POLICE Magazine

MAR 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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POLICEMAG.COM 17 gree for captains or chiefs. Barry Walker, a former police lieu- tenant, obtained a graduate degree in leadership while he was an officer. He says his education assisted him in achieving his promotion to lieutenant. "I was prepared to answer the ques- tions in the interview, and I could also write well," Walker says. "e degree didn't get me promoted, the knowledge from the degree did. "ere has been a fundamental change in leadership style that has oc- curred over the past 15 years. Where law enforcement used to be paramilitary and autocratic, it has now transitioned into a much more empowering model where decisions are pushed down to the lowest level," Walker adds. "During my time in police management, I also adopted a leadership model where I fo- cused on my stars instead of trying to fix the broken officers. is allowed me to recognize and reward those officers who stepped up." LEADERSHIP EDUCATION While a college education may position an officer for promotion, those whose primary goal is upper management—or those who already possess a bachelor's in criminal justice—may find that a leadership-focused program provides the knowledge and skills to excel. Organizational leadership empha- sizes the idea that power and responsi- bility within an organization are to be distributed rather than held by one per- son. When organizational leadership exists, the mission, focus, and culture of the organization are not solely de- pendent on the chief. Instead, the lead- ership rests among many, providing a democratic voice and stability through change. Organizational leadership education focuses on topics such as developing missions and goals, communication and decision-making skills, supervi- sion, ethics, and most importantly, leadership. is particular focus of study pre- pares officers to participate in the shared leadership roles within their departments. A degree in leadership allows the student to become aware of his or her communication skills and to develop necessary speaking, writing, listening, and interpersonal skills to be- come an effective supervisor. Additionally, the emphasis on learn- ing to delegate responsibilities helps to empower employees and allows officers to practice these skills in their depart- ment. is rewards the organization with officers who gain ownership of their roles and gain the power and au- tonomy to make decisions, ultimately producing an environment of higher morale and greater commitment from all. Sherah L. Basham is a professor at Co- lumbia Southern University. She holds a master's degree in criminal justice from the University of West Florida, a bache- lor's degree in criminal justice from Pen- sacola Christian College, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. She has more than 20 years of experience in the criminal justice field in investigations, campus security, and education.

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