nicola smith-kea headshot

New Dissertation Examines Women in Leadership Policing Roles

PhD in Leadership and Change alumna Dr. Nicola “Nikki” Smith-Kea has published, Saving a Set for a Sister: A Grounded Theory Approach Exploring the Journey of Women Reaching Top Policing Executive Positions. The purpose of this dissertation was to gain an understanding of the complex journey of women to top executive policing leadership positions given the vast underrepresentation of women in these roles across the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States. Ultimately, the study offers a theoretical model—A Web of Intersections—as a framework for understanding the complex journey of women, and the social processes, and multiple intersections they have learned to navigate that can in combination, help them to advance to top executive policing leadership positions highlighting the active, deliberate, and intentional participation of these leaders making critical and strategic decisions that can gain entry to policy decision-making resulting in sustainable change.
Dr. Smith-Kea has extensive national experience working with a diverse cross-section of law enforcement agencies. She has deep knowledge and expertise at the intersection of law enforcement, mental health, substance use disorders, and homelessness; helping jurisdictions improve their responses to people in crises. She has also focused on recruitment, retention and inclusion of women in law enforcement, with expertise in female professional advancement to executive leadership positions in law enforcement and has received a Master of Arts in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, a Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland, College Park, a Master of Science in Sociology, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.