There’s an organization in Holly Springs that trains law enforcement officers across the country to better serve their communities.
The International Academy of Public Safety or IAPS, began training police and sheriff’s departments five years ago. Today, more than 12,000 law enforcement officers in ten states have participated in their program. More than 3,000 of them are in North Carolina.
Chris Hoina is an expert trainer at IAPS. He says one of their biggest success stories is in Jefferson Parrish, Louisiana.
“Now the New Orleans Police Department is not using this material but the county sheriff’s office is. And they have seen since they began to use the program that their complaints have dropped in half," said Hoina.
Hoina, who was with the Cary Police Department for 19 years, says their teaching modules on leadership could help communities like Ferguson, Missouri where the death of an unarmed African American man by a white police officer, spurred demonstrations across the globe.
“We’ve adopted a model that we are trying very hard to instill this thinking into officers that every officer is a leader. And that’s kind of our mantra," said Hoina.
He says police officers and sheriff's deputies leave their program much more "self-aware" of who they are as leaders, developing a new internal respect for themselves which spills over into the community in a positive way.
Hoina says the IAPS recently recognized the Los Angeles Police Department as "Four Star Credible Leaders" for successfully completing the "mastery level" of their training.
Some of the North Carolina departments who have gone through IAPS training include sheriff's departments in Buncombe, Chatham and Guilford counties and the Apex, Garner and Holly Springs Police Departments.