Case-Study-Driven Leadership Training from West Point: The 1992 Los Angeles Riots Led Law Enforcement Executives to the Department of Behavioral Sciences at West Point. Its Curriculum Would Evolve and Prove Effective in Enhancing Leadership. One Test Came September 11

By Devine, Joseph A. | The Public Manager, Winter 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Case-Study-Driven Leadership Training from West Point: The 1992 Los Angeles Riots Led Law Enforcement Executives to the Department of Behavioral Sciences at West Point. Its Curriculum Would Evolve and Prove Effective in Enhancing Leadership. One Test Came September 11


Devine, Joseph A., The Public Manager


There is nothing magical about leadership, and there is nothing magical about teaching it or learning it. Leadership is the synthesis of cognitive, emotional, and social intelligence, acting upon and within the situational dynamics shared with followers.

Leadership by definition is the ability to influence others to pursue and accomplish organizational goals and objectives. Influence implies the ability to motivate followers to want to accomplish those goals. Influence is not coercive but rather the igniting of an internalized passion to meet organizational goals. Understanding motivational theories rationally communicated and applied to any leadership challenge will likely motivate followers.

These theories and their application can be effectively taught in a manner that provides new and future leaders with a toolbox of leadership skills, knowledge, and abilities. One such method has proven effective at the United States Military Academy at West Point and to law enforcement executives: the case study method.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Leadership Training Prioritized

The 1991 arrest of Rodney King and the Los Angeles riots of 1992 served as catalysts for the development of training programs for law enforcement leadership. The 1991 Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), also known as the Christopher Commission, investigated the Rodney King incident and ultimately called for formal leadership training of police supervisors and commanders. Within The City in Crisis: A Report by the Special Advisor to the Board of Police Commissioners on Civil Disorders in Los Angeles, William H. Webster and Hubert Williams concluded that "the chief of police should make it a high priority to improve training, experience, and leadership of the command staff of the department."

Historically, the FBI National Academy and similar programs provided police management training programs. The curriculum traditionally focused on management skills rather than leadership skills. The demand for leadership training led officials of the LAPD to seek assistance from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Concomitantly, a group from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police approached West Point for the same reason. This unplanned confluence of law enforcement executives at West Point led to the development of a dynamic leadership training program.

West Point had been training military leaders since 1802, and its faculty had a proven and adaptable organizational leadership curriculum. With a respected tradition of academic and professional excellence, West Point provided a unique solution to the challenges of leadership development within law enforcement.

Partnership with the Military Academy

In June 1993, 10 command-level law enforcement officers attended a faculty development workshop at the department of behavioral sciences and leadership at West Point. Five of these officers were from New Jersey and five were from the LAPD. For four weeks, these officers studied organizational leadership and learned how to teach it to West Point standards. The following summer, five additional officers from New Jersey and five from LAPD received this training at West Point. Each of these sessions placed law enforcement officers with new and returning West Point faculty members. This combination of experienced military officers holding doctorates in organizational behavior and related disciplines with well-educated law enforcement officers provided the foundation for leadership development within law enforcement. The challenge for these law enforcement officers was not only to learn the course content within four weeks but also to learn the teaching methods used at West Point

Leadership, as taught at West Point, is not the autocratic, top-down, military style of leadership that one may surmise. Organizational leadership, as taught by the department of behavioral sciences and leadership at West Point, is designed to develop, "smart, thoughtful, and reflective leaders, according to the curriculum.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Case-Study-Driven Leadership Training from West Point: The 1992 Los Angeles Riots Led Law Enforcement Executives to the Department of Behavioral Sciences at West Point. Its Curriculum Would Evolve and Prove Effective in Enhancing Leadership. One Test Came September 11
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?