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Back to Archives | Back to July 2008 Contents 

IACP Foundation: Building a Foundation for Future Leaders

By Major General Joseph C. Carter, Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard; Chair, IACP Foundation; and Immediate Past President, IACP

key objective of the IACP since its inception has been to enhance the personal and professional growth and development of law enforcement executives and encourage their participation in, and support for, continuing education programs. The IACP Foundation is proud to continue its role in the advancement of professional policing by becoming an integral source of support for the IACP’s efforts to bring leadership training to law enforcement agencies around the globe.

IACP Center for Police Leadership: A Brief History

For the past two decades, IACP executives have shared a vision to create and maintain an IACP Center for Police Leadership (CPL) offering a variety of instructional and educational resources; key among them is a leadership training program designed specifically for law enforcement officers.

Significant progress has been made in developing this leadership training program, beginning in 1998 with a President’s Leadership Conference, the goal of which was to develop a strategy for assisting current chiefs in actively leading their organizations and establishing guidelines and expectations for those who aspire to become chiefs. The belief behind the development of this strategy is that all officers have the opportunity and responsibility to become leaders in their organizations.

Following the conference, the IACP obtained the first of three grants from the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to expand further the concept of “every officer a leader” by developing a Leadership in Police Organizations (LPO) course.

The LPO course, based on one offered by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, centers on the theory that leadership should be an agency-wide concept, where qualities of leadership are expected from every rank, from frontline officers to the chief executive.

Progress of Leadership in Police Organizations

The LPO course was initially designed as a multiweek, on-site training program for law enforcement agencies, combining trained instructors using an established curriculum with practical exercises and on-the-job work experience for delivery to a diverse cross-section of an agency. The focus of the course is on applying leadership strategies to solve real-world problems.

The program was piloted in 2000 at the Arlington County, Virginia, Police Department and met with outstanding reviews and results. The program was repeated in 2003 at the Elgin, Illinois, Police Department and was quickly followed by a faculty development workshop that increased the number of certified trainers for the LPO course. All three of these training opportunities proved to be extremely successful, and the curriculum was praised as comprehensive, practical, and exceptionally relevant to the needs of modern law enforcement professionals. Now, over 149 police departments have participated in the three-week LPO program, many by joining together regionally to host the training and share the cost. Additionally, many agencies have developed their own trainers to continue disseminating course concepts within their own ranks.

Public-Private Partnerships and the IACP Foundation

News of the LPO curriculum spread by word of mouth among agencies, and soon requests for instruction were streaming into IACP headquarters, particularly from smaller agencies facing the constant challenge of funding professional development for their officers.

In response to this need, the IACP Foundation dedicated significant funding to the further development of the CPL and the LPO program and partnered with the Target Corporation to deliver condensed, regional applications of the LPO course to agencies in New England and Minnesota at no cost to those agencies.

Most recently, the Motorola Foundation has pledged $500,000 in support for the CPL, ensuring that the standards of excellence are maintained in the program by providing a critical curriculum review and continuing the cultivation of high-quality instructors.

These two collaborations are excellent examples of the power and promise of public-private relationships and demonstrate the value that like-minded corporate partners can bring to professional policing.

Future of the CPL

The IACP CPL is currently offering its flagship LPO course on a contract basis to interested agencies. As a result of the range of inquiries that the CPL receives, the LPO course is currently under review to determine if a distance learning model might be created to deliver a portion of the training in addition to on-site instructors.

The CPL, as it exists today, is not a physical, “brick-and-mortar” building or even a virtual center; rather, it is a concept that has as its goal to deliver leadership training to law enforcement agencies around the globe through a systematic, career-long approach.

The IACP Foundation, corporate partners, and the IACP membership continue to promote the CPL’s delivery of exceptional instruction to the law enforcement leaders of tomorrow.

For more information on the IACP Center for Police Leadership and the Leadership in Police Organizations curriculum and associated reading list, please visit the IACP Web site at and click on “Center for Police Leadership” or send an e-mail message to

The IACP Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization established to solicit, receive, administer, and expend funds for law enforcement–related charitable and educational purposes. Donations may be tax deductible; please check with your personal tax adviser. The foundation’s federal tax ID number is 54-1576762.


From The Police Chief, vol. LXXV, no. 7, July 2008. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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