Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Allen recently returned from a prestigious leadership training at the National Sheriff’s Institute (NSI) in Aurora, Colorado. The training, held Sept. 18-22 is the only national executive development program designed for sheriffs.
Sheriff Allen will complete his first term in 2018 and said he fully plans to run for election next November. He was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to take part in the NSI training opportunity this month because a sheriff is eligible to attend only during the first term in office.
The no-cost program is co-sponsored by the National Institute of Corrections and the National Sheriffs’ Association. The training opportunity comes twice a year to just 30 sheriffs at a time for each NSI leadership training session. The small class size made for an opportunity to receive very individualized instruction and discuss challenges with other sheriffs.
“It was tough to get in,” Allen commented. The sheriff met the NSI director at the National Sheriff’s Conference earlier this year and told him he would really like to have the opportunity to go.
“I knew a couple of other sheriffs who had gone. They told me how valuable it had been for them,” Allen said.
The preliminary notification of acceptance for the NSI comes with a requirement to complete some pre-conference assignments. Allen was asked to write essays about his challenges and strengths. He was also required to complete a personality test that would fit into the specific training he received on leadership styles and building a leadership team.
Allen said he estimated that about 90 percent of the sheriffs who attended this year’s NSI were from smaller rural sheriffs’ offices, much like Humboldt County’s. That made networking and comparing challenges particularly relevant.
“The National Sheriff’s Institute told us of their resources,” said Allen. “They have a library of education materials available to us and there is a separate training program for detention personnel. They can receive leadership training and specific education in inmate behavior.
“When we promote a new sergeant in the detention facility, we hope to send that individual to this training,” said Allen.
The NSI can also do independent assessments of the jail and Allen said he hopes to have them come and perform an assessment of the Humboldt County Detention Facility.
“They will come in, free of charge and tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are,” Allen said. “They are national experts who do these assessments on county, state and federal facilities.”