Elon Leadership Educators deliver workshop for Burlington Police Department

Elon strengthens relationship with police department through shared commitment to continuous learning and development for its officers

A group led by Isabella Cannon Professor of Leadership Chris Leupold on Dec. 9 facilitated a team development workshop for the Burlington Police Department.

The workshop attendees included all of the chiefs, captains, lieutenants and sergeants on the force. Leupold’s co-facilitators included Cara Lucia, the Elon Faculty Leadership Fellow, Instructor in Leadership Studies Leslie Blank and Melanie Bullock, director of Elon’s Center for Leadership.

Burlington Police Chief Jeff Smythe is an ardent supporter of staff development and has been strongly committed to creating a culture of continuous learning since his arrival in 2013. Lieutenant Shelly Katkowski, who oversees and coordinates the training and development programs at the Burlington Police Department, initially consulted with Leupold to discuss content that would best serve the organization and attendees. Katkowski was formerly an assistant coach for the Elon women’s basketball program during the Brenda Paul era.

Cara Lucia leading a debriefing session

The workshop included modules and activities related to delivering difficult feedback, resolving conflict, and employing different influence strategies. In addition, time was devoted to facilitating planned rotational leadership changes to occur in January. This involved individuals critically analyzing their teams on a number of performance and interpersonal factors, and then presenting their findings to their new leader as a means to calibrate all parties and prepare strategic plans for 2020. The feedback from participants was extremely positive.

From left — Leslie Blank, Chris Leupold, Chief Jeff Smythe and Melanie Bullock

“It was nice seeing them have a good time while learning,” Smythe noted. “Mixed in with the fun, they conducted action planning, learned more about feedback, and interacted with “new” captains who will be moving to new positions next month.”

In a letter to President Connie Ledoux Book, Smythe expressed his gratitude for the workshop and his appreciation for the partnership that has emerged between the BPD and Elon University. “I have been here in Burlington over six years now and the relationship between our department and Elon University continues to grow… and I thank you for your involvement, willingness to partner, and gracious offerings of staff and resources,” Smythe wrote.

Leupold and his colleagues look forward to continuing to support the Burlington Police Department and its commitment to staff development, as well as working with other community agencies who seek to enhance their organizations and leadership.