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Transformational Leadership and Staff Training in the Law Enforcement Profession

NCJ Number
THE POLICE CHIEF Volume: 75 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2008 Pages: 72-75,77,78,80,81,87
Ray Bynum
Date Published
February 2008
9 pages
This article examines the characteristics of education and training that produces "transformational" leadership (leadership that produces positive changes in an organization) in the law enforcement profession.
Transformational leadership theory is based on the principles of shared leadership, shared vision, and the continuing improvement of the individual. The four "I's" of transformational leadership are individualized consideration, idealized influence, inspirational motivation, and intellectual stimulation. In attempting to develop and make accessible the type of education and training required to develop leaders who can guide positive change in law enforcement agencies, the advice of Maxine Greene is relevant. She states that the transfer of information does not fully constitute learning and education, because this simple transfer does not present a challenge or obstacle for individuals to overcome. Greene argues that education must engage the individual, allowing "thought for freedom" and an awakening from self-imposed or self-accepted limitations. If the information does not awaken the individual to the existence of barriers and challenge the individual to reach beyond those barriers, then it has served little purpose. Only through "imagination, taking a risk, and ventures into the unknown" does the individual grow. Raising the staff education level is not sufficient to produce transformational leadership. There must be a combination of higher educational standards in basic training; higher formal education requirements for all staff members; and an improved inservice training program, which should include a higher level of training than basic training or a college education. Such education and training should reinforce basic concepts and skills but should also develop new skills, explore values and beliefs, and enable officers to reach a higher level of professionalism.