Kent State to offer police academy training beginning fall semester

Christina Stafford

Police academy training will soon be available to students at Kent State. The justice studies department and the College of Continuing Studies are starting an Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission police academy. The academy will be modeled after the existing academy at the Trumbull campus.

Jim Owens, program coordinator of the Law Enforcement Education Center, said applications should be turned in by Friday at 5 p.m. Registration packets are available in the Justice Studies Office in Bowman Hall Room 113 and at the College of Continuing Studies Office in Room 204 of the Michael Schwartz Center.

Mark Colvin, justice studies chairman, said according to a survey conducted last year of the justice studies students, 75 percent of students would attend if they were given the option of police training.

“We decided that the Kent campus would benefit from a police academy,” Colvin said. “One of the things we want to do is gear this so they get training and officer’s certification while getting their bachelor’s in justice studies.”

Colvin said the budget to start the academy and get it off the ground is $100,000. These funds come from the College of Arts and Sciences, the provost and the College of Continuing Studies. It is anticipated that the money will be repaid.

Colvin said the academy, which will cost students $3,300 to attend, should create revenue to pay back the money, support itself and eventually expand.

Colvin said opening a police academy will position Kent State graduates for law enforcement jobs right after graduation.

Each full-time academy class will last one semester and the first class will be in all 2007. The police academy training will be separate from justice studies classes students are currently taking.

Registration is open first to junior and senior majors and alumni of Kent State. Colvin said if spots are still available, other majors or non-students would be able to enroll.

As a benefit to students also pursuing a justice studies degree, the training at the academy could be considered an internship and the student could earn up to 12 hours of course credit. Any student wishing to earn internship credit will be required to do extra work.

The academy will be certified by Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. To receive this certification, the state will have to look at the classroom and the physical training facility and make sure the curriculum meets the state’s minimum requirements.

The academy classes will be held in the Michael Schwartz Center, the physical training facility will be in the M.A.C. Center and arrangements to go to a firing range will be in cooperation with the Summit County’s Sheriff’s Office.

“(Students) will never be handling weapons on campus. The weapons will be kept in a safe at the Kent State Police Office,” Colvin said.

Colvin said the real benefit will be to students. They will come out of the academy being in a very competitive position because they will have the training along with the educational background necessary to secure a job after graduation.

“If you go to a large department like Cleveland, Akron or Columbus, you will go through their own training,” Owens said. “It is the same as what we do. Everyone has to follow the same curriculum.”

Owens said in a suburban police department, the departments will want someone who has already completed the state exams because then they won’t have to invest the money in someone when they aren’t sure if he or she will pass the tests, quit or get terminated.

But not all justice studies majors think the opening OPOTC academy will be extremely beneficial.

Senior justice studies major Greg Severyn said he will most likely not participate in the training.

“It’s mainly a cost issue,” Severyn said. “I wish you didn’t have to pay over $3,000 to get the training at Kent when you are already paying tuition. Once you get a job, they will pay for your training. Most of the time, even if you already completed police officer training, you have to do more training once you get hired.”

Students with questions can contact Jim Owens in the Law Enforcement Education Center in Room 124 of Bowman Hall.

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Christina Stafford at [email protected].