On October 21, 2022, 18 Chester County first responders take the stage in East Windsor, NJ, to receive certification from a special leadership program. Pennsylvania’s inaugural class is among the newest graduates of the NJ State Association of Chiefs of Police Command and Leadership Academy brought to the Chester County Government Services Center in 2022 through Southern Chester County Regional Police Department Chief Gerald Simpson and Chester County Sheriff Fredda Maddox.
For 13 weeks, law enforcement and emergency first responders from Chester, Bucks, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Delaware counties, Pennsylvania, and law enforcement officers from Cecil County, Maryland, undertook rigorous training inspired by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Academy participants studied leading theory and cutting-edge best practices in four primary areas—becoming a leader, motivating personnel, leading groups and managing environmental factors and outside influences. They applied those lessons and self-examination of their current methods and motivations as they grappled with real-life situations. For example, one program module focused on the power of listening—research about it and ways to use the skill to excel on the job and positively impact employee retention, which promote a safer community and save taxpayers’ dollars.
“When officers and first responders are equipped with behavioral science to understand their reactions to the many systems that are at play in a crisis, the result is better leadership. Better leadership brings about better solutions in the community,” said Chief Simpson. “Greater awareness and different thinking lead to hiring emergency first responders who will build better relationships in diverse communities, preventing cliques that could have an adverse impact on officers’ actions and building a positive environment that promotes equity and upholds our mission of serving the public.”
“Emergencies and active crime scenes are complex situations that are affected by all participants’ mindsets and background as well as by conditions, stressors and actions in play at that moment,” said CCSO Chief Deputy Kevin Dykes. “By discovering what leads to outmoded or harmful behaviors, we’re opening up space for better responses to those difficult situations.”
“On June 4, 2020, thousands of people marched to the Chester County’s Historic Courthouse and demanded change—in law enforcement practices, community attitudes and relationships among people. This is just one of the responses in answer to that outcry,” said Chester County Sheriff Maddox.
Local law enforcement officers and first responders interested in applying for the Spring 2023 Region 5 course beginning January 3, 2023, should immediately contact the NJSACOP State Office at 856-334-8943 or by e-mail at [email protected].