Preparing police executives for
the challenges of today and tomorrow

PERF will host four SMIP sessions in June and July of 2023 at Boston University. Please check back in early September for session dates and tuition details. The 2023 SMIP application period will open on Saturday, October 1, 2022. The link to apply will be posted on this webpage.

If you applied for the 2022 waitlist, please reapply for the 2023 sessions. We do not automatically roll over waitlist applications to 2023 sessions."

If you have any questions, you may contact Matt Harman at [email protected] or 202-454-8302.



The policing profession is changing as never before. Today’s police executives face challenges that did not exist a decade ago, or even a year ago. The COVID-19 pandemic, stubbornly high violent crime rates, communities’ concerns about police use of force and calls for reform measures, the worsening opioid crisis, increasing homelessness, constantly evolving domestic terror threats, and the implications of cybercrimes stemming from new technologies – all of these represent new and difficult challenges for police leaders.

Communities expect more from their police departments in terms of de-escalation strategies and critical thinking, appropriate use of force, procedural justice, accountability, and transparency. Police executives seeking to employ new technologies such as facial recognition and drones are often faced with public scrutiny over privacy and other concerns. Issues related to officer wellness, mental health and police suicides are also taking on new prominence. Today’s recruits differ in significant ways from previous generations in how they view their careers and what they want to achieve, and recruitment is becoming more difficult. Chiefs and Sheriffs must find new ways to address these issues and deliver a wider scope of services, often with fewer resources. The very nature of leadership in policing is changing.

Our goal with SMIP is to ensure that the instruction reflects the best thinking about the changes that are taking place in the field. The SMIP curriculum is continually updated, and the SMIP faculty has the experience and wisdom to prepare attendees to address the current and future challenges in policing. The SMIP program is always informed by recommendations of previous SMIP attendees as well as the leading practitioners and academics who participate in PERF’s conferences.

 Program Overview

SMIP is a program of the Police Executive Research Forum that provides senior police executives with intensive training in the latest management concepts and practices used in business and government. It also features discussions of the most challenging issues facing law enforcement executives today.

A demanding three-week course, SMIP brings together a faculty from top universities, successful law enforcement chief executives, and subject matter experts from the private sector. It is designed for mid- to upper-level police executives who ultimately will lead police agencies throughout the United States and other participating countries. SMIP’s curriculum addresses the issues that demand the attention of today’s forward-thinking law enforcement leaders. Classes normally are held at the Boston University School of Law, where participants learn and reside in the university’s modern classrooms and residence hall, and PERF hopes and expects that Boston University will be able to host SMIP in 2022.


The SMIP Value Proposition

SMIP brings together leading thinkers in corporate and public management to provide intensive training in the latest management theories and practice, innovative solutions to organizational problems, and discussion of important issues in managing public service organizations effectively. The program’s goal is to give police managers the same quality of management education available to other leaders in the public and private sectors.

As a developmental program for the profession’s current and future leaders, SMIP focuses on leadership and executive development. The curriculum is much more conceptual than technical and requires participants to think in broad terms about their agencies’ environment and operations. Readings and class discussions stimulate critical thinking and problem-solving.

Participants emerge with an understanding of advanced management practices and effective leadership. They also develop an enhanced awareness of the management methods and resources necessary for fulfilling current or future responsibilities. By sharing individual management experiences and exchanging ideas during group discussions, participants gain confidence in their managerial abilities and develop sources of consultation, advice and support that will endure well beyond the course.

Upon graduation, attendees are offered free PERF membership for the remainder of the calendar year, and a registration fee waiver for PERF’s next Annual Meeting. The extensive resources of PERF and SMIP are available to participants after the course. This commitment has helped make SMIP a national center for the education and training of the future leaders of policing.


What the Course Is All About

SMIP gives participants a clear understanding of general management theory, policy development, planning processes, and organizational behavior. Among the topics covered are diversity, political management, organizational strategy, performance management, organizational change, leadership, managerial problem-solving, strategy implementation, leadership communications, career planning, negotiation, the budgeting process, critical incident response, media relations, officer wellness, and new policing strategies and innovations.

The program requires extensive reading with classroom discussion of the issues presented in the readings. Participants are encouraged to apply the concepts and issues presented within their own organizations. Because of the program's intensity and daily group study, all participants are required to reside on campus for the program's duration, except weekends.

Because many participants have already completed post-graduate studies, SMIP does not offer college credit. However, former participants have been awarded graduate credit by colleges they attended upon presentation of the SMIP objectives and course curriculum.


Individual Commitment

SMIP is a very demanding, fast-paced, reading-intensive program that requires considerable commitment and hard work in class and after class through independent and group study assignments. Each day, participants will be called upon in class to offer their perspectives on the issues presented in the assigned cases and readings. A lack of preparedness will result not only in diminished success of the individual, but it can also impact the progress of the entire class. Keeping up with assignments and teamwork is essential.


Qualifications for Individual Attendance

Enrollment is limited. To qualify for SMIP, you must be the chief executive or a senior manager in your agency (lieutenant or above, or professional civilian staff equivalent) with significant responsibility for major agency activities. A four-year college degree—or the accumulation of 120 credit hours—from an accredited college or university is required.


The Online Application Process

Beginning October 1, SMIP applications will be accepted on the PERF website. SMIP tuition for 2022 is $9,950. Tuition covers instruction, materials, planned events, lodging and meals throughout the program. A $250 credit card deposit is required to submit an online application. In the event an applicant is not accepted, the deposit will be promptly credited back to the card upon which the charge was made. Otherwise, deposits are non-refundable. If accepted, the balance of tuition is due and must be paid by check within 45 days of acceptance notification.   


For More Information

Questions should be directed to Senior Research Associate Matt Harman at 202-454-8302 (direct), 301-785-4019 (cell/text), or [email protected] or Senior Principal Dan Alioto at 202-454-8337 (direct) or [email protected]


The Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) are not affiliated with Boston University. Although SMIP is scheduled to occur on the campus of Boston University, the use of University facilities and/or property does not constitute or imply the endorsement or support of SMIP or PERF by Boston University.