course’s unique leadership philosophy.1