What will you Learn?

Programs teaching you about leadership in the field of law enforcement go by different names. Some of the most common degree names are law enforcement administration and public safety, criminal justice administration, criminal justice leadership, and law enforcement leadership (or vice versa). With both degrees, you learn the knowledge and skills you need for leadership positions in the police and other law enforcement agencies. You will learn problem-solving and communications skills and will develop a greater understanding of diversity. The typical curriculum provides the knowledge you need to maintain social order, protect individual rights, and uphold the laws and institutions of democracy. The purpose a leadership program is to:

  • Develop management and leadership skills appropriate to law enforcement administration.
  • Develop an understanding of police responsibility, ethics, and rights.
  • Develop an understanding of the character traits necessary for becoming a responsible, moral law enforcement leader.
  • Analyze critical issues in law enforcement.

Here are some of your degree choices and examples of what you will study:

Criminal Justice Leadership

A Bachelor of Science in this specialty teaches you to think critically, make ethical decisions, and behave ethically and professionally within the field of criminal justice. Graduates of this program are able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the philosophical, theoretical, and structural aspects of the criminal justice system. The major courses may include the judicial process, ethics and public safety, criminal law and procedure, and foundations of leadership. A program of this type exposes you to the criminal justice system, as well as leadership.

Generally, this degree is part of a Criminal Justice program that offers a concentration in police administration. Your college courses in this law enforcement degree take you into the realms of psychology, American politics, and criminal law. You learn about the essential criminal justice principles with courses such as Effective Patrol and Community Policing, Crisis Intervention for Police and Leadership/Management in Criminal Justice Organizations. Specific courses may include research methods, judicial administration, sociology, and ethics in leadership.

Public Safety Administration

A Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Administration is applicable to law enforcement. The intent is to teach you the skills to supervise and lead organizations that manage emergencies and defend against threats. You build a strong foundation of knowledge in emergency management systems at the federal, state, and local levels to foster cross-agency collaboration. This program can help you further develop critical thinking and leadership skills to solve current and future public safety issues in both public and private sectors. The courses in a typical program provide you with a global outlook, interpersonal skills, leadership abilities, an awareness of current issues, and management competencies.

Leadership qualities are applicable to any management/supervisor position. The objective of the coursework is to define and explain basic concepts of leadership; analyze personal leadership knowledge, skills, and abilities; and evaluate leadership performance in a public safety or law enforcement role. You can find undergraduate programs that offer various concentration in areas such as law enforcement, emergency management or criminal justice.

Law Enforcement Administration

The Bachelor of Arts in Law Enforcement Administration degree focuses on teaching communication, motivation, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Students will evaluate guidelines for policing modern communities and will develop a greater understanding of diversity. Students learn how to maintain social order, protect individual rights, and uphold the laws and institutions of democracy. The goal is to develop law enforcement professionals who are responsible and ethical decision-makers. A degree of this type provides a foundation of knowledge in social, cultural, criminal behavior, management, and leadership skills.

There are undergraduate programs that combine criminal justice and law enforcement administration. Courses may include leadership principles, criminology, laws of evidence, and research methods for the CJ professional. This program does not have the same emphasis on leadership, but it does expose you to a broader range of subjects. These could be contemporary issues in technology, analytics, security, white-collar crime, forensics, cybercrime, terrorism, and international crime. Furthermore, you will gain the management skills to work in security management, corrections administration, law enforcement leadership, and counseling.

Law Enforcement Leadership

An undergraduate certificate in Law Enforcement Leadership offers a relatively quick and less costly way to learn about this subject. It may only consist of 18 credits during which you study the leadership and management skills of chiefs of police and law enforcement personnel at the state and federal levels. An overview of courses is in ethics, organizational change, budget development, employment and labor relations, and leadership and motivation. With a one-year completion objective, you will gain management techniques, principles, and philosophies, which are part of organizational change and transformation. You will know how to apply the concepts, skills, theories, and techniques involving human resource management and HR practices in the workplace.

Alternative Education

Individuals working with or without a college degree who want leadership training might be interested in the Leadership in Police Organizations (LPO) course. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) presents this three-week course. The purpose of the LPO training program is to help police leaders understand and apply modern behavioral science and leadership theories. Participants learn behavioral science theories with real-world application. They gain an understanding of how to lead change in individuals, groups, and organizations. Typically, the three-week LPO program takes place one week at a time, over a period of three months, to minimize operational downtime. The IACP provides two instructors for each of the three weeks, and classes consist of up to 36 students at the first line supervisor level and above.