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Southern Police Institute

Written by Stephenie Slahor

        Since its start in 1951, the Southern Police Institute (SPI) at the University of Louisville has pioneered thorough and innovative police education and training for its students. Its curriculum has grown into on-campus and other locations hosted by various agencies across the nation, plus special seminars held in foreign settings. The majority of programs are hosted on campus at Louisville, but upcoming locations for some of the courses include Paducah and Elizabethtown, Ky.; Sheboygan, Wis.; Mason, Ohio; Daytona Beach, Fla.; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Brooklyn Park, Minn.; and Orono, Maine.
        Among the current offerings are programs in the National Police Training Officer Academy (including a basic course, train the trainer instruction, implementation, and workshops); management courses in Chief Executive Leadership, Command Officers Development, and Management of the Small Law Enforcement Agency, Organizational Management Certificate program; and specialized programs.
        SPI's Chief Executive Leadership program is a 40-hour training course, with tuition currently at $675. The program is designed to provide the learning and exercises necessary for students to facilitate and encourage a forward-looking role for their agencies. Participants learn how to complete risk assessments; maximize training dollars through resource sharing; conduct effective internal affairs investigations; create excellence and commitment among agency employees; develop a volunteer citizen base; develop a strategic plan and budget; and deal with local governmental officials.         
        The SPI Command Officers Development course provides a comprehensive overview of management practices during its five two-week segments over a five-month term of study. Participants define and develop risk management strategies, and hone their expertise in management and internal affairs standards. The 400-hour course has a current tuition of $3,395.
        Students learn to develop strategic direction of the agency; enhance internal communications; develop alternative solutions for problems; prepare a formal staff study; plan, implement and evaluate policing strategies; develop regulations and policies pertaining to legal and regulatory standards; grow expertise in such personnel matters as recruitment, promotion, retention, discipline, termination, leave time, compensation.
        The Administrative Officers Course at SPI is a 12-week, 480-hour, in-residence, accredited college-level program to provide a comprehensive learning experience that can enhance the professionalism and leadership capabilities of law enforcement managers. It is appropriate for those in, or about to be promoted to, middle or upper management positions. The focus of the program is on instruction, diagnostic problem solving, and administrative law.
        Among the studies included in the program are law enforcement administration, legal issues, organizational behavior, managing organizational performance, and leadership. The program is offered twice a year, and current tuition is approximately $1,700, a housing fee of about $3,500, and the cost of instructional materials and fees.
        The Management of the Small Law Enforcement Agency course is a 40-hour, $675 course of training designed for agencies with fewer than 60 sworn personnel. The curriculum examines such topics as common problems associated with the managing of small agencies; accountability; personnel commitment and performance; effective police operations, standards of conduct; case law; recruitment and promotion; community support; and special funding sources (grants, gifts, donations).
        The SPI Strategic Management program is a 40-hour, $675 training course for the learning of the key elements of strategically managing police agencies. The interactive format encourages class participation in such areas as problem solving, planning, decision-making, domestic terrorism, emergency planning, morale, motivation, team building, strategic plan development, community problems, and mid- and upper-level management skills.
        The Organizational Leadership and Problem Solving course is for mid- and upper-level police managers seeking to improve their expertise in organizational leadership, problem solving, problem-based learning, team building, leadership, ethics and obtaining consistent and lasting performance among personnel. The 40-hour course tuition is $675.
        The SPI Managing Within Your Budget program is a 40-hour course with a current $675 tuition. The course fosters an understanding of a police agency's performance as perceived by its community, the media and governmental officials. Financial and operational accountability is emphasized as participants learn how to create an outline model for a performance management system for their agencies.
        Topics include understanding budgets and financial performance; achieving value with a budget that is linked to operational performance; evaluation; identifying and responding to problems; and evaluating resource expenditures to meet community needs. The course is appropriate for mid- and upper-level police managers.
        The certificate program in Personnel Development, Assessment and Liability is a 40-hour course at $675 tuition. It analyzes tasks, skills and qualities involved in staff recruitment, selection, retention and development of personnel effectiveness. The topics include job analysis, selection procedures, performance evaluation, staff retention, and management.
        The Organizational Management certificate program is for middle and senior managers and focuses on planning, management, coordination and leadership for team building, motivation, and communication skills. Any law enforcement agency can host the program in its locale, but a minimum enrollment of 25 is required. (The host agency or agencies must offer the course in a geographic region that is served by a commercial airline.) The 40-hour course has a current tuition of $675.
        The curriculum introduces participants to strategic management as it relates to agency effectiveness, staff, emergency and contingency planning, leadership, problem solving, data collection, accountability and managerial success. The program includes 40-hour training sessions (each at $675 tuition) in Strategic Management, Organizational Leadership and Problem Solving, Managing Within Your Budget, Personnel Development, Assessment and Liability.
        SPI offers Specialized Skills courses designed to enhance professional development of law enforcement practitioners through educational and career development courses that include current trends, technical tools, problem solving, communication skills, administrative law and investigative practices.
        The current offerings include the following courses: the Background Investigation course prepares students to conduct legally defensible, job-related police background investigations. The 16-hour course has a current tuition of $400. Topics include the process of background investigations, conflicts and responsibilities for investigators, job-related inquiries, personal history statements, documentation, confidentiality, review of the Americans With Disabilities Act, websites of assistance, and case discussions.
        The Homicide Investigation course runs 80 hours and has a current tuition of $1,195. It focuses on the advanced knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for the successful resolution of accidental, suicidal and homicidal death investigations. Instruction, case studies and problem solving methods are used. Areas of instruction include legal aspects, behavior, the role of the crime laboratory, DNA, identification and collection of biological evidence, blood stain and physical evidence, force impact, profiling and investigation techniques.
        A 40-hour, $675 tuition course in Sex Crimes Investigation contains information intended to aid in the successful investigation and resolution of crimes, response and procedures, legal requirements associated with evidence, identification, collection, preservation and transportation of evidence, forensics, and profiling.
        Similarly, a 16-hour training hour course at a current $400 tuition gives a comprehensive study of Child Sex Crime Investigations including investigation, interview, Internet crime, pornography, forensics, and community prevention programs.
        Trends and Techniques in Internal Affairs is a 40-hour course at $675 tuition for training in the role and function of internal investigations, proactive and passive methodologies, administrative and criminal investigative processes through various techniques, case law, policy, and practices of proper selection of personnel.
        The SPI's National Police Training Officer Academy informs police agencies about the benefits of implementing the PTO program training model. Following that, agencies are assisted by SPI in agency efforts toward transitioning to the model through high-quality training and technical assistance.
        The Mounted Police Training Academy is the only accredited mounted police training school in the U.S. Geiser Equine, Inc. developed the program in 1989. The focus is on understanding the dynamics of the partnership between rider and horse to create a competent and confident policing team.
        Courses are fully insured and held nationwide, and can be scheduled locally to suit such needs as basic mounted patrol officer instruction, advanced mounted patrol officer instruction, instructor training, mounted posse, and refresher courses. Registration is through the link on the SPI website, or directly at the academy website.

Stephenie Slahor, Ph.D., J.D., writes in the fields of law enforcement and security. She can be reached at drss12@msn.com.

Published in Law and Order, Jul 2012

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