Written by: Shawn Lauda
I have been a member of the Milwaukee Police Department for nearly 20 years and I’ve been assigned to several units and divisions. In those years, I have become family with my fellow officers and will bleed blue forever!
Going Back to School
A few years ago, I decided to go back to school to not only fulfill a lifelong dream of obtaining a bachelor’s degree, but to prepare for another career after law enforcement, as well as provide a proper example for my children. I enrolled at an area technical college and graduated with an associate degree in criminal justice. I then enrolled at Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC), after thorough research of all of the schools in the area. I chose WLC due to the excellent national rankings the school has earned, as well as offering my desired major, business management and leadership. The small class sizes, beautiful campus, and reasonable tuition were secondary factors in my decision to enroll.
The Importance of Servant Leadership
While at WLC, I studied business management and leadership, specifically servant leadership. Entering the program, I didn’t think that the leadership courses would be that significant to me, but the servant leadership concepts that the school taught me had a profound impact on my life. I immediately took to servant leadership like a fish to water and now practice it in every capacity that I possibly can. I believe that helping others be the best that they can be is incredibly important, rewarding, and contagious.
Last year, I decided to run for the Milwaukee Police Association (MPA) Executive Board, the union board that represents all 1,600 Milwaukee police officers and detectives. During my campaign for the Board, I utilized many of the skills that I learned at WLC. For instance, I developed a strategy and timeline, created professional flyers, sent emails, and tweaked my resume’ for distribution to the membership of would-be voters, all concepts and skills I learned within WLC’s program. I then went around the city to nearly all of the police department’s districts and bureaus and spoke to officers and detectives at their roll calls about my vision for the MPA. I was able to speak confidently and concisely to these masses, which I directly attribute to my WLC education.
Servant Leadership in Action
In October of 2012, I was elected by the membership to the seven-member MPA Board as a part-time Trustee. The Executive Board then later elected me in January of 2013 as their full-time Secretary/Treasurer. I have no doubt that my business and leadership education at WLC was a major factor in my selection to this position, as other Board members have told me that my credentials were a perfect fit for the job.
I am honored to be given the opportunity to represent the brave officers and detectives of the Milwaukee Police Department. I take this entrusted position very seriously and currently employ a servant leadership philosophy. Helping my fellow officers has become my life’s work and it’s incredibly rewarding.
The WLC Experience
I am truly grateful that I had the opportunity to attend WLC and found it to be one of the best experiences of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed working with each member of my cohort and feel that I made some lifelong friends. I also valued the excellent professors, as each were extremely knowledgeable, caring, and above all, servant leaders. The biggest compliment that I can give the school, is that one day I hope that my children enroll there.
I still make my way back to Wisconsin Lutheran College to regularly visit with staff and friends. I would like to use the servant leadership skills that I learned in the program and give back to the school in any way that I can. I now have tremendous loyalty to Wisconsin Lutheran and encourage everybody that I know considering college to enroll there. I am truly a Warrior for life!
Thank you WLC,
Secretary/Treasurer of the Milwaukee Police Association