Date of Conferral





Criminal Justice


Ernesto Escobedo


Public officials, researchers, and practitioners agree police organizations need the proper tools to foster a stronger sense of ethical leadership to more effectively conduct police operations and work with communities. However, few researchers have investigated ethical leadership characteristics for police supervisors, and no research has been conducted to identify desired ethical leadership characteristics for state police supervisors in the southern United States. The purpose of this qualitative Delphi study was to determine the degrees of consensus and support of identified key ethical leadership characteristics for state police promotional candidates in the southern United States, using the theoretical framework of transformational leadership. A purposeful sample was taken from the population of 16 command staff members with the most direct oversight of their agency’s promotional process from the southern United States, which resulted in 3 participants for this study. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics and Kendall’s W. Results in the 3-round study within the 4 tenets of transformational leadership identified 9 key ethical leadership characteristics as highly supported and ranked very important: integrity, honesty, ethical, empowering, inclusive, curiosity, open-minded, challenging the status quo, and empowering others. The study findings indicate the necessity of aligning ethical leadership police training and educational opportunities with identified key ethical leadership characteristics. Moreover, increased alignment of ethical leadership characteristics within police promotional processes may enhance the lives of police officers and facilitate greater service to the public, which may lead to more public support for the police, and ultimately enhance safety within communities.