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National Sheriffs’ Institute

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The National Sheriffs’ Institute (NSI) is sponsored by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) in collaboration with the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the National Association of Counties (NACo). The NSI is the only executive leadership program designed specifically for first-term sheriffs. During the NSI, you will have an opportunity to consider the current state of your office and the changes or improvements you would like to see by the end of your first term.

Purpose of the NSI

The Office of Sheriff is distinguished from other law enforcement agencies by having direct accountability to the citizens they serve. The Office of Sheriff is multifaceted and can include a combination of responsibilities and lines of service to include patrol services, court security, civil process, jail operations, prisoner transportation, and/or criminal investigation. Now, more than ever, sheriffs are called upon to navigate community conversations about justice, equity and accountability, to allocate resources in strategic ways, to engage and convene diverse community stakeholder groups, and provide healthcare and treatment while ensuring public safety remains paramount. The NSI is intended to prepare first-term sheriffs for a variety of matters that impact the Office of Sheriff.

History of the NSI

The NSI was first developed and presented in the early 1970's in response to a need by sheriffs to meet the evolving demands of the office. The program was enabled by a grant from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration and originally conducted through a partnership between the National Sheriffs’ Association and the University of Southern California's School of Public Administration. The NSI has gone through many iterations throughout its history. Since 1993, the NSI has been housed in the NIC Jails Division. Enhancements and revisions through the years created a more concise, streamlined curriculum.

The NSI in 2022

In 2022, there will be two different NSI courses of study outlined below:

  • National Sheriffs’ Institute - Leadership Development

    Course Description: Many new sheriffs entering the Office of Sheriff have limited experience acting as a chief executive officer, operating a local correctional facility, or providing leadership across the various domains. To successfully fulfill these duties, elected sheriffs require knowledge and training of leadership principles to maximize their service to the community. The curriculum is being redesigned to include many popular topics from previous sessions, updated for the current operational environment. The NSI course is intended to prepare first-term sheriffs for success and to strengthen the leaderships skills of elected sheriffs. There are no prerequisites for attending NSI.

    Among the topics to be covered in this course:

    • Developing your Executive Team
    • Building and Maintaining Professional Ethics throughout the Organization
    • Building Trust and Engaging with your Community
    • Leading Your Agency through a Crisis
    • Leading Individuals and Teams through Conflict
    • Interpersonal and Organizational Communication
    • Decision-making: Rationale and Bias
    • Models for Leading Through Change
    • Developing External Partnerships
  • National Sheriffs’ Institute - Jail Administration

    Course Description: The National Sheriffs’ Institute-JA course is a newly developed curriculum designed to enhance the knowledge of sheriffs regarding their responsibilities in leading the operations of a correctional facility. The course is approximately five days in length.

    Among the topics to be covered in this course:

    • The Sheriff as Leader in the Jail
    • The Sheriff’s Role – The Community Map
    • Legal Implications of Operating a Jail
    • Leadership for the Jail
    • Critical Aspects of Jail Operations
    • Assessing Your Jail Operation
    • Jail Improvement Planning

Criteria for Attendee Selection

To promote transparency in the selection process, various criteria will be utilized in selecting attendees for each NSI training program, including:

First-Term Sheriffs: The sheriff must be in the first term to be eligible for consideration for NSI-LD with some exceptions:

  • If a sheriff has been elected or appointed to complete a previous sheriff’s term, then that sheriff may also apply in their first fully elected term of office.
  • For those sheriffs whose term are less than 4 years in length, they may apply during their second term in office.

If the applicant is in the last year of their first term, the applicant may receive priority consideration.

Demographic and Geographic Diversity: The goal of the NSI is to have attendees reflect the diversity of our country, including sheriffs of all races, national origins, sex, gender identities, sexual orientations, and/or with disabilities. It is also our goal to ensure that we have attendees from communities of all sizes, including rural, suburban, and urban sheriff’s offices. As such, we encourage applications from all interested sheriffs.

How to Indicate Interest in Registering

  Fill out this interest form to indicate your interest in participating in an upcoming NSI or NSI-JA course.

You will be notified when registration for the classes has opened. Registrations will be accepted on a rolling basis for future NSI sessions.

What have previous attendees said about attending NSI?

“NSI was one of the best trainings I have ever attended. I attended in my third year and highly recommend that a new Sheriff should attend within his/her first two years.

- Previous NSI participant

“The best part of attending this class was the informal conversations with Sheriffs from across the nation with different perspectives from large agencies, as well as those in smaller suburban and rural communities.”

- Previous NSI participant

“It was an honor for me to have the opportunity to attend NSI in September 2017 and it was eye-opening as a self-evaluation tool and the networking was great. The discussions on civil liability and jails, media and civil service was outstanding. Thank you again for the opportunity!”

- Previous NSI participant