The Police Leadership Association (PLA) has the ultimate mission of creating and guiding law enforcement leaders that are professional, competent, ethical, compassionate, and loyal to the United States Constitution and the citizens they serve. We provide knowledge, career direction, and most importantly, support for leaders to do the right thing at all times, whether they are fighting the evils of the street or more commonly the pressures of internal politics.
The PLA began when a group of supervisors in the Baltimore Police Department faced the reality that police agencies are getting younger and younger. Supervisors could no longer rely on the veteran officers to mold the next generation into police professionals. There are less and less veteran officers compounded by the rapidly changing face of law enforcement, where technology keeps changing and everything is recorded, how was this group of supervisors going to teach beyond their officers? They thought of many different ideas and conversed with other law enforcement leaders and began the formation of the PLA.
What the supervisors concluded was that the most pressing need for law enforcement personnel, was education. There is no lack of motivation for young officers to go out and police. What is hard to face, is that the politicians that govern us and the citizens that we serve expect police to have Law degrees, be paramedics, psychologists, elite marksmen, omniscient psychics, and ninjas, all at the same time, while we work for peanuts and never sleep. That expectation cannot be changed, what can be changed is our level of professionalism in facing those facts.
Why don’t law enforcement officers, just learn all of the things on their own? Because it is daunting, the General Order books are a pile high, law books are intimidating, police theory books are written by sociology professors and scientists that we can’t and don’t want to understand. Putting a resource into the hands of officers that easily taught them theory, law, procedure, leadership and so forth was the biggest influence that the supervisors could do in order to increase professionalism. With a bunch of United States Marines being involved, the idea became to prepare officers as Sergeants and Sergeants as Lieutenants. A promotional guide took shape that taught everything needed to advance to the next level in the testing room and on the street.
Over a couple of years the information came together and Law Enforcement Professional Development book was completed. The first version was for Baltimore, Maryland.