“I started out as a cotton picker. I ended up as a chief in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept. These experiences have formed a prism through which I see the world.”
Curtis L. Spears is an expert in police leadership training. Since retiring from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept. in 2001, he has toured the country as a lecturer with Thomas & Means, LLC, a North Carolina-based consulting firm that provides leadership training to police agencies nationwide. Mr. Spears is a graduate of the University of Southern California and of the FBI National Academy.
Over the years Mr. Spears has been quoted and or featured in media outlets from the Los Angeles Times to ABC’s news magazine, “20/20.” His seminars attract a wide ranging audience: police chiefs and sheriffs, personnel commanders, training supervisors, as well as patrol cops and deputies. After more than a decade with the consulting firm, Mr. Spears has developed a solid audience in diverse locales, from Myrtle Beach, SC to Las Vegas, NV.
As a public speaker, Mr. Spears is a rare and enviable talent: a good story teller with extensive real world experience. Written evaluations of Mr. Spears’ seminars often describe him as engaging, knowledgeable, and relatable. His ability to marry story with experience serves him well with audiences, however Mr. Spears’s goal is not merely entertainment. His hard-hitting straight-talk and controversial ideas are a challenge to the profession of law enforcement. He argues that law enforcement can do better—and must. His lectures leave audiences with much to ponder. In addition to his work with Thomas & Means, Mr. Spears has served as a lecturer for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). He has also taught criminal justice classes at Los Angeles City College. Recently, Mr. Spears has served as an expert witness in court cases involving law enforcement and use of force.
During his 30 years with the department, Mr. Spears held several positions. He was the department’s first affirmative action compliance officer, served as Captain of Professional Standards and Training Division, and ultimately rose to the position of Chief. As Chief of Field Operations for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Mr. Spears managed 2,800 employees and an annual budget of more than $100 million. Over the years he was the force behind many innovative changes that are still reaping benefits today.