By Douglas Belton
Several years ago I was on a layover at Midway Airport when I noticed a professionally dressed woman looking in my direction wearing an expression that I quickly recognized as one of familiarity. You know the look that someone gives you right before the index finger begins to wag and that age old line rolls off the tongue, “Hey, don’t I know you from someplace?”
The interesting thing was that she wasn’t so much looking at me as she was looking at my black portfolio with the bright red embossed emblem which read, “SPI” for, Southern Police Institute. That black portfolio and the Kentucky Colonel plaque that hangs in my office are the membership cards that tie me into an elite group of law enforcement professionals with whom I share a common experience and a common set of credentials.
In law enforcement circles there are only a few command schools that really matter, The FBI Academy, Northwestern Command School, and the Southern Police Institute. If you have attended one of those three schools you have met the first several key requirements for any command level police chief job you might be pursuing.
Much talk has been made of two essential ingredients for success in the professional world these days. The two new buzz words are “Branding” and “Networking.” If you want to get the job or the contract its all about your brand and your network, few other things matter as much. As it is in the world of law enforcement, there are certain executive protection schools that will set you apart from the competition and effectively “Brand” you as a serious contender for desirable work and that will expand your “Network” so that you are not alone in marketing yourself.