Law Enforcement Leadership Academy Command School Graduation Remarks: Laura Howard

Remarks by Laura Howard, PMC Director at the University of Kansas

Laura Howard

Laura Howard, PMC Director University of Kansas

Good afternoon. I am Laura Howard, the Director of the Public Management Center in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Kansas. It is a privilege as the public management center to manage the Kansas law enforcement leadership academy and to honor today the second graduating class of the command school.


This is not an endeavor that we at the Public Management Center do alone. We have been graced with committed partners, all focused on a collective vision of accessible, affordable law enforcement leadership training here in Kansas.


Our fine partners deserve thanks and gratitude for this commitment, Ed Peavey and his team here at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center; our fine committed practitioner/principal instructors who are here today that ensure that law enforcement professionals are a part of instructing and leading discussions with our command school participants; and our program manager, Jonathan Morris and the instructors from the PMC.


I’d also like to thank the law enforcement departments who supported today’s command school graduates. To the families of our graduates, thank you for supporting your family member, even though it meant even more days and nights away from home, family, children’s events and community activities.


Let me turn my attention to the graduates of the command school —


I’d like to share some words with you that were first spoken many years ago, but still have relevance today.   These words were spoken by President John F. Kennedy, on October 31, 1962, at the seventh session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy.  Let me read a few excerpts from President Kennedy’s speech, which seem as relevant today as when the speech was first delivered.

Ladies and gentleman, I am anxious to come here this afternoon for several reasons. First, because of the extraordinary character of men [and women] who have rallied to the standard of premiere law enforcement organizations over the years and have served the public good.

I don’t think that our citizens are as aware as they should be….of the thousands of dedicated men and women who serve our country, who serve the public interest….who day in and day out maintain the strength of our society, and who provide us the security we need to follow our private lives.

This is so true of those of you who serve in police work, whether it is in a state, a county, a city, or community. Most of the time your work is unheralded; you are frequently subject to criticism.  When there is a failure, real or perceived, your failures are broadcast. 

What I want to emphasize today is the great obligation which all of our people owe to you and those like you who serve the great interest of our people in maintaining our society and permitting it to function. Your work protects the family.  Your work protects private property.  Your work permits us to go on with our social life and family life and to meet the responsibilities of a great nation. 

I want to say as President of the United States, how glad I am that you are at this Academy. This is extremely difficult and sophisticated work.  It involves the most detailed and complex modern communications.  It requires sophistication in understanding great amounts of information. It requires a great knowledge of human behavior.  It requires sophisticated law enforcement.  It requires a great knowledge and feeling for civil liberties, the rights of those who are accused as well as the rights of the innocents. 

All of this means that this academy fulfills a great public need. I want to express our thanks to all of you, who direct and lead our police work, as well as those you lead and direct, the men and women you serve with who make this country function, who make it what it is, who frequently travel with hazard and dangers to make it possible for us to carry out our lives. 

Our obligation to you is unlimited. Thank you for your service and commitment to professional, excellent law enforcement.