School of Public Affairs to provide law enforcement education

By Staff

Colorado peace officers will be able to build on supervisor training courses through the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, according to an agreement signed this week between the university and representatives of Colorado police and sheriff's associations.

Last week, Pam Shockley-Zalabak, UCCS chancellor; Don Christensen, executive director of the County Sheriffs of Colorado; and Karen Renshaw, executive director of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police; signed an agreement that will enable UCCS to offer undergraduate and graduate credit for peace officers who take the supervisory institute program and enroll in an additional academic component.

Terry Schwartz, associate dean of the School of Public Affairs, and Jim Spice, chief of police, Public Safety, attended the formal signing event and helped in the development of the agreement.

The academic course will focus on supervisor education, a key element in the promotion of officers into higher level positions within an agency and for ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement. Colorado peace officers will have the opportunity to take the course for academic credit through the School of Public Affairs.

During fiscal year 2011, at least one course will be offered on campus with officers having the opportunity to stay in university housing. The School of Public Affairs follow-up course will be online beginning in August.

"The benefit of these courses to individuals who wish to advance their careers is clear," Shockley-Zalabak said. "Supervisory training is an important part of their development and success in the workplace as they learn to motivate others to do what can best be described as a very difficult job. But today, I would argue that all of us – those within law enforcement and those outside of the profession – benefit. As citizens, we benefit from professionally trained peace officers who understand psychology, sociology, human relations, physiology and communication in addition to the law."

Peace officers who opt for college credit will complete extra requirements developed by the School of Public Affairs. More course content will be developed by criminal justice faculty within the School of Public Affairs.

Spice said the partnership will benefit departments and individual officers seeking to earn college degrees.

"As the chief of a small department that is similar to many across the state, I understand the difficulty of properly training staff as responsibilities grow and budgets dwindle," he said. "This command college will be a huge asset for departments throughout Colorado, including our own."

Spice credited Susan Szpyrka, associate vice chancellor of administration and finance, for her help in developing the proposal as well as Brian McPike, police sergeant with the department of public safety, and Skip Arms, a Colorado Springs Police Department commander and UCCS graduate.