GLYNCO, Ga. – The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) Leadership Institute hosted 23 participants from 16 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies during a Leadership for Women in Law Enforcement (LWLE-2201) training program, Feb. 4-11, 2022.
“The Leadership for Women in Law Enforcement program helps prepare current and future generations of law enforcement leaders to thoughtfully examine principles and challenges from the female law enforcement professional’s perspective,” shared FLETC Assistant Director Kai J. Munshi, Technical Training Operations. “Many law enforcement agencies are challenged with retaining a workforce that proportionately represents the diversity of our nation’s communities. Women play an equally important role in contributing the perspective and talent necessary for an agency to operate effectively.”
Special Agent Janell Sherbourne, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), took advantage of the course while currently assigned as a course developer and instructor at the HSI Academy at Glynco. Sherbourne believes the course enhanced understanding of differing perspectives and ways for men and women to account for them, and to incorporate those in their leadership style.
“This being Super Bowl weekend, I am reminded that teams that work together make it to the end. Each player has a specific duty, and nobody slights any of the other players,” shared Sherbourne.
“For example, the quarterback isn’t going to slight the lineman for not being able to do his job and vice versa,” added Sherbourne. “They realize that each person brings something to the team and only when they work together can they accomplish the goal. Similarly, I think law enforcement is a team sport.”
Participants engaged in candid discussions, as well as developing best practices to deal with common issues and challenges female officers and agents encounter.
FLETC Instructors Janet Lanham and Robert D. Kelley co-facilitated the in-person training through discussions on principles of human behavior and situational decision-making, and through case studies of emotional- and gender-intelligence communications.
“Leadership is universal, but male law enforcement professionals dominate most of FLETC’s leadership programs,” stated Kelley. “Having a Leadership for Women in Law Enforcement course allows for more female law enforcement professionals to attend a quality leadership programs and to focus on specific gender challenges encountered in a traditionally male dominated field.”
While the course name targets female law enforcement professionals, male students are also welcome and encouraged to attend. “Having perspectives from both genders allows for a greater understanding of the differences and similarities shared by all law enforcement personnel,” noted Kelley.
Special Agent in Charge Adam Stickler, U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG), signed up for the course to get a better understanding of women’s perspectives in a predominantly male profession. At the OIG, Stickler is responsible for the Investigations Division’s training programs. He intends to use information from this course to enhance his agency’s training programs.
“Understanding begins by breaking barriers and asking questions. Different perspectives enrich our workforce and strengthen the camaraderie within our ranks. I’ve had the privilege of working with and supervising many women, and through these experiences I realized I needed to deepen my understanding of the particular challenges they face in law enforcement,” said Stickler.
“I think this was an eye-opening and insightful course,” explained Stickler. “The collaborative format allowed us to network and share our unique perspectives. I encourage anyone of any gender to attend this course.”
The week-long course concluded with capstone presentations from participant groups, followed by a panel discussion with distinguished law enforcement executives. Networking among the students during the course was a natural happenstance and hopefully will remain a continued resource for students as they ascend through leadership roles.
“Whatever stage of your career you’re in, your opinions matter and you should be heard,” said Sherbourne. “It was fascinating to know that while we can have different learning styles and different ways of communicating, that doesn’t mean we can’t play on the same team.”
A component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FLETC provides career-long training to law enforcement professionals to help them fulfill their responsibilities safely and proficiently. Through strategic partnerships, FLETC prepares the federal law enforcement community to safeguard the American people, property, and institutions.
FLETC instructors discuss behavioral characteristics with federal, state, and local law enforcement students during the Leadership for Women in Law Enforcement training program at the FLETC Leadership Institute, Glynco, Feb. 9, 2022. (Photo by Lori Flynn, FLETC OPA)
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