Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership

Master of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership

31 semester units

Online Format

This degree program is designed to serve the needs of professionals engaged in contemporary public safety activities, especially law enforcement, who seek advancement and professional growth by learning new skills, strategies, and social science for dealing with the contemporary realities of budget cuts, shifting cultural landscapes, and increasing public scrutiny.

In this program, you will learn leadership and management skills, ethical practices, and gain a foundation in legal and policy matters that will inform your choices as members of public safety and law enforcement organizations. Completion of all the courses in the prescribed curriculum of ten 3-unit courses and the 1-unit Integrative Capstone course, for a total of 11 courses and 31 units, is required to successfully complete this program.

MS-LEPSL Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Promoting Ethical and Effective Leadership for Law Enforcement and Public Safety Organizations
    Effective and ethical leadership is essential to the future of American criminal justice and the safety of our communities.Our Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership degree program will nurture a series of leadership skills that represent the most current best practices for encouraging integrity and creating a culture of ethical awareness within law enforcement institutions.From process-based conflict resolution, to evidence-driven decision making, to effective leadership actions in a challenging and dynamic criminal-justice environment, our nationally recognized experts and criminal justice practitioners will cultivate both a theoretical and practical understanding of ethics in modern law enforcement.
  2. Developing Law Enforcement and Public Safety Knowledge and Skills for the 21st Century
    Leadership in contemporary law enforcement is challenging and complex; institutions that thrive often have leaders who possess strikingly diverse skill sets that include practical, professional, administrative, and leadership components.Our Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership degree program will cultivate the analytical skills, critical thinking strategies, communication abilities, legal awareness, and financial and budgetary competencies essential for effective management in law enforcement and criminal justice.In addition, students will assess cutting-edge law enforcement technologies for improved organizational effectiveness and policing impact. Other law enforcement technologies, such as database and crime analytics will be taught in order to identify trends, hot spots, and appropriate community-based public safety responses and strategies.This program will provide a well-rounded series of practical skills that are vital both within and beyond the modern law enforcement environment.
  3. Engaging in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Institutional Assessment and Change
    This program not only builds the skills to look outward on social and criminal justice issues, but also to look inward at our own public safety institutions. Critical reflection and assessment of law enforcement institutions, in the context of its own dynamic environment, is essential for law enforcement leaders.Collectively, we will learn and practice the research methodologies and statistical tools for ethical, efficient and effective institutional assessment that will shape and refine our criminal justice system in the coming decades. Concepts of data-driven decision making will strengthen the organizational effectiveness and advancement potential of program participants who seek professional advancement and promotion within these public safety agencies.
  4. Critical Understanding of Modern Criminology and Criminal Justice Issues
    From street gangs to white-collar crime, transnational drug trafficking organizations to recidivism, law enforcement ethics to crime mapping technology, this program will delve into some of America’s most challenging crime problems and the issues facing criminal justice institutions. Drawing from real-world case studies, students will actively integrate evidence and criminological theory and then apply the skills developed throughout this program to some of the nation’s most pressing crime problems.

MS-LEPSL Degree Program Structure

The program of study includes the eleven-course prescribed curriculum – ten 3-unit courses and a 1-unit integrative capstone course. Courses will be offered year-round with three semesters every year; spring, summer, and fall. Each semester is 14 weeks in length. You will take two courses per semester. Courses will run for seven weeks each with a one or two week break in between semesters. You will enroll in the capstone course during your final semester, and it will run as a third course for the entire 14-weeks along with the other two courses. You can expect to graduate in five semesters after successfully completing all eleven courses.

Each 3-unit course will include 37.5 hours of core instructional time. Additional homework, research, and study time is required. You can expect to spend 15-18 hours per week in each course in order to be successful.

First Year
Semester IHours
LEPS 500Critical Issues in Law Enforcement and Public Safety3
LEPS 510Communication for Law Enforcement Leaders3
Semester II
LEPS 520Community Engagement3
LEPS 530Public Safety Law3
Semester III (Summer)
LEPS 540Organizational Leadership3
LEPS 550Community Assessment: Crime and Criminal Justice3
Second Year
Semester I
LEPS 560Organizational Theory and Change3
LEPS 570Community Assessment: Organizations3
Semester II
LEPS 580Conflict Resolution and Decision Making3
LEPS 590Budget & Finance for Law Enforcement Leaders3
LEPS 599Integrative Capstone1



Units: 3

This course is a critical evaluation of the crime issues faced by law enforcement in the contemporary United States. From street gangs to white-­‐collar crime, transnational drug trafficking organizations to domestic violence, this course will delve into the some of America’s most pressing crime problems with an emphasis on effective public policy.


Units: 3

This course introduces and develops a series of communication skills essential for the modern law enforcement and public safety environment. Substantive foci include: interpersonal communication theories and techniques, written communication skills including electronic communication, report and grant writing, and communication for large audiences with an emphasis on leadership, management and the media. Of paramount importance will be nurturing professional, efficient and effective communication skills.


Units: 3

This course presents a broad introduction to governmental structures in American society. All forms of law enforcement are embedded in government and political organizations at the local, regional, state and federal levels. The functions and structure of these legal bodies will be presented, along with a discussion of fundamental governing principles including: separation of powers, checks and balances and the lawmaking process.


Units: 3

This course introduces and analyzes a series of laws and legal issues central to leadership in law enforcement and public safety. Half of the course looks outward, focusing on the legacy of Constitutional law that shapes law enforcement policy. Half the course looks inward, focusing on legal issues that guide and regulate public safety organizations.


Units: 3

Leadership is defined and evaluated in many ways. The concept is so complex, variable, and ambiguous that many well intentioned people often speak past each other when attempting to discuss it. Through this course students will examine leadership through various theoretical lenses and frameworks. Each approach highlights attitudes and dispositions that have varying degrees of utility depending on the context of a given situation. By looking at various approaches to leadership students will develop a more sophisticated understanding of the phenomenon and thereby increase their own abilities to influence others for the common good.


Units: 3

A depth‐oriented understanding of crime data, crime trends and the crime problem is essential for law enforcement leaders. This course analyzes the four major sources of crime data in the United States, along with their respective strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, fundamental analytical procedures will be introduced to evaluate crime trends – comparatively, geographically, and over time. The course will utilize real-­‐world case studies and real-­‐world crime data, to best understand the reality of crime in modern America.


Units: 3

This course provides a multiple perspectives approach to theories of organizations and change. Leadership requires individuals to discern and balance competing demands and tensions inherent in organizations. This course uses Gareth Morgan’s metaphors as lenses to think about different aspects of organizational life. Students will apply various theories to case studies in order to develop insights for organizational change.


Units: 3

Effective, accurate and ethical assessment of issues in society and within organizations is essential for law enforcement leaders to develop and implement policy. This course introduces the various methods to conduct scientific research in society and to evaluate organizations, with an emphasis on action-­‐oriented research. The respective advantages and disadvantages of each methodology will be discussed, along with the ethical considerations embedded in the research process.


Units: 3

Leadership and management in law enforcement requires effective conflict resolution and decision making skills. This course will introduce cornerstone theoretical perspectives on conflict resolution and decision-­‐making. Moreover, skills and approaches essential to effective dispute resolution will be introduced, developed and applied to conflicts between individuals, in small groups, and within organizations. The transcendent theme of the course is ethics; navigating contentious issues, developing and executing effective, positive resolutions requires implementing procedures that emphasize ethics, personal and professional integrity throughout the process.


Units: 3

Leadership and management in a law enforcement environment require an applicable understanding of fundamental budget, finance and resource allocation procedures. This course will introduce and nurture these skills, along with an emphasis on contracts, negotiation and collective bargaining.


Units: 1

The capstone course is the final course in the online MS‐LEPSL program sequence. The course allows students to demonstrate achieved learning outcomes by producing an e-portfolio of hallmark projects, term papers, presentations and skill-­‐based exercises in a culminating course. The e-portfolio system will require students to identify and critically reflect on the major themes and learning outcomes of the entire program via a series of exemplary work from individual courses. The e-portfolio will be an asset for career advancement, while simultaneously serving as a tangible microcosm of the rigorous, interdisciplinary MS‐LEPSL program as a whole.