7 Powerful Police Leadership Books the Brass are Reading Today

7 Powerful Police Leadership Books the Brass are Reading Today

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  Brian Humenuk | Author | COPJOT

By Brian Humenuk, MS|CJA, COPJOT

Released: February 21, 2024

⏱️ 4-minute read or less


A police leader is not merely an authority figure but a guide, mentor, and source of inspiration for their employees.

The journey involves continuous learning, adapting to evolving landscapes, and cultivating a leadership style that resonates with both officers and the community.

In essence, becoming a police leader is a transformative journey that goes beyond titles—it's a calling to make a positive impact, lead with honor, and safeguard the well-being of those they serve.

To stay a leader and make progress to the better good for your shift, division and even your agency means you are willing to go the extra mile.

The extra mile is where after most people go home and live their lives outside of policing you work towards another college degree, attend leadership focused training classes and conferences, watch leadership driven movies and documentaries, and read police leadership books.

My incredible daughter Elin is a softball player who since the age of 3 showed signs of a hunger for baseball. It was no surprise because I was a Baseball Bay State Olympian at the age of 16.

Her and I talk a lot about the extra mile and she knows that it is a place where few will go. It is a place that fills the gap between what talent God has blessed you with and the peak of greatness.


The extra mile is a place littered with broken down abandoned athletes or in our case burnt out law enforcement officers who have thrown in the towel.

In this article, I am going to help you understand why taking time to read leadership literature is a powerful and essential tool while learning and training on the extra mile of policing. 

7 Reasons Police Leaders Should Read Books?

Reading is a strategic investment in the professional development and effectiveness of police leaders. It empowers you to lead with knowledge, adaptability, and a keen understanding of the complexities inherent in modern law enforcement.

Reading can also separate police sergeants, lieutenants, captains and above from being an average leader and a great leader. 

Furthermore, the following are 7 reasons why reading is a great way to invest in your journey at either becoming a police leader or being a better leader.

1. Knowledge Expansion: Reading exposes police leaders to a wide range of perspectives, research findings, and best practices in law enforcement.

It helps you stay informed about the latest developments in crime prevention, community policing, and emerging technologies, contributing to a well-rounded understanding of law enforcement.                                                    

    2. Adaptability to Change: Policing is a dynamic field, subject to evolving societal norms, legal frameworks, and technological advancements.

    Regular reading equips leaders with the knowledge needed to adapt to these changes swiftly, ensuring that your strategies and tactics remain relevant and effective.                                                                                       

    3. Critical Thinking Development: Engaging with diverse materials hones critical thinking skills.

    Police leaders must make split-second decisions in high-pressure situations, and a habit of critical reading enhances your ability to analyze complex scenarios, assess information, and make sound judgments.               

    4. Leadership Insights: Books on leadership provide valuable insights into managing teams, resolving conflicts, and fostering a positive organizational culture.

    Learning from the experiences of successful leaders helps you refine your own leadership styles and approaches.                                         

    5. Enhanced Communication Skills: Reading a variety of books exposes you to different writing styles and communication techniques.

    This exposure can enhance your ability to convey ideas clearly, whether in written reports, public addresses, or interpersonal communications.                                   

    6. Personal and Professional Growth: Continuous reading is a pathway to personal and professional growth.

    Police leaders who invest in their intellectual development are more likely to inspire and motivate their teams, setting an example of lifelong learning and continuous improvement.              

    7. Prevention of Stagnation: Regular exposure to new ideas prevents professional stagnation.

    Police leaders who make reading a habit are more likely to seek out innovative solutions, challenge the status quo, and drive positive change within their organizations.

      Best Police Leadership Books

      Let’s deep dive into the leadership books that you should consider having on your top 10 list.

      1. Leadership in War by Andrew Roberts

      While not exclusively focused on police leadership, Andrew Roberts' "Leadership in War" offers profound insights into the characteristics that make a great leader.

      Roberts explores the leadership styles of notable figures in military history, drawing parallels to the challenges faced by law enforcement leaders.

      This book is a compelling read for police leaders seeking to understand the nuances of decision-making, resilience, and strategic thinking in high-stakes environments.

      2. The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner:

      Widely regarded as a classic in the leadership literature, The Leadership Challenge is a timeless resource for individuals aspiring to lead with integrity and inspire others.

      Kouzes and Posner distill decades of research into five essential practices of exemplary leadership: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart.

      This book provides actionable strategies and real-world examples, making it an indispensable guide for police leaders seeking to enhance their effectiveness.

      3. Start with Why by Simon Sinek

      Police Leadership Books


      "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek dives into the core principles that drive successful leaders and organizations.

      While not explicitly centered on law enforcement, the concepts presented in this book are highly applicable to police leadership. Sinek argues that great leaders and organizations start with a clear understanding of their "why" – the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires them.

      For police leaders aiming to build trust within their communities, articulating a compelling "why" can be a transformative leadership tool.

      4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

      Police Leadership Books

      Besides being a beautiful addition to a police leaders bookshelf, The Art of War is a timeless masterpiece on strategy and leadership, holds profound insights applicable to police leadership.

      Its principles, emphasizing strategic thinking, adaptability, and understanding adversaries, are invaluable in law enforcement.

      Tzu's teachings guide leaders to navigate complex situations, prioritize team cohesion, and foster a resilient mindset.

      As police leaders grapple with evolving challenges, the wisdom from "The Art of War" serves as a strategic compass, offering practical lessons for effective decision-making and maintaining order.

      This ancient text, with its enduring relevance, unfolds as an insightful guide for modern police leaders seeking to master the art of leadership.

      5. Turn the Ship Around! by David Marquet

      Turn the Ship Around! by David Marquet is a must-read for police leaders seeking to foster a culture of empowerment and accountability within their teams.

      Drawing on his experience as a U.S. Navy submarine commander, Marquet shares the transformative leadership principles he applied to turn a struggling team into one of the highest-performing crews in the fleet.

      This book emphasizes the importance of decentralized decision-making and empowering team members at all levels, principles that can resonate deeply with those leading in law enforcement.

      6. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

      Police Leadership Books

      One of my all time favorite books is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It's a book that I have read quite some time ago and I talk a lot about the strategies with my kids and use them at work frequently.

      Carnegie's principles, centered on building positive relationships, effective communication, and empathy, align seamlessly with the demands of law enforcement.

      Police leaders applying these principles can enhance community relations, diffuse tense situations, and foster trust within their teams.

      The book's emphasis on understanding human nature and motivating others proves invaluable in navigating the complexities of policing.

      As a guide for interpersonal skills and leadership finesse, Carnegie's classic serves as an essential companion for police leaders striving for effective and compassionate leadership. 

      7. To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America's Police by Norm Stamper:

      Police Leadership Books

      Norm Stamper, a former police chief, and author of To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America's Police provides a candid examination of the challenges and reforms needed within American policing in "To Protect and Serve."

      This book critically assesses various aspects of police leadership, organizational culture, and the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

      Stamper's insights can prompt reflection and dialogue for police leaders striving to improve their agencies and strengthen community trust.

      About the Author

      Brian Humenuk isn't just an entrepreneur in eCommerce, he is also an informed leader whose experience provides followers and visitors with a look into current and past police issues making headlines in the United States.

      Brian has earned three degrees in Criminal Justice with the last, a Masters of Science in Criminal Justice Administration.

      Brian extends his training, education, and experience to the officers just now getting into the field so that they may become more informed police officers and stay clear of police misconduct and corruption. 

      You can find Brian on Linkedin here.

      Affiliate Disclosure

      COPJOT is supported by its audience. If you make a purchase through links on this site I may earn a small affiliate commission. Enough to buy myself a small coffee and I want to thank you in advance. 

      More Information

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