National Sheriffs' Institute (NSI)

In-person classes for 2020 have been canceled.

2020 Sessions:

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, it was decided that all in person classes would be canceled for this federal fiscal year. Classes for next year are uncertain at this point as well. The National Institute of Corrections will notify everyone who has registered for the class as to when it will be held and move registration applications to that new class time. At that time you can either leave your registration active or, if the new dates will not work with your schedule, you can withdraw from consideration.  

NSI Program Overview (doc)

NSI Agenda (doc)

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115th Session
April 15-19, 2019

Legacy of Leadership

The National Sheriffs' Association (NSA), in concert with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), boasts one of the nation's most respected training opportunities available for new sheriffs.  Expenses, including travel, lodging, and meals are paid by the NIC. 

Originally conceived in the early 1970's by the late Ferris E. Lucas (NSA Executive Director) and enabled by a grant from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, the NSI was established in response to an expressed need by sheriffs to meet the rapidly changing demands of the office. Through several years of development and research conducted by the University of Southern California's School of Public Administration, a two-week program designed uniquely for first-term sheriffs was developed to enhance and develop the executive leadership skills of the sheriff. Recent revisions have created a more concise, streamlined curriculum that shortens the program to five days. Ongoing evaluations and modifications have ascertained the program's continuing success as an invaluable resource in several areas of knowledge vital for the successful administration of the office of sheriff. Among them are:

  • Providing the sheriff with a greater understanding of his/her role as a community leader.
  • Providing the sheriff opportunities to assess and evaluate leadership styles and skills in the areas of bargaining, interpersonal communications, and personnel management.
  • Understanding how organization ethics assist in managing staff; to familiarize the sheriff with key legal issues that impact on the office of the executive leader.
  • Providing the sheriff with an understanding of the media and how to effectively communicate and work with the media.
  • And overall, providing the sheriff with the administrative oversight necessary to effectively manage all areas of responsibility.

In essence, successful sheriffs have benefited from an awareness of the conflicting roles presented by social circumstances that impact the criminal justice system as a whole and the politics of the office. The NSI is a unique entity in this respect, existing to serve the specific needs of the office of sheriff, both on an individual basis and as an institution. In fact, every participant becomes an integral part in formulating, perpetuating, and elevating the institution of the office of sheriff. It is your input, your concerns, your issues and your successes that determine the direction and the strengths of the office of the sheriff nationwide. As a graduate of the NSI, you become a vital part of a national law enforcement entity that is, in reality, larger than any single "office of the sheriff." The resources and expertise of generations of successful law enforcement professionals are at your fingertips. The value of this concept can only be fully grasped when the need is felt first-hand.

NSI's broader focus allows us to venture beyond the organization and to recognize systemic and community leadership behaviors such as visioning. Leadership issues of the sheriff can be identified and placed into six different categories. They are community leader, criminal justice system leader, political leader, organizational leader, technical expert and program leader. The leadership context has resonated powerfully with the sheriffs and has proved to be a useful way of organizing much of the NSI curriculum.

Graduates of the NSI have cited the first-rate faculty who are experts in the field, and the diversity of the class population as among the most valuable assets. Each class is comprised of up to 30 first-term sheriffs from jurisdictions large and small, selected from all across the country. Instruction, interaction, and group problem-solving help to enhance each sheriff's knowledge base and ability to be a forceful and effective leader both in the community and within the justice system.


For additional information, call (800) 424-7827 ext. 353 and speak to Kristi Barksdale or email her at