About APSLA


Application Information

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  • Application period: Applications for the class year 2021-2022 will be accepted until March 5, 2021. This application period is for those applying for the class that begins in the Fall of the same year. The evaluation and scoring process of the applications occur in March and April. 
  • Selection process: Applicants are placed in work related discipline groups (Fire Service, Law Enforcement, Forestry, etc.) based on the indicated feedback provided on the application. The applications are then scored based on a points system. All applications, regardless of the score, are forwarded to the APSLA Advisory Committee for consideration in the selection meeting that takes place in May. Selection is based on work-related discipline, score, size of agency, status of agency, applicant involvement in additional areas, and essay composition. Formal notification to applicants of their application disposition is made shortly after the selection process is completed. Some applicants may be placed on a short waiting list pending final acceptance of all of those offered an invitation to the class. The 2021-2022 APSLA class roster will consist of thirty (30) class members.
  • Tuition: Tuition for the class year 2021-2022 is $500, payable in full no later than December 1st, 2021.


The History of APSLA

From Vision to Reality

The Alabama Public Safety Leadership Academy (APSLA) coalesced in 2014 from a creative discussion between Allan Rice (former Executive Director of the Alabama Fire College) and Reid Vaughan, Special Programs Director at the AFC. The discussion centered around the need for developmental experiences for the Alabama fire service to accompany the outstanding technical classes offered by AFC. Reid had already proposed the Fire Chief 101 course, which was intended to provide new chiefs with the “down and dirty” information needed in their new role that would not be encountered in regular training classes. Both were keenly aware of other leadership experiences across the state that were focused on specific communities or industries, but there was nothing aimed exclusively at the fire service.

The initial vision was to create a program that would expose fire service leaders – and more specifically, future leaders – to a wide variety of topics that they would need to be effective. The initial vision was later modified as the two realized that although a leadership academy for the state fire service would be useful, it would be more meaningful to bring together participants from all public safety disciplines. In addition to promoting personal growth and leadership development, it was asserted that the program should be designed to build connections across professional lines that would strengthen the statewide public safety fabric and give academy graduates enhanced tools to use in the future. The APSLA vision included targeted membership groups from the career and volunteer fire service, state, county, and local law enforcement, emergency medical services, 911 communications systems, emergency management agencies, the Alabama Forestry Commission, and the Alabama National Guard. The inaugural APSLA class came together in 2015 and graduated in May, 2016.


Membership Guidelines

Member Attendance
There are nine programs over an extended period during the APSLA class year. This requires quite a commitment from the member’s organizations and the members themselves. It is expected that members will work to honor this commitment through punctuality and attendance. The number of APSLA applicants is generally over twice the number that get accepted into the program. Therefore, acceptance in to the program creates an obligation on the part of the member to make attendance a high priority for each of the nine class programs. However, it is recognized that sometimes critical issues arise in both the work and family environment that may preclude a member from attending all the programs. Recognizing this reality, it is permissible for a member to miss one class program during the year with reasonable cause and still be able to graduate with his/her class. The member should notify an APSLA representative prior to missing the class. If a member must miss a second class during the year, then this member will not be able to graduate with the current class. However, if the member chooses to “make up” one of the two missed classes by attending class during the next year’s APSLA program, then the member may graduate with that class. The member must inform an APSLA representative by the end of the current program year of his/her intent to “make up” one of the two missed classes in the next year’s program so they can be formally included. No graduation consideration will be given to those missing more than two classes.

Member Dress Code
Whether a member is from the Fire, EMS, Police, Dispatch, Forestry, Military or Emergency Management sector, or whether a member is from the volunteer or the career sectors, each member is considered a professional representing their respective organization. As such there is an expectation that members while attending classes will dress in a manner that reflects professionalism. Professional attire would include a golf shirt with dress, khaki, or BDU trousers, or department’s uniform shirt (not ‘T’ shirt) and uniform trousers, or button dress shirts with dress trousers. Members may wear sport coats or suits if desirable. Graduation ceremonies are held at the last class. Proper attire for the graduation class is full dress uniforms (Class A’s), dress trousers and blazers, suits, or commensurate attire for females.

Code of Conduct 
APSLA Alabama Fire College Employees, visiting presenters, instructors and class members are expected to conduct themselves with the highest standards of professionalism and demeanor. Profanity, off-color humor, and racial, gender, or religious related derogatory remarks are not considered in good taste and will not be tolerated in class.

Member Preparation and Participation
It is expected that class members will be dutiful with respect to any pre-class assignments, presentations, or preparatory work that is designed or assigned within the program and report to class ready to cogently interact. Part of the success of APSLA is attributed to the learning opportunities presented to the class by other class members through dialogue and perspectives offered during pointed discussions in class. It is understood that each class member brings unique perspectives to the class on an array of various subjects. It is a program expectation that members will participate in open discussions during the APSLA class year as well as an expectation that opportunities for open discussions will be provided as part of the program.

Class President
A class president will be elected at the two-day opening class session for each year. A member may place himself/herself into consideration for class president by notifying an APSLA representative at the beginning of the class. Also, nominations from the floor will be accepted as well. If multiple members are engaged for the office, said members will be given three minutes each to present to the group before a vote is taken to solidify the position. The Class President will help conduct the non-formal business of the program. Examples are coordinating and facilitating the selection, ordering, securing payment, and delivery of class shirts (if the class is desirous), and bringing forth any logistical issues or other issues for the good and welfare of the class (will be given the floor at the beginning of each class). The Class President will also have a role as a speaker at the graduation ceremony. Additionally, the class president will serve a one-year term on the APSLA advisory board. Said term beginning January 1st and ending December 31st. Other ad hoc serving opportunities may arise during the program year.


Advisory Board

Hal Taylor
Secretary, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency

Lana Dawson 
Administrative Officer, Birmingham Fire & Rescue Service

Joe Acker
Executive Director (ret.), Birmingham Regional EMS System

Ken Tucker
President, University of West Alabama

Scott Pilgreen
State Fire Marshal, Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office

Rita Smith (2016-2017 Class President)
EMA Specialist, Lee Co. EMA

Brian Hastings
Director, Alabama Emergency Management Agency

Rick Oates
State Forester, Alabama Forestry Commission

Matt Russell
Executive Director, Alabama Fire College

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