An inaugural cohort of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Leadership Academy, which has deep ties to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, graduated in late March after completing three weeks of intensive instruction.
The new academy graduated 67 participants in a March 24 ceremony that included officers from law enforcement agencies from across the U.S. and 10 international participants from four nations, including Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and England.
According to DC Metro Chief of Police Robert J. Contee III, the academy is designed to provide law enforcement leaders from around the U.S. and the globe with “fundamental tools, ideas, and strategies necessary to provide leadership within their agencies during a critical time for the advancement of law enforcement organizations.”
“We are focused on building a global legion of police leaders who strive to continuously transfer excellence at every level of a police force,” Contee said. “Opportunities for people to step up and rise to the occasion must be bountiful within law enforcement for us to reach our highest levels of operations. I am confident the leadership academy will continue to set our future police leaders up for continued advancement and success in any public safety environment.”
The goal was to create an “interactive program,” and CHDS’ educational program was considered a model.Jessica Bress
DC Metro Strategic Projects Advisor and CHDS Master’s alum
DC Metro Police Chief of Staff Marvin “Ben” Haiman, a CHDS alum (Executive Leaders Program cohort 1802) said, “The DC Police Leadership Academy [DCPLA] is an important opportunity for leaders within the DC Metropolitan Police Department and from agencies across our country and broader international community to come together to discuss case studies in law enforcement, examples and practices of leadership, and learn from each other. Meeting the  leaders in our inaugural cohort provided me great optimism for the future of our profession to tackle difficult changes and maintain trust in our communities.”
CHDS is well-represented at the academy, according to DC Metro Strategic Projects Advisor and CHDS Master’s Program alum (MA cohort 1601/1602) Jessica Bress, who led the Police Leadership Academy initiative that included an analysis of other police leadership programs. Bress said the goal was to create an “interactive” program, and CHDS’ educational program was considered a model.
CHDS Director Glen Woodbury served as the keynote speaker for the DCPLA inauguration in January, and Woodbury, along with CHDS Director of Programs and longtime instructor Chris Bellavita and others associated with CHDS, provided informal consultations, as well as lectures and presentations, and CHDS faculty and program experts who teach at the Center were brought on by DC Metro Police to teach similar topics.
“We are truly honored to contribute to this effort,” Woodbury said. “Congrats and thanks to Chief Contee and his team for the imagination and vision to conduct a truly impactful education program for law enforcement leaders. We’re especially proud of our alum, Jessica Bress, for starting with a blank piece of paper and only a few months later, developing and delivering such an amazing program.”
Among those with CHDS ties who contributed to the academy include Julie Parker, Shannon Brown, Sam McGhee, Curtis Brown, David Kaufman, and Clark Kimerer.
According to DC Metro Police, the academy targets rising, mid-level leaders in law enforcement agencies, including lieutenants and captains, who will engage in shaping the future of the profession by developing their personal leadership abilities through hands-on areas of study.
DC Metro touts itself as one of the “most diverse police departments serving one of the most visited and visible cities in the world,” and notes that policing in the nation’s capital with its “dynamic mix” of local residents, students, commuters, tourists, and business travelers provides a “unique public safety environment” and a “rich backdrop for developing leadership skills that can be applied and used within law enforcement agencies around the globe.”
Bress said that made DC Metro an ideal host for a Police Leadership Academy, noting, “We’re in the nation’s capital; we should be leading this.”
Instruction at the academy includes experiential learning, live polling, case studies, interactive discussions, small group breakout sessions, lectures, and field trips to such sites as the U.S. Capitol building, the White House, the Supreme Court, the U.S. Navy Yard, and more to demonstrate stories of leadership on the front lines of major events that have taken place in the nation’s capital.