301 W. Franklin Street
Taylorville, IL 62568
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FROM THE SHERIFF’S DESK – VOLUME 1, #9
By Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp
I have received some interesting comments and questions from readers of the story in last Wednesday’s Breeze about my completion of the National Sheriffs’ Institute special course. This was the 100th session of this course to be held by the NSI.
The National Sheriffs’ Association, founded in 1940, originated the concept of developing this special type of training and launched the beginning of what was to become the National Sheriff’s Institute in the early 1970’s. The program was a response to the needs expressed by sheriffs throughout the country to have a program that would help them effectively deal with the rapidly changing demands of the office. Currently, NSA’s membership includes over 3,000 elected sheriffs and a total membership of more than 22,000.
The resulting program was developed at the University of Southern California, School of Public Administration as a two-week course. Later revisions and improvements allowed it to be revised to its current, action-packed one-week format.
I have to say it was a wonderful experience. The 24 of us who spent the week in what was certainly an intensive agenda were very favorable in our ratings of the soundness of the programs and the understanding that the program developed in all of us. Full days of classes and additional evening discussions as well made it a very busy time.
Given the difficult financial situations of many counties in the country, it was important that this training is completely paid for by the sponsoring National Sheriffs’ Institute. No one who should have been there had to pass it up because of tight budget problems.
The specific objectives of the training include self-assessment of each of us so we can clearly understand our individual attitudes and how this awareness can effectively enhance our leadership qualities. That allows each of us to actually define our leadership direction. This is especially important since we will be better able to develop within our individual organizations an effective Executive Team. The final phase of the project is to assist us in planning and implementing the changes we need.
This whole concept is especially significant because the sheriff’s position is a uniquely American tradition of citizens voting for their choice to lead their counties. Over 99% of the nation’s sheriffs are elected to office.
And there is no question that the rapid changes in society today make such experience mandatory.
Of course spending a complete week with other first-year sheriffs has many advantages.
For example, our county, Christian County is about 715 square miles in size. One of the other attendees had a county that covered 6,000 square miles. We all talked with him and exchanged ideas on the important question of providing proper coverage of the county area. We learned some very good ideas from him. And he picked up many good points from the variety of our experience.
In fact, these informal discussions are programmed into the sessions and the interchange of experiences and ideas provided a whole new dimension to the proceedings.
That’s why the National Sheriff’s Institute is one of the most valuable learning opportunities we have. We all benefited from instruction, interaction, and group problem solving. The program staff in these classes included instructors with expertise in leadership who have experience working in or with sheriff’s offices.
The program is an excellent model for training and achievement that continues to bring improvements to sheriff’s departments throughout the country. I hope the next 100 sessions will bring even more innovation, learning, and success to the entire profession.
We have added several new categories this month. We hope this new data will allow the citizens of Christian County to better understand the work performed by their Sheriff’s Office.
Department Activity for the last 5 months: