Gone are the days of training for police work by playing with a Nintendo zapper, as Payette County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Andy Creech observed in his studies at Northwestern University Center for Public Safety. Creech completed his training through their School of Police Staff and Command on Aug. 11.
According to Creech, the program scarcely left him free time during his studies.
“I put in about fifty to sixty hours per week between school and work,” he said of the training. “The amount of time [spent] on school and work duties varied throughout the twenty-two weeks depending on the workload of each.”
Creech said he split that time up, spending 20 to 30 hrs on the job and 30 to 40 on his coursework, with colleagues in the office making up the difference.
The lieutenant’s training covered various areas of police leadership, including statistics, organizational behavior, leadership strategies, employee and workplace relations, human resources and strategic planning management.
One key area of leadership Creech seeks to focus on in his efforts is retention of officers and staff members at the Sheriff’s Office.
“We wrote numerous papers about books and published articles that we read. We also wrote papers on our own departments and how we currently operate as well as how we could implement the curriculum into our current practices to strengthen them. The largest paper we wrote was a Staff Study Research Paper. The research paper that I wrote focused on Employee Retention. I will be trying to implement several of the things that were identified in my research to help improve employee retention at the Payette County Sheriff’s Office.”
As Creech went about his studies, he said the program allowed him to network with law enforcement agencies nationwide.
“The course gave me the opportunity to study numerous aspects of administration as it relates to a law enforcement agency. It also gave me the opportunity to create relationships with other law enforcement officers throughout the nation. The information that I learned in this course will be helpful for me to use as I continue in my position as an administrator for the Payette County Sheriff’s Office.”
Lin Krohn, online director for Northwestern, saw Creech’s dedication to his coursework clearly from afar.
“His contribution to the course exceeded expectations and he always projected a professional respectful personae. He was well respected by his 36 instructors as well as his 25 student peers (leaders from various police agencies - Federal, State, County, City and private security) throughout the country,” she wrote in an email. “His dedication to his agency was a common professional thread throughout his educational experience.”
His boss, Sheriff Charles ‘Chad’ Huff, finds Creech’s dedication to his work particularly impressive.
“Andy continues to impress with his leadership skills, his analytical mindset and his ability to communicate with the staff and the public. He is assigned a variety of tasks at the Sheriff’s Office as well as the Emergency Manager for the County. He is part of the Command Staff which makes daily decisions on the operations at the office. Andy truly is ready for the next step in his career; to lead a law enforcement organization and I am excited for his future.”
Creech advises that those who sign up for the course will need to understand just what they’re in for as they get started.
“This course is an intense twenty-two week course. The beginning course materials advise students to not plan to leave town or do anything in addition to the course,” he says. “After having taken the course, I would agree that prospective students need to be able to commit to the class and all of the course work for the entire twenty-two week period.”
That being said, Creech says this course is well worth the time spent.
“The class was an excellent course that covered all aspects of administration. Prospective students will obtain a lot of valuable information that can help them lead [their] agency more effectively.”
Information about the course is available online at sps.northwestern.edu.