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Granite Shoals police captain takes leadership training to the streets

Granite Shoals Police Capt. Chris Decker graduates from Leadership Command College

Granite Shoals Police Capt. Chris Decker recently graduated from the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas’ Leadership Command College. Courtesy photo

Granite Shoals Police Capt. Chris Decker is taking what he learned during a recent leadership program and using it to enhance policing and community relationships in his city.

“We look at our communities and ask how are we serving. Are we using the best practices? We’re asking the community, ‘What would you like for us to do better?’” Decker said. “We want to be open and transparent. We need to be able to be consistent. We’re building that trust and legitimacy of our department and our staff and how we build those relationships with our community. It’s not just lip service; we want to make sure guys are doing that on the streets.” 

On June 26, Decker graduated from Leadership Command College conducted by the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas.

The nine-week program was broken down into a series of three-week modules that started in June 2020. During the program, Decker and his classmates took modules at Texas A&M University, Texas Women’s University, and Sam Houston State University. 

“Leadership Command College is very similar to the FBI National Academy,” Decker said. “We’re all learning from each other and growing. Texas is light years ahead in terms of how they view training. We have executive-level training.”

Module topics included communication, personnel management, leadership, professional ethics, and integrity. National and international law enforcement experts taught the classes. Decker said he was reminded of the importance of physical fitness and participated in personality tests, too.

“I learned about myself. There’s a lot of focus on leadership and understanding yourself,” he said. “You learn your true weaknesses; you learn your true strengths. You can’t go forward until you know who you are. Everything starts on the inside and works on the outside.” 

The program also puts an emphasis on departmental culture and values and the importance of fostering professional growth among staff.

Part of the curriculum for the final module required Decker to submit and defend a research paper. He wrote about “Red Dot Sights for All Officers,” something the Houston Police Department began implementing a couple of years ago. Red dot technology can be put on pistols to enhance an officer’s ability to use their firearm. 

The leadership program is funded by a $1 fee attached to every citation written by law enforcement officers in Texas.

Granite Shoals Police Chief Gary Boshears, a previous graduate of the program, recommended Decker for the course. 

Decker joins Boshears, Marble Falls Police Department members Trisha Ratliff and Glen Hanson, and Horseshoe Bay Police Department officer Paul Nelson as graduates of Leadership Command College.

Granite Shoals Police Sgt. John Ortis has been selected for the leadership command training and is awaiting his start date.