Leadership in Police Organizations℠ (LPO)

If you or your department is looking for a leadership development program that is research and behavioral science based and which focuses on the theory of dispersed leadership, IACP has the program for you.

The LPO leadership development training program is based on a behavioral science approach to leading people, groups, change and organizations. Piloted with great success in 2010, this three-week course is an adaptation of the traditional LPO program; providing the opportunity for law enforcement and public safety personnel to train together in the classroom. The original course material was developed and taught for many years at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Through years of research and development, the curriculum was specifically tailored to meet the challenges and needs of the law enforcement community. Since 2005, the IACP has worked with over 300 local, state, and federal agencies of all sizes to bring the LPO program to 29 states and internationally. Ninety percent of the departments pursue “train the trainers” to develop their own faculty. IACP then provides this faculty with mentoring, standardized instructional materials and support to allow them to sustain the program with internal resources. Elements of the training have also been used in promotional processes and in service training.

Why is the program so different? The distinguishing feature of the IACP three-week course is a focus on the systematic development of leaders at all levels of an organization- the concept of “every officer a leader.” Besides teaching people how to lead individuals, the LPO course coaches people on how to lead groups, organizations, and efforts toward change. For any organization or enterprise, group dynamics can be the difference between success and failure. The LPO course attendees study these dynamics to become adept at making groups cohesive and better able to reach organizational goals. This knowledge acquired by participants about themselves and others has enhanced relationships both on and off the job, making a profound, life-changing impact on many course graduates. In the 21st century, police organizations can no longer rely on an individual or small group of leaders. To develop leaders, law enforcement executives must create a culture in their organizations that is supportive of dispersed leadership. This means establishing expectations that all officers will take leadership initiatives at their levels of responsibility.

The three-week course, typically taught one week a month over three months, emphasizes applied learning; it is very interactive and utilizes small group case studies, videos, role playing and class exercises to reinforce learning. Students are taught leader strategies for use in dealing with practical work place challenges. The course teaches participants the behavioral science theories to better understand how to lead individuals, groups, change, and organizations. Participants are challenged to use the theories and strategies taught to increase the motivation, satisfaction and performance within their organization and to support organizational change.

IACP also offers a train-the-trainer program of ten days for those departments wishing to develop their own instructors for continuation of the program at the local level. At the conclusion of the train the trainer, participants are given all the teaching materials they need to run the programs locally and are mentored to set up the program with IACP’s assistance. IACP also offers one-week customized LPO programs for field training officers, command staff and the specific needs of the department.

To obtain more information on bringing the LPO program to your department, please contact Program Manager, Jennifer Rolfe, at 703-836-6767 ext. 366 or email policeleadership@theiacp.org.


“No chief of any organization should continue their tenure without taking this course. This program teaches a person to become the best in their profession by addressing their own leadership abilities and how to improve and influence others within their own organization to be strong, competent leaders.” – Washington State Police Department Chief

“Absolutely the best training I have ever taken. I wish I had this training 15-20 years ago!” – Michigan Police Department Chief

“This course is a roadmap for success as a leader. I can only imagine what a tremendous difference could have been made in my life if this roadmap was provided 22 years ago when I started my career. It is my strong opinion that this program must be taught at every level of leadership.” – Georgia Police Department Lieutenant


The International Association of Chiefs of Police: IACP Homepage