NOPD Lieutenants Successfully Navigate School Of Police Staff And Command Training Program
NEW ORLEANS – The School of Police Staff and Command (SPSC) is an intensive 10-week program that prepares law enforcement managers for senior positions by uniquely combining academic principles with practical applications. Simply put, the training course helps police officers become better leaders and prepares them for senior command positions. And the knowledge gained can be put to use immediately when the student gets back out on the streets.
Held at the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety in Evanston, IL, NOPD sent Second District lieutenant Jennifer Dupree and Fifth District lieutenant Lejon Roberts to the training. The two were hand-picked to attend by NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. The intensive coursework began in early March and lasted through late May.
SPSC curriculum focuses on such topics as leadership and management, budgeting, contemporary policing, decision making and problem solving, employee relations, executive image, grant writing, media relations, organizational behavior, planning and policies and statistics. Courses are taught by the Center for Public Safety’s staffers, including instructors who are former law enforcement officers.
“I learned some new leadership tactics and I’m leading by example now,” said Roberts. “I’m showing my guys that I’m part of the team and that we’re all one team.”
At the end of the course, SPSC graduates are better prepared to think “big picture” rather than focusing on a task-oriented approach. Graduates leave the program better equipped to analyze the environment, mitigate legal exposure, deliver police services effectively and efficiently, get things done with people, and develop systems of accountability.
Aside from the culture shock – “It was cold and windy the whole time,” said Dupree – the trip to the Chicagoland area was eye-opening in a number of ways. Dupree says she was surprised to learn how far NOPD is ahead of the curve compared to a number of other police departments.
“A lot of departments still write reports by hand,” she said. “And many don’t have car cameras or body worn cameras or even TASERS. Plus we have CCMS that tracks our cases, and programs like EPIC (Ethical Policing Is Courageous) and Insight now – our Consent Decree is pushing us ahead of other police departments.”
NOPD’s presence at the training course prompted questions about Mardi Gras and how the department manages such a huge public party every year.
“They wanted to know how we handle the crowds and special events with such a small number of police officers,” said Roberts. “Then we told them about the 40-plus second lines we do a year and how we handle a mobile crowd of 2,000 to 3,000 people with only 15-16 officers. Some of the other departments would probably have to call out the National Guard but we just roll with it.”
Roberts and Dupree’s fellow classmates represented a wide variety of law enforcement agencies from across the country. The agencies ranged in size from a police force of 20 to Chicago PD’s nearly 13,000 officers, which meant the participants had a lot of different day-to-day crime issues than NOPD faces.
“There was one guy from Wisconsin who said his town hadn’t had a murder in 10 years,” said Dupree.
After returning home in May, Roberts quickly began putting what he learned into practice. He says he feels like it’s allowing him to be a better mentor to some of his younger charges.
“I delegated a lot before but now I’m more hands-on,” said Roberts. “My general assignment units are fairly young so I go out in the streets with them now and show them some safety tactics and things they need to look for. It’s yielded quite a few gun and narcotics cases for us.”
Dupree says the training helped her learn a lot about herself and how she works with others.
“It gave me a different perspective of how I lead. Before I was more closed off but I learned I need to be more open and be there with my guys and use the resources we have available to us,” said Dupree.
Successfully completing the training also served as a self-confidence boost for Dupree. As a result of her experience and the confidence she gained by overcoming the intimidating coursework, Dupree has decided to go back to school and get her master’s degree.
Dupree and Roberts were able to attend the training thanks to funding provided by the New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation (NOPJF).