Joel Leson ’61

Joel Leson ’61


Joel is a SPHS graduate of the class of January 1961. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Business Administration from Temple University and a Master of Science in Forensic Science from The George Washington University. He is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy, the Federal Executive Institute, and the US Secret Service Protective Operations Course.

His military schooling includes the Armor Officer Basic and Military Police Officer Advances Courses, the Army Command and General Staff College, a Research Fellowship at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, and the Army’s Battalion and Brigade Pre-Command Courses.

Joel spent his Senior Service College year as a research fellow in National Security at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is also a graduate of the Kennedy School’s Program for Senior Officials in National Security During his 26 years of active-duty service, from 1965 to 1991, he made major contributions to the evolution of the Army Military Police Corps.

His command assignments were marked by extraordinary leadership and innovation. His Military Police doctrinal, force structure and combat equipment developmental skills remain visible on the battlefield today. As one of the original members of the US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), he went on to command CID units in the United States and Germany.

His command assignments were marked by his far-reaching imagination and initiatives in Army law enforcement. Joel has received many honors and awards, including three awards of the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, two awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, four awards of the Air Medal, one of which was for valor, three Army Commendation Medals, the Army Achievement Medal and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He was also awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge for his service in combat in Vietnam. Joel was an airborne paratrooper and a member of a helicopter crew in combat.

In 2003 Joel was the recipient of the Department of Defense (DOD), Office of Inspector General’s Distinguished Service Award. He has been inducted into the US Army Criminal Investigation Command and US Army Military Police Corps Halls of Fame. Joel was a. member of the Federal Senior Executive Service for 14 years.

He was a supervisory criminal investigator at the DOD Inspector General’s Office where he served as the Assistant Inspector General for Criminal Investigative Policy and Oversight and then as the Director for Administration and Information Management.

In 2005, after 40 years of military and civilian service, Joel retired from the federal government. He became the Director of the Center for Police Leadership at the International Association of Chiefs of Police until he fully retired in