Southern Police Institute

The Southern Police Institute is a division of the Department of Criminal Justice, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Louisville. It is an advanced education and training institute whose mission is to enhance the professional development of law enforcement practitioners. We accomplish this mission by providing educational and career development programs that are designed to challenge and to prepare law enforcement practitioners for the demands of today and tomorrow. The Southern Police Institute consistently is ranked among the top law enforcement educational and training schools in the nation.

Since the creation of the Southern Police Institute in 1951, its program of instruction has been grounded in the belief that law enforcement is a demanding activity requiring the highest level of professional preparation. The Southern Police Institute was established by its founders to provide a place where that preparation can be undertaken. The present faculty and staff dedicate themselves to this mission and continue to maintain the standards of excellence established by our founders. They are uniquely qualified as researchers, consultants, teachers and former law enforcement practitioners to guide and to direct the educational needs of today's law enforcement professionals.

In these times of turmoil and unrest, we are reminded of how the Southern Police Institute (SPI) was founded. The idea came from Swedish economist and sociologist, Gunnar Myrdal. In 1944, in the midst of deep racial disparity and suffering, he proposed that "one of the most potent strategic measures to improve the southern interracial situation would be the opening of a pioneering modern police college in the South which would give a thorough social and pedagogical training as well as a technical police training" to law enforcement officers. SPI was established on this concept in 1951.

For nearly 70 years, countless law enforcement leaders from all over the globe have attended our esteemed institute on the campus of the University of Louisville and have carried the torch of progressive police practice and community engagement throughout our great nation.

As we find our way through this difficult time, the Southern Police Institute would like to show solidarity with all our citizens, particularly people of color and anyone who have been disenfranchised or have suffered from police misconduct and an imperfect system of justice. We want to recognize the tremendous sadness we feel for the murder of George Floyd at the hands of those that should have protected his right to life. Those of us at the Institute, who have worn a badge know the shame and dishonor we feel when one of our brethren violates our sacred oath.

In showing solidarity and finding a way together through our shared crisis, we stand behind our law enforcement citizens as well, with the knowledge that they have to continue their already difficult job and bear the burden of those that would tarnish the noble duty they are sworn to uphold. We know you will still be there for your communities, as you always have, even though the badge may feel a bit heavier these days.

The Southern Police Institute is dedicated to challenging our norms and meeting the current challenge with the same vigor that brought our historic institute into a reality in 1951. We face different times, but some of the same issues and the same energy must be applied. Through the building of bridges, exploration of progressive policing practices and dynamic, and rigorous education for today's police leaders, SPI will continue to lead and help create a new future for American Policing.

SPI pledges its support to do its part to bridge the divide between our communities and law enforcement through social and pedagogical training, upon which it was founded.
To all our graduates and other police officers working to protect all citizens, please stay safe. To the communities these officers serve, please stay safe as you express your concerns. Hopefully, we can make lasting positive change through working together.