Wisconsin Law Enforcement Command College prepares grads for leadership roles

On June 9, David Funkhauser addressed a roomful of law enforcement professionals on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The chief of police for Kiel, Wis., described the need for strong leadership in challenging times.

The audience members—thirty graduates of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Command College—were ready to rise to Funkhauser’s challenge. They had just completed the nine-month program, a partnership between UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Command College serves representatives from law enforcement agencies around the state, preparing them for leadership roles. It’s part of UW-Madison’s Certified Public Manager Program, which trains managers in federal, state, and local government and in tribal and nonprofit organizations.

Brad Funkhauser at podium
At the graduation ceremony, Chief David Funkhauser described the need for strong leadership in challenging times.

“The Command College provides law enforcement professionals with skills that will help them better serve their communities,” says Robbi Dreifuerst, director of the Certified Public Manager Program. “It’s an example of the Wisconsin Idea in action, drawing on UW-Madison resources to improve citizens’ lives throughout the state.”

Learning beyond the classroom

Brad Wentlandt speaking at a podium
Coordinator Brad Wentlandt says the students’ projects provide their communities with immediate benefits.

Members of the 2017 graduating class represent 21 municipal police departments, seven sheriff’s offices, and two state agencies. They’re the fourth group to complete the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Command College, launched in 2013 by UW-Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies and coordinated by Brad Wentlandt, chief of police for Greenfield, Wis.

A key part of the students’ 300 instructional hours is a research project designed to make their own organizations more effective. Scott Holum, for example, looked into restructuring the Tomah Police Department. Thomas Moczynski explored a professional development program for Green County deputies. Emilee Nottestad worked on a police reserve unit and internship program for the Sparta Police Department.

“The Command College provides students with practical problem-solving and decision-making skills,” Dreifuerst says. “The applied project requires them to use these skills to address an immediate organizational need in a concrete way, extending the learning beyond the classroom.”

Wentlandt says the students’ projects require them to think about problems on a regional or community level rather than through the myopic lens of “law enforcement.” Their work provides agencies and the communities they serve with immediate benefits.

For more information about the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Command College or the Certified Public Manager Program, contact Robbi Dreifuerst, 608-262-3830, robbi.dreifuerst@wisc.edu.