Leadership Education
Institute for Leadership in Changing Times-ILCT
Professional Executive Leadership School-PELS
 Law Enforcement Training
New Chiefs/Deputy Chiefs Training School
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PELS Alumni Section
Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP)
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Altria Group, Inc.



The Professional Executive Leadership School (PELS) program is an intensive three-week leadership education program conducted in cooperation with the University of Richmond. This program is designed for individuals who currently serve in command/executive level positions within their agencies.  The objective of this program is to acquaint participants with best practices in leadership, challenge them to reflect upon their own leadership competency, and examine ways of achieving both personal and professional growth.

The University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies administers the PELS program. The classes are held at the University of Richmond’s main campus in Richmond, Virginia, and classes are taught by faculty members from all five schools within the University of Richmond and Executive Education.

The curriculum is liberal-arts/humanities based and focused on the study of leadership at an advanced level.  Curriculum topics may include Critical Thinking, Delegation & Leadership, Developing Your Leadership Skills, Ethical Decision Making, Foundations of Leadership, Going Back & Making A Difference, History & Leadership, Influential Leadership, Law & Leadership, Leadership in Crisis, , Leading Multiple Generations, Leading with EQ, Literature, Managing Conflict, Media Relations, Motivational Leadership, Negotiations, Politics and Leadership, Psychology & Leadership, Public Policy & Leadership, Relationship Centered Leadership, Setting Goals for Your Team, Strategic Leadership, Understanding Diversity, Urban Crisis in America, and World Religions.  Classes offered change from time to time to ensure that topics covered are recent and relevant. In addition to classroom discussions, this program provides participants with the opportunity to network with executive staff members from other organizations.

PELS is geared for executive-level officers and managers. The program is open to applicants from both the public and private sectors.  In-state and out-of-state applicants are welcome to apply.  Prospective applicants must meet the prerequisites and complete the application process. 

-PELS Application-

Application deadline for 37th Session is July 1, 2015

Program Information

The PELS program is conducted on the campus of the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia, for one week per month for a three-month period. Attendees are required to attend all three weeks of the program. Classes are held from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, except on Fridays when classes will adjourn at 12:00 noon. Individuals accepted to the program must be prepared to commit to this schedule.  Because class sizes are limited, early submission of application packets is recommended.  Upcoming program dates and application deadlines are:

Session 37: September 14-18; October 12-16; and November 16-19, 2015 (Deadline is July 1, 2015)

Session 38: January 11-15; February 15-19; and March 14-17, 2016 (Deadline is November 1, 2015)

Session 39: September 12-16; October 10-14; and November 14-17, 2016 (Deadline is July 1, 2016)



Prospective applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Applicants must currently be in an executive or upper management position. LEO's must be a lieutenant or above (or the equivalent for smaller agencies). 
  2. Possess an associates degree or equivalent.
  3. Possess prior training, education and life experiences consistent with the requirements and expectations of this program.
  4. A personal commitment to expand your leadership abilities and use these skills to benefit your organization.
  5. Mid-level managers and sergeants are welcome to apply if they meet the following criteria in addition to the criteria listed above:
    1. Occupy a position responsible for making or impacting policy within your organization;
    2. Have attended an intermediate level leadership program; and
    3. 10 years experience in current occupation.
  6. Out-of-state applicants are welcome. 

A program of this type requires a total commitment on the part of the attendee and their organization. Full-time attendance is mandatory for all classes and program activities. For these reasons, the chief executive of the organization is required to nominate the candidate and endorse their application.



Prospective applicants must submit the following:

  1. A completed application form endorsed by the chief executive of their organization;
  2. A current resume of the applicant (include work history, experience, education, and relevant training history);
  3. Agency organizational chart with the current position of the applicant clearly indicated; and
  4. A letter of interest to the PELS Selection Committee indicating why the applicant wants to attend PELS, and the applicants goals and expectations of the program.

Please note, great care should be given to completion of the application packet, as acceptance to this program is limited to 23 individuals per session. Completed application packets can be submitted electronically to stephanie@vapolicefoundation.org or by mailing it to the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation, 1606 Santa Rosa Rd., Ste. 134, Henrico, Virginia 23229. Faxed applications will not be accepted.


Selection Process

A selection process is utilized for the PELS program. To facilitate this process, applications received are provided to the PELS Selection Committee for their review.  Each applicant is contacted by a member of the Selection Committee for a brief interview.  The purpose of the interview is to ensure the applicant has taken the time to familiarize themselves with the PELS program, is committed to expanding their leadership abilities to the benefit of their organization, and is committed to attending and fully participating in each phase of the program.  After the selection committee discusses each application and makes their selections, applicants will be notified of their status.  Applicants are evaluated based upon the following criteria:

  1. Proper completion of the application and submission of all required documents;
  2. Applicant meeting the pre-requisites of the program;
  3. Thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and professionalism demonstrated in letter of interest to the PELS Selection Committee; and
  4. Responses to interview questions. 


Certification and Credit

The Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation and the University of Richmond jointly award a certificate of completion to those individuals who successfully complete all phases of the program. In addition, this program has been approved by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for Partial In-service Credit.  In-service credits awarded include Legal, Cultural Diversity, and Career Development/Elective.  Partial In-service Credit (PIC) forms and certificates of completion will be distributed at the close of the program during the graduation ceremony.


Program Fee

The program fee is $3,300 and includes tuition, textbooks, course materials, lunch, and lodging.  Lodging is single occupancy and arrangements are made by the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation. If special accommodations are needed, please send an email to stephanie@vapolicefoundation.org

The program fee without lodging is $2,400.



Lodging is single occupancy and arrangements are made by the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation at the Homewood Suites by Hilton-Richmond-West End/Innsbrook in Glen Allen, Virginia. Full buffet breakfast and light dinner are included with lodging. If special accommodations are needed, please notify Stephanie Diaz upon receipt of program acceptance.


Scholarship Information

The graduates of the 24th Session of the Professional Executive Leadership School have created the Lex T. Eckenrode Scholarship for PELS. This is a partial scholarship for PELS and is available to sworn law enforcement officers employed in the Commonwealth of Virginia who qualify for and are accepted into the Professional Executive Leadership School. The amount of the scholarship will be determined by the Scholarship Committee. For more information on this scholarship, please click here.

When funding is available, the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation will accept requests for needs-based scholarships from applicable law-enforcement agencies. For more information on needs-based scholarships, click here.



For more information or any questions concerning this program, please contact the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation office at (804) 285-8227 or email stephanie@vapolicefoundation.org

The Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs or activities, including education policies, admissions policies, scholarships, and other programs. The following position has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the Foundation's non-discrimination policies:

Chairman of the Board

Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation

1606 Santa Rosa Rd., Ste. 134

Henrico, Virginia 23229

(804) 285-8227

For further information on federal non-discrimination regulations, contact the Office for Civil Rights at ocr.de@ed.gov or call (800) 421-3481.

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