November 1, 2023

Policing Leadership Academy Graduation of Inaugural Cohort

Crime Lab announces the graduation of the inaugural cohort of the Policing Leadership Academy (PLA).

At the graduation ceremony for the University of Chicago Crime Lab’s first cohort from the Policing Leadership Academy, held at the Rubenstein Forum on October 27, 2023.

From Lewiston, Maine to the North Lawndale neighborhood in Chicago, this past week was a somber reminder that gun violence remains a national crisis. Whether it’s a mass shooting or a slow-motion massacre of community violence impacting cities every day, so much of the news and the national conversation seems to focus on arguing over the problem rather than doing something to solve it. We’re trying to change that at the Crime Lab.

So amid the heartbreaking headlines, I wanted to give you a bit of hope: Last Friday, the University of Chicago Community Safety Leadership Academies graduated its inaugural cohort of rising leaders from the Policing Leadership Academy (PLA), the only police management and leadership training program in the country specifically designed to increase safety and fairness in America’s most violent neighborhoods.

The program provided leaders with six months of intensive instruction on data-driven management, violence reduction, and building community trust. Here’s a look at the potential impact of this new initiative.

The inaugural cohort included 25 rising police leaders from 24 cities nationwide and the United Kingdom.

Collectively, the first cohort of graduates serve cities comprising over 20% of homicides in America.

Our research demonstrates strengthening police department management can reduce violent crime rates and police use of force by up to a third. That’s why the PLA is so key.

The PLA is a testament to the Crime Lab’s commitment to public safety innovation and participants of the program are already seeing its benefits:

From left to right by row: Chicago Police Department Superintendent Larry Snelling gives remarks; graduate Deputy Chief Michael Wolley, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, receives his certificate; graduates look on as speakers give remarks; Former New York City Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell gives remarks (Photos by Jason Smith).

In the short-term, this program has the potential to save lives as leaders return back to their cities and implement the lessons they’ve learned. But this is just the beginning. With your support, we hope to fundamentally transform policing over the long-term as we reach more rising police leaders across the country.

Our celebration of the achievements of our PLA graduates underscores our commitment to reducing gun violence and creating safer communities for all. Thank you for supporting our work to make that a reality.

Read the press release, see more photos, and watch a video of speeches at the graduation here.

Read the full newsletter here.