Prestigious National Law Enforcement Leadership Program Plans Expansion

The National Criminal Justice Command College, a collaborative partnership between UVA’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and the Virginia State Police, has welcomed more than 400 law enforcement leaders over the past two decades. Building on that success and to meet the nationwide need for leadership training that prepares command-ready law enforcement leaders, the program is looking to expand enrollment in summer 2024.

“Law enforcement and public safety leadership in America is changing at a rapid pace, and our leaders must be ready,” said Mark Hoover, UVA Assistant Professor of Public Safety and NCJCC program director. “They must develop new and innovative strategies to provide exceptional and professional service that meets community needs and expectations. Are you confident in your ability to lead and collaborate for positive change in your agency and community? This is the question we ask our NCJCC students.”

18th Session of NCJCC at graduation

NCJCC is an intensive, 10-week residential program, held with portions onsite at the Virginia State Police Training Center and on Grounds at UVA. In addition to strategic leadership, the curriculum focuses on subjects such as innovation, technology, communication, organizational effectiveness, personal development, officer wellness and mental health, collaboration, and negotiation. Upon completion of the program, students earn 15 undergraduate or graduate-level credits that are transferrable to UVA’s Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies or Master of Public Safety degrees.

Experts in law enforcement and executive leadership provide students with an integrated, forward-looking approach to solving contemporary public safety challenges, leaving them being better prepared to meet tomorrow’s law enforcement challenges, today.

“Earning my certificate was a great accomplishment, but I was more dedicated to the experience and the opportunity that the program provides,” stated Virginia State Police Lieutenant Keeli Hill. “I heard nothing but positives from prior students, and I was excited for that opportunity.”

Hill has served with the Virginia State Police for over 21 years and received her master’s degree prior to beginning the program. She believes that strengthening knowledge and abilities is vital to improving capabilities as both an employee and a supervisor.

“Being accepted into UVA’s National Criminal Justice Command College was another necessary step to being the best that I can be for the department and for myself,” she said. “Many of my fellow employees have been through the program and advised that it made them a better leader, supervisor, and overall better person.”

She also pointed to the chance to network with other law enforcement leaders as a standout aspect NCJCC presents to participants. “Each classmate develops a real camaraderie and establishes long-term friendships.”

The camaraderie Hill referenced was most important to Hill’s fellow cohort members, Captain Patrick Weston and Lieutenant Antoine Sinclair. All three leaders completed the program and received their NCJCC certificates from UVA in 2023. 

Both Weston and Sinclair have served in various law enforcement roles over the past 20 years. Weston oversees all operations for the King George County Sheriff’s Office in his current role as Chief Deputy, while Sinclair oversees internal affairs, inspections, and accreditation for the James Madison University Police Department.

When asked what he enjoyed the most about the program, Weston answered, “Hands down, my classmates. The relationships that were forged during our session will last a lifetime. It’s very comforting to know that I can pick the phone up, day or night, and still seek help or advice from all 24 of my classmates.”

“I attended class with a great group of, not only good police officers and administrators but also good people,” stated Sinclair. “As a class, we became transparent. We all benefitted from that.”

Each voiced similar takeaways from the program.

“I learned that it is okay to not have all the answers as long as you possess an efficient method for obtaining them,” said Sinclair. “Additionally, the importance of having a strong network cannot be overstated.”

“One of the things I learned during Command College, that I use in life now, is the power of small groups,” added Weston. “I learned that bringing in a group of people, allowing them to brainstorm an idea, and turn that idea into a reality is pretty impressive to watch.”

Both leaders now have plans of continuing their education after the NCJCC experience. 

“My goals were to acquire as much knowledge as possible, potentially advance my education, and learn from the diverse backgrounds as experiences of my classmates,” said Sinclair. “Obtaining these credits has revitalized my desire to further my education.”

Admission to the NCJCC program is open to mid-to-senior level law enforcement managers from across the country and internationally. Students learn in small groups of 25, building leadership expertise and close-knit, lasting relationships with other law enforcement professionals. The application deadline for the summer 2024 session is May 1. For more information, visit the NCJCC website.