Holding considerable expertise in adult learning and law enforcement training, Luann P. Pannell, PhD, began her professional journey by earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology at Northwest Nazarene University in 1989. She went on to join the Fuller Theological Seminary, where she achieved a Master of Arts in theology, with a concentration in cross-cultural studies, in 1996 and a Doctor of Philosophy in psychology from the seminary’s School of Psychology in 1997. That same year, she embarked on her career as a staff psychologist with the Pacific Clinics in Pasadena, California. Dr. Pannell remained with the Pacific Clinics until 2000, though she moved to the Monrovia, California, location in 1999.
In 2000, Dr. Pannell joined the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Foundation as a police psychologist, a role she held until 2005. She currently serves as the director of police training and education, a position she came to after a community panel led the LAPD to seek a civilian to fill its training administrator position. She has also spent time as the chair of the training assessment committee and the professional advisory committee. A state-certified clinical psychologist, she went on to achieve certification in organizational leadership from the Australian Institute of Police Management in 2017 and executive leadership for police from the Senior Management Institute for Policing in 2022. Today, Dr. Pannell’s duties include overseeing training curriculum design, evaluation and development for the LAPD.
Throughout her career, Dr. Pannell has done considerable work regarding exposure to community violence and post-traumatic stress disorder and is particularly proud of spearheading the complete redesign of the LAPD Academy in 2008, making it a pioneering institution for adult learning. Since then, she has traveled and visited agencies across the United States and Canada to research best practices in learning, including scenario-based training, emotional intelligence and procedural justice. She also redesigned the LAPD command development course, which is taken by all the command officers. Dr. Pannell’s work with training redesign has paved the way to bring diverse community feedback into the academy’s police training from such groups as the LGBTQ and special needs communities.
Alongside her primary responsibilities, Dr. Pannell has contributed her skills to a number of other professional endeavors. She proffered her expertise to Interpol as chair of the Group of Experts on Police Training in 2009 and co-authored the law enforcement course Vicarious Trauma: Why it Hurts to Help. In 2011, she was a contributing author for “Leadership in Dangerous Situations: A Handbook for the Armed Forces, Emergency Services and First Responders,” published by the Naval Institute Press of the U.S. Naval Institute. Likewise, she has authored a number of articles for professional journals on topics ranging from the importance of developing partnerships between law enforcement and mental health professionals to improving training outcomes for law enforcement.
Dr. Pannell attributes much of her success to her passion and sense of mission. Feeling strongly about protecting the children in her community, she has donated her time as an instructor with local schools and was recognized by the city of Los Angeles for developing the “Mission Possible” program, which brought together police officers and children with autism. Other accolades to her name include two awards, one of which was a unit citation, from the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners and the LAPD. She has also been honored by the ambassador of Pakistan with an award for raising the public’s awareness of cultural responsiveness. Dr. Pannell recently announced her upcoming retirement from the LAPD and will be working with the crime lab at the University of Chicago to create a policing leadership academy.