Police course at U of L training nation's future law enforcement - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Police course at U of L training nation's future law enforcement leaders

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There's a rare program at the University of Louisville training future leaders in law enforcement. 

The fall class at the Southern Police Institute includes 44 members from 14 states.

"There are a lot of similarities in policing but there are also a lot of differences," said SPI Associate Director John Reed.

Reed, one of the instructors, retired after 28 years with LMPD and then spent seven years as police chief in Henderson, Kentucky.

"We're trying to provide a lot of tools for the tool belt. Not every tool works for every situation," said Reed.

Three months of training focuses on police history, leadership, and measuring performance. It's one of the most sought after courses in the world.

"If you are going for a police chief's job,” said Reed, “you have to have one of these advanced courses, if you will, of leadership and management to get those jobs."

SPI has been around since 1951 when some course materials were only 40 cents. LMPD Chief Steve Conrad went through the program in 1991. Federal agents, state and county police have also attended.

Southern Police Institute holds two of these 12-week training programs a year bringing in people from all over the world. The fall class has one student from as far away as Alaska.

"It's a hot bed of information," said Sergeant Mike Roberts who’s been an Alaska State Trooper for over 12 years.

"I've already met so many lieutenants, captains, sergeants from other agencies that have different programs implemented and different challenges and stuff that we find either match our predicaments or don't,” said Roberts.  “Or we have things we can offer them and stuff they can offer us - and that networking that's existed has been very beneficial so far."

Roberts, who is class president, just started the program at the beginning of August.

"There's so much stuff that I've already learned here as far as thinking a little more from then 10,000 foot level looking down, little more of a big picture thinking about projects and programs and ways to help benefit the agency," said Roberts.

Roberts' brother and father completed the same program. Others, so impressed with it, have sent back their badge, campaign hat, or souvenirs with their department's logo.

"We really appreciate it and it means a lot to us," said Reed.

The students graduate in November with the next class starting in February.

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