LESTER PRAIRIE, MN It takes more than time on the job to qualify an officer to be successful in the role of police chief these days, and a new certification program aims to demonstrate the commitment to professional development and continued training that is required for success as a chief.
The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA) recently certified Lester Prairie Police Chief Robert N. Carlson as a master practitioner, the highest certification level in the association’s new credentialing program.
Carlson was awarded the certification based on a review of his CLEO certification application, which detailed his extensive law enforcement experience, academic achievements, community service, and professional contributions.
Carlson is among the first group of more than two dozen Minnesota police chiefs to receive the association certification.
Carlson said the organization is trying to show that the role of police chiefs has changed from what it was years ago, and chiefs have to be at a higher level to be successful.
“The role of chief versus officer is very different,” Carlson noted.
The MCPA, in conjunction with the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board, the League of Minnesota Cities, and members of higher education, unveiled the credentialing program in August 2014.
“CLEO Certification is a continuing education and professional development program that provides Minnesota police chiefs and aspiring officers an ongoing roadmap to success,” MCPA Executive Director Andy Skoogman explained. “If law enforcement leaders follow this framework, the MCPA believes they’ll be better prepared to manage the evolving challenges of their careers and serve their communities successfully.”
A task force made up of members from law enforcement, higher education, the Department of Public Safety, and the POST Board designed the criteria for certification, and currently reviews all applications.
Lynda Woulfe, a CLEO Certification Taskforce member and the Cambridge city administrator, stated if a law enforcement leader doesn’t maintain a high set of professional standards, or a city makes a poor hiring decision, the costs can be high.
She added, “It can get expensive for municipalities, from lawsuits to a costly termination fight and rehiring process. One of the most expensive costs is a loss of community trust. I believe the credentialing program should help minimize these risks.”
Officers must meet minimum qualifications to be eligible for CLEO certification.
Core areas that must be mastered for CLEO certification include:
• organizational management;
• personnel management;
• personal development;
• finance and budget management;
• technology; and
Those seeking certification are scored in five categories, including higher education, formal continuing education, years of experience as a CLEO, community service and involvement in professional associations, and contributions to the profession.
Carlson said police chiefs need to stay up to date on a variety of topics to protect themselves and the cities they serve.
To learn more about the CLEO certification program, follow the link at www.heraldjournal.com.