Police Executive Law and Policy

Police Executive Law and Policy Online Graduate Certificate

About the Police Executive Law and Policy Certificate

Build a foundation for leadership with the Police Executive Law and Policy certificate from PennWest California.

This graduate-level certificate program allows law enforcement professionals to explore the complex legal, policy and human resources issues involved in leading a police organization.

The 15-credit police leadership program prepares current and future police executives to manage risk, take steps to avoid civil litigation and effectively design organizational policy in a police agency.

PennWest California’s law enforcement leadership training is delivered entirely online, a convenient option for police chiefs and other law enforcement professionals who are balancing career and personal responsibilities.

Students may begin their studies in spring or fall and complete the five courses required for the certificate within one year.

Program Highlights: Police Executive Certificate

Career builder: The Police Executive Law and Policy Certificate is designed specifically for law enforcement professionals who anticipate a career culminating in an upper-level executive leadership role. Executive development training courses provide insight into legal, policy and management issues – knowledge that leaders of police agencies need to make informed and effective decisions.

Post-baccalaureate certificate: Students seeking admission to the graduate-level police leadership program must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

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The police executive certificate program is delivered entirely online, making it a flexible option for working professionals.
Credits required to complete the graduate certificate in Police Executive Law and Policy.


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Certificate Benefits

PennWest California’s law enforcement leadership training enables current and future police executives to gain a deeper understanding of legal issues pertaining to police processes, criminal conduct, administrative agencies, and business/workplace concerns. Students also explore management issues within a criminal justice organization. The 15-credit certificate program includes courses from PennWest California’s M.S. in Legal Studies concentrations in criminal justice and law and public policy.

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Program Outcomes

Police executive candidates with a bachelor’s degree and advanced education or executive development training may have a competitive advantage in a career field that the Bureau of Labor Statistics says has “relatively low rates of turnover.” Graduates expand their professional networks through interaction with classmates and faculty who are experienced law enforcement professionals.


Curriculum and Related Programs

This graduate-level certificate program prepares law enforcement professionals to lead a police agency.



Course Credits
LAW 605  Law and Police Process 3
LAW 607  Law and Criminal Conduct 3
LAW 701  Law and Administrative Agencies 3
LAW 704  Law, Business and the Workplace 3
PCJ 748  Criminal Justice Organization and Management 3
Total 15

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Admissions Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • Regionally Accredited Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Official transcripts from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Regionally accredited bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.9 and below will be reviewed for a decision once the following documentation has been received:
      • Resume with contact information for three professional references with an overview of professional work experience
      • 500-word essay supporting the application
        • If admitted, students will be required to earn a 3.0 in their first term to remain in the program

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

How to Apply:

  • Complete the Graduate School Application
  • Submit the nonrefundable $35 Application Fee
  • Submit required documentation by mail or email:
    • Mail:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

For additional information:
Email: calugo@pennwest.edu
Phone: 1.866.595.6348

Related Programs

M.S. in Legal Studies
PennWest California offers a Master of Science in Legal Studies with three concentrations:


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High Expectations

Police agencies today face a wide variety of challenges, and public scrutiny has never been more intense. Communities set high expectations for police, especially those in senior leadership roles. This certificate program encourages law enforcement professionals to build the knowledge and skills required for effective leadership at the executive level.

A police executive at an office.

Faculty Support

Each student accepted into this certificate program is assigned to a dedicated faculty member who provides academic and professional advisement. All faculty are former or current practitioners. They work closely with students to discuss and monitor their progress and offer expert advice on coursework and careers.


Police Executive Law and Policy Faculty

Kevin Govern, J.D., LL.M.


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Brian Kohlhepp, M.A.
Assistant Professor


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William Morgan, J.D.
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David Smith, M.S., M.A., J.D.


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Dr. Christina A. Toras, J.D., M.A.
Professor, Legal Studies Program Coordinator, Director of the Institute for Law and Public Policy


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Michael Vennum, J.D.


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