Police academy returns to KSU

Sarah McGrath

James Owens’ 26 years of experience as a police officer and a federal agent may come in handy next fall when he runs the newly resurrected Kent State Police Academy.

Owens is the coordinator for the Law Enforcement Education Center, a new program created by the department of justice studies and the College of Continuing Studies.

The academy, which is part of the education center, was a thriving program run by the university’s police department but has been absent from the campus for at least 20 years.

Owens, a graduate of the original academy, said it closed because of a lack of funds and labor within the police department.

“The academy came into existence to fill a need in the local area,” Owens said. “Almost all smaller police departments, including Kent, are tending to hire people who have already been certified.”

The academy is open to all Kent State students, alumni and local residents.

Owens said graduates of the academy will be certified police and will have the opportunity to start work at a police department as soon as they are hired rather than going through months of additional training.

The $3,300 tuition for attending the academy covers the cost of a firearm, ammunition, holster, duty belt and handcuffs.

Students will have the opportunity to attend the academy full-time or part-time beginning this fall semester. Full-time students will meet every day for either the fall or spring semesters. Part-time students take night and weekend classes during both semesters.

Some of the state-mandated topics students are instructed in are the proper use of firearms, investigation and homeland security. Instructors for the program include police officers from local police and sheriff’s departments such as the Kent Police Department and the Portage and Summit County Sheriff offices.

“This is a new way to both serve students and attract members of the community,” said Marilyn Bokrass, an outreach program manager for the College of Continuing Studies. “It’s a good way to provide training.”

The education center will not only train prospective police officers, but it will provide additional training on new techniques for police officers who have been in the field for years.

“I want this to be an education center – to establish itself in the community – where local law enforcement can come for training.”

Contact news correspondent Sarah McGrath at [email protected].