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National Executive Institute

National Executive Institute

In August 1975, FBI Director Clarence Kelley tasked the Management Science Unit of the FBI Academy to develop a proposal for a law enforcement executive training program. The resultant proposal was presented to the Major Cities Chiefs (MCC) at their meeting in Denver, Colorado during the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference the following month. The MCC overwhelmingly endorsed the proposal, requesting that they be allowed to further analyze and comment upon its scope and format. Kelley assented to their request.

National Executive Institute Students Walking in a Hallway

Topical areas selected for the program included: national and international political, economic, and social trends affecting the policing function; ethics and integrity; the effects of affirmative action on hiring and promotional policies; media relations; labor relations; the future structure of police organizations; financing of police operations; training and legal issues; labor relations; and the impact of criminal activity on policing.

In addition to commissioners, chiefs, and sheriffs from many major jurisdictions, two assistant directors of the FBI—Robert E. Gebhardt of the Los Angeles Field Division and J. Wallace LaPrade of the New York Field Division—were extended invitations. FBI Training Division staff assigned to the program to facilitate and develop it also attended all cycles, and so the precedent was established with Session One of the National Executive Institute (NEI) to include Academy staff graduates as well as regular graduates who were selected and invited by virtue of their position and responsibilities as the senior executives of major law enforcement organizations.

Subsequent sessions of the NEI would see it expanded to include international colleagues, sheriffs from the largest general law enforcement service sheriffs’ departments, heads of state police organizations, chiefs of other law enforcement agencies, and our other federal and military partners. As of July 2013, there have been 36 NEI Sessions held by the FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia. More than 1,200 law enforcement executives have graduated from the program, including approximately 200 FBI personnel.

During most of its 36 years, each session of the NEI has been three one-week cycles, usually held in March, July, and September. In 2013, due to the sequestration, it was successfully modified to two one-week cycles.

Nominations for new participants are solicited annually by the Training Division through our local FBI offices and legal attaché offices (legats). Domestically, these usually include the chief executive officers of full-service law enforcement agencies which are the primary providers of law enforcement services to a population of 250,000 or greater and have a complement of at least 500 sworn law enforcement officers—agencies that are among the 150 largest law enforcement agencies in the United States. U.S. participants from non-MCC agencies are considered as space permits. Nominees from Legats are chosen law enforcement executives who meet the NEI selection criteria and who will contribute to NEI concerning their country’s contemporary law enforcement challenges. FBI field division heads are nominated and approved by FBI Headquarters to increase and enhance liaison with their local law enforcement partners. Our federal partner nominees are recommended directly by the respective federal agency.

The selected FBI executives, International, and federal/state/city/county nominees are reviewed and forwarded to the Director’s Office for final approval. Generally, the final selection announcement and participants are notified by their nominating FBI office between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The NEI has been variously described as the “Director’s own program” and as the crown jewel of the FBI’s executive training initiatives. It has led to the design and implementation of the Bureau’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar (LEEDS) program and the Leadership in Counterterrorism Program, or LinCT.