Required Courses Students are required to take the following three courses
The Leadership Imperative
Rapidly expanding globalization, terrorism, new technologies, and rising anti-government/anti-police sentiments are just a few of the increasing demands on law enforcement agencies today. Never has there been a greater need for effective leadership at all levels of our public safety organizations. Learners in this course evaluate the emerging issues and challenges of leading in the field of public safety. The journey begins with an exploration of what effective leadership really means. A significant part of this discussion is the relationship among the leader, follower, and context. With this foundation, we spend week two largely looking at the leader. Know thyself is the lesson of the week. Week three expands the discussion to the follower. If leadership is a relationship, how do we strengthen those bonds given the fluid dynamics of people, organizations, cultures, and situations? The learner experience culminates with a framework for successful leadership as demonstrated through the North Star Capstone Project.
Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement
This course engages students with an overview of numerous contemporary issues and challenges facing police organizations around the world. The course focuses on three broad categories of contemporary issues: Community Trust; Recruitment, Training and Retention; and the Implementation and Challenges of Technology. Learners focus on case studies and articles discussing these issues and analyze and discuss the circumstances of the events and decisions that were made. During week four, students present a challenge they experienced with a nexus to at least one of the contemporary issues explored in the class. Students explore the details and outcomes of the situation, decisions made by the leadership at the time, consequences of those decisions, and the lessons learned.
Health, Wellness, & Resilience in Policing
This course introduces law enforcement leaders to contemporary issues in maintaining and improving overall wellness. Leaders who encourage and support physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy officers will see a more productive and engaged workforce who are better able to handle everyday career and personal stress, make better decisions, and become more resilient to the intense stressors in law enforcement. Police leaders can enhance long-term career performance of their workforce…and themselves…by practicing whole health wellness, including physical exercise, resilience techniques, and spiritual (religion-neutral) concepts. Students will come away with new ideas for creating a departmental wellness program or building upon an existing one.
In addition to the required courses, students select one specialization/elective course. While elective offerings vary from session to session, the following are two examples of North Star electives.
Constitutional Law for American Law Enforcement
This course presents an overview of the legal framework informing the law, policies, and practices affecting the American criminal justice system, particularly the law enforcement community. Students will focus on the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments of the Bill of Rights and their interpretative case laws. A continuing theme throughout the course is the grand debate between balancing civil liberties with public safety. Students will explore the philosophical and societal fundamentals of the law but always in the context of real-world applicability and consequence. While this course is designed for American students, international student waivers may be obtained upon request.
Decision Point: Morality & Ethics in Policing
This course exposes students to the multifaceted components of ethical decision-making providing opportunities to wrestle with complex moral issues before facing them in real life. The course begins by addressing the prominent theoretical underpinnings of ethical behavior. However, the sole study of theory offers students modest value considering the profound practical implications of ethics in policing. It is this gap in many police academies and university settings this course attempts to fill by discussing real-life scenarios and the considerations and consequences surrounding the actual decisions that were made. An ethical dilemma is defined in this course as a situation involving a moral right or wrong where the decision is both complex and uncertain, and the decider cannot surface unscathed. Thus, the dilemmas explored in this course are not easily decided. The course is designed to be highly interactive with a multitude of exercises outside the normal didactic lecture.
Center for Police Leadership & Ethics International (CPLE)