Hodges and PorterKSMALLLLLLLLThe Benton Police Department will be the first agency in Arkansas to host FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) training courses. Three courses – the Supervisor Leadership Institute, the Command Leadership Institute and the Executive Leadership Institute – courses will be held at the department in March, May and July, respectively. All three courses make up the FBI-LEEDA Trilogy program.

FBI-LEEDA states their mission is to “advance the science and art of law enforcement leadership and promote the exchange of information to improve law enforcement management practices through training, education, and networking among police professionals across the United States and beyond.” FBI-LEEDA also said their core values are:

  • Leadership – A commitment to strong, best-practice-driven leaders in law enforcement
  • Ethics – An unyielding commitment to integrity; and just, transparent ethical leadership
  • Embracing change – Responsive to the ever-changing landscape facing law enforcement
  • Diversity – Respect and appreciation for the positive power of diversity in law enforcement
  • Academia – Providing the highest quality, leading-edge educational opportunities for members

“Strong leadership is imperative in law enforcement,” said Sgt. Eric Porter with the Benton Police Department. “Because if you don’t have good leadership - regardless of what your funding is, regardless of how well your officers are trained – it’s not going to work.”

Sgt. Porter and Benton Assistant Police Chief Scotty Hodges recently completed the FBI-LEEDA Trilogy program in Louisiana, of which they each earned an award for completing.

“What impacted me the most was the self-reflection aspect of it,” said Sgt. Porter. “Often times we only think about the specific task and goals we have to go through, and not necessarily about how we are portraying all of that. The self-reflection was big thing for me because it made me think about the way I was doing things and the reason why I was doing things that way. It was also giving me other options as well, to make me a better leader.”

Sgt. Porter and Assistant Chief Hodges also spoke with FBI-LEEDA representatives and planned out the Trilogy program for Arkansas law enforcement agencies. Sgt. Porter said along with Benton police lieutenants, there are officers in supervisor positions throughout the state who will attend the classes.

“We have officers registered from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Fayetteville Police Department, and agencies across the state,” he said.

Sgt. Porter said the first course, the Supervisor Leadership Institute, is “geared toward first line supervisors, and focuses on very specific tasks such as how to motivate and how to lead by example.” According to FBI-LEEDA, the Supervisor Leadership Institute students will be engaged in such topics as credibility, discipline, liability, overcoming team dysfunction, and leadership styles.

“They’ll also complete a DISC leadership assessment, which is kind of like a personality test about your leadership skills and what your tendencies are,” Sgt. Porter said. “At any given moment, you may have to act a different way to achieve the goal the easiest. For instance, I’m real laid back and sometimes I need to be more stern. It can teach you how to flip-flop what your tendency is to what needs to happen right then, and to be a more well-rounded leader.”

The Command Leadership Institute is designed to prepare law enforcement leaders for command level positions (such as lieutenants and captains). The Command Leadership Institute students will be engaged in such topics as credibility, command discipline, liability, problem employees, and leading change within an organization.

The Executive Leadership Institute is designed for executive-level law enforcement leaders, such as chiefs of police and a county sheriff. Topics covered in the Executive Leadership Institute course includes: Trends in law enforcement, implications of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing; Public trust and legitimacy, bias and diversity; Employee wellness; and Power, transformational leadership, social and emotional intelligence.

FBI-LEEDA said the instructors are “current or former command-level law enforcement leaders who have not only extensive leadership experience, but a passion for teaching.”

“The main instructor we are having here, Tim Plotts, was a captain for the North Carolina State Police,” Sgt. Porter said. “They leaders/instructors of the courses come in and share what has worked for them, what hasn’t worked for them, and some ideas on how to better lead your crew.”

“We [the Benton Police Department] are always looking for ways to improve leadership. That’s why, in my opinion, we are one of the best, if not the best, agency in Arkansas.”

The Supervisor Leadership Institute will be held at the Benton Police Department from March 6 to March 10. The Command Leadership Institute will be held at the department from May 15 to May 19. The Executive Leadership Institute will be held at the department from July 17 to July 21. Each course offers 28-credit hours (all three total 84 credit hours).

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