By Russell B. Laine, Chief of Police, Algonquin, Illinois; Vice Chair, IACP Foundation; and IACP President
s law enforcement executives will attest, training opportunities for command staff are critical for the smooth transition of responsibility and leadership within any agency. However, when faced with competing departmental priorities or budget cuts, many chiefs find it difficult or impossible to provide a chance for continuing education for their staff.
|Left to right: Rich Johnson, associate dean of the|
School of Continuing Studies, Northwestern University;
Captain Andy Robinson, Fort Mill, South
Carolina, Police Department; Commander Chris
McCann, Normandy, Missouri, Police Department;
Ed Pope, director, Northwestern University Center
for Public Safety
Photo by Jason Stamps, Northwestern University
Center for Public Safety
That is why the IACP Foundation has made professional development a priority within its catalog of programs. Through a partnership with the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety (NUCPS), the foundation received two full scholarships to the renowned 10-week NUCPS School of Police Staff and Command (SPSC) to distribute to qualified, command-level officers whose agencies would otherwise be unable to send them.
This scholarship opportunity was advertised to the IACP membership in the spring of 2008; after a careful review by a subcommittee of the IACP Foundation board, two successful candidates were selected to attend the 275th SPSC class on Northwestern’s campus in Evanston, Illinois. The NUCPS not only absorbed the cost of the class and the instructors but also provided lodging and a meal plan covering breakfast and lunch for the attendees.
The scholarship attendees enjoyed their graduation ceremony in December and were eager to offer their thoughts regarding the SPSC experience, included in the following box.
Captain Andy Robinson
Fort Mill, South Carolina, Police Department
My time at the NUCPS is one that will not soon be forgotten. Because a variety of police leaders attended the class, we were all told to leave our egos at the door and to recognize that we were all equal when it came to the learning objectives and expectations in this extremely demanding course.
I was not as familiar with the NUCPS as some of my classmates were, but I quickly learned that both the center and the SPSC course are rich with tradition and highly respected within the professional law enforcement community. During the 10 weeks I spent on campus, I was exposed to training and information that definitely has equipped me to be a better law enforcement officer and certainly has increased my ability to pursue my career goal of becoming a police chief.
During the course, I made contacts and, more importantly, friends that I will have for a lifetime. These friends, along with the SPSC staff and instructors, are an invaluable asset, and I know I can call on any one of them at any time for advice. My colleagues came from agencies ranging from 11-person departments all the way up to Chicago Police Department, and that kind of network will be incredibly important to me, as I will face many different challenges as a chief.
I would like to thank the IACP Foundation for this opportunity, which I probably could not have taken if not for the scholarship program. This was an experience of a lifetime, and I am thankful and grateful to the people who made it possible.
Commander Chris McCann
Normandy, Missouri, Police Department
The department where I am employed has definitely been burdened by the current economy, and there is no way I would have been able to attend this training without the scholarship provided to me by the IACP Foundation.
Before I left for the SPSC, I spoke with several past graduates, who told me that the education they received there was among the finest in their careers. After my first week of class, I realized that a difficult workload was in store for me! But the course was truly rewarding.
At the conclusion of my 10 weeks of training, I found that I was able to look back on some of the decisions I had made as an administrator and reevaluate them in light of new information. I am more confident in my decision making because I was given the tools to ensure that I reach solid, well-informed conclusions.
I learned valuable lessons, real-life scenarios, and management strategies that will undoubtedly pay dividends to both me and my department and will translate into better leadership for the people in our agency.
In addition to the rigorous academic curriculum offered by the NUCPS, each class is offered many opportunities to discover the downtown and suburban Chicago area during after-hours field trips and through the outreach of local SPSC alumni.
Historically, each SPSC class adopts a charitable cause and participates in a variety of fund-raising efforts. The 275th SPSC class doubled that commitment by raising money in support of two issues. The first was a donation to the family of a Chicago police officer who was killed in the line of duty while the class was in session (he was not an attendee). The second donation was raised in support of a class member’s departmental colleague, whose wife had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. This officer, along with his three children, attended the graduation ceremony in December to accept their check.
The IACP Foundation is grateful to the NUCPS and all of the foundation’s educational and corporate partners for making professional development and scholarship opportunities available to law enforcement officers and their families. ■
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.