O’Hagan completes National Sheriffs’ Institute program

Sheriff John O'Hagan accepts his certificate for graduating the National Sheriffs’ Institute. (Courtesy photo)

Sheriff John O’Hagan accepts his certificate for graduating the National Sheriffs’ Institute. (Courtesy photo)

MANISTEE COUNTY — The word leadership translates differently for each person, however for Manistee County sheriff John O’Hagan it means expanding knowledge and connecting to the community.

That’s why O’Hagan applied to participate in the 113th session of the National Sheriffs’ Institute (NSI) held in Aurora, Colo., from Sept. 18-22. He was the first graduate of the program ever from Manistee County.

NSI is an exclusive national executive development program designed for sheriffs.

As a first-term sheriff, O’Hagan said it is common for leaders to follow a specific leadership pattern. NSI provided the tools to become more progressive and continue working with his staff to protect the community.

“When they told me I was the first ever from Manistee County, I felt honored to have been given the opportunity to attend,” he said. “As the sheriff, you deal with a variety of challenges related to leadership and the day-to-day management of the office. It is my input, concerns, issues and successes that determine the direction and strength of my agency.”

The program was held in challenging sessions, which all had a range of focus. O’Hagan said the week was busy, and sessions lasted hours a day.

“The sessions were more than lectures; there were break out study sessions that ranged from developing your executive team, to the power, influence and conflict within your agency, to ethical decisions and leading change,” O’Hagan said. “They were very challenging; each with a specific objective in mind.”

The program is highly selective. Only 29 other sheriffs from across the country were chosen for training, focused on contemporary challenges facing America’s sheriffs today.

Sheriffs were able to explore their role more intensely, providing more effective leadership in areas like public safety, criminal justice system policy, community relations, organization effectiveness and efficiency.

“Sheriff O’Hagan is a leader with vision for the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office. It is an honor to have sheriff O’Hagan join the more than 2,800 graduates of the NSI since 1973,” said Hilary Burgess, NSA director of professional development.

The no-cost NSI program is co-sponsored by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA).

NIC is a division of the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Prisons, a primary federal source of technical assistance, training and information services for state and local corrections. NSA is a non-profit professional association located in Alexandria, Va., representing nearly 3,100 elected sheriffs across the nation.

O’Hagan said the program brings plenty of opportunity to new sheriffs. After the program, he now plans to pass his knowledge along.

“They hold two sessions a year; 30 are selected each time,” O’Hagan said. “Not every sheriff has that opportunity to participate, so for me to be selected was truly humbling. I am bringing back what I have learned and passing it on to my staff.

“I am actually going to survey them on my job performance over the last nine months according to the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.”

The survey effort, he said, will indicate any needs for the future at the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office in order to succeed.

“This will give me an idea of where we have been, what issues are on the table that need attention, where we want to go and how we can achieve our goals together, to make our agency one of public trust and commitment for those we serve,” he said.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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