Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy

NILEA Academy Staff


James Markle

Executive Director

Director Markle served 13 years with the Schererville (IN) Police Department before joining the staff of NILEA in 2008. While at Schererville PD, he worked as a supervisor in the patrol division, criminal investigator, SWAT operator and served as the department’s physical tactics coordinator. Prior to entering law enforcement, Director Markle served four years of active duty military service in the United States Navy deploying for Operation Desert Storm, Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Provide Promise/ Deny Flight and several counter narcotics operations. He was honorably discharged from active duty in 1994.

A graduate of the 122nd basic session of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, Director Markle holds several instructor certifications in the area of Physical Tactics and Use of Force and holds the rank of black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He is an instructor in S.T.O.P.S.®, Response to Active Shooters, Fit Force® Fitness and Wellness Coordinator and has been an Indiana State Certified EMT-Basic since 1997.

Director Markle holds a B.S. in Public Safety Management from Calumet College of Saint Joseph and is an Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board Certified Master Instructor. He is graduate of the Police Executive Leadership Academy and the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.


James Olszewski

NILEA Law Instructor

James Olszewski is a certified LETB Instructor-Specialist and  has been the NILEA Criminal Law Professor for every basic recruit session starting in 1999. He retired from the Lake County Prosecutor's Office after 33 years of service. While at the Prosecutor's Office he served as a trail deputy, Felony Trial Supervisor and was the Director of Police and Prosecutor Training. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Indiana University and a Juris Doctor from Indiana University Law School. James currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Police Board of Directors. 


Donnell Etienne

Recruit Training Coordinator

Captain Donnell Etienne served with the East Chicago and Merrillville Police Departments for a total of 13 years prior to joining the staff of NILEA in 2010. While at ECPD and MPD, he worked as a DARE/SRO officer, training officer, motor officer and SWAT operator. He is a graduate of the 130th basic session of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and the Public Safety Leadership Institute.

Captain Etienne is an LETB Certified Instructor with endorsement in the psycho-motor skills Physical Tactics and Emergency Vehicle Operations. He is an IADLEST certified Motorcycle Law Enforcement Instructor/Trainer, Response to Active Shooters Instructor, FitForce ® Fitness and Wellness Coordinator and S.T.O.P.S. ® Instructor. Captain Etienne also holds the rank of black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Currently, he is the Recruit Training Coordinator and OIC of the Physical Fitness and Emergency Vehicle Operations Programs.


Christian Irsa

Law Enforcement Instructor

1SG Chris Irsa is a graduate of the 128th basic session of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and served 20 years with the Portage Police Department before joining the NILEA staff in 2017. While at Portage PD, Chris was the corporal/supervisor for the patrol division, SWAT commander, field-training officer, TASER instructor and lead instructor in the departments' physical tactics program. Before entering law enforcement, Chris served in the United States Marine Corps.

Irsa founded the City of Portage's Marine Search/Rescue SCUBA team, is a NAUI dive instructor and technical diver and holds numerous SCUBA certifications. 1SG Irsa is a Certified Law Enforcement Training Board Instructor with psychomotor skill endorsement in physical tactics. Chris Irsa  specializes in close combat/ground fighting and holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

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