September 21, 2006
Twenty-seven students from across Maine have taken on the challenge of becoming reserve police officers. But rather than attending the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro, they are taking a course offered through the University of Maine at Fort Kent via Interactive Television, or ITV, instead.
UMFK is making the course, Law Enforcement Pre Service, also known as the 100-hour course, available throughout the state. The arrangement was made possible through a first-of-its-kind agreement between UMFK and the Academy.
?We are delighted to work with the Maine Criminal Justice Academy to offer this course across the state,? said UMFK President, Dr. Richard W. Cost. ?Even while the first course was taking place on the UMFK campus, talks already had begun about offering it statewide through the ITV system,? said Dr. Cost. ?Our mission is to provide educational programs that meet the needs of this region and the state of Maine and this course is a perfect example,? Cost added.
Students will spend the semester attending classes every Wednesday and Thursday night at local adult education offices or University centers at Wiscasset, Farmington, Lincoln, Caribou, Belfast, Fort Kent, Ellsworth, among other state-wide locations. Students will be able to access presentations and other course materials through a course website. Such technology is now common, even for campus based courses.
Fourteen students completed the same course at the Fort Kent campus this summer, but in the more traditional two-week, all-day format.
?This is a growing sector, both in terms of demand for college courses and professional training.? said Donald Eno, coordinator of Distance Education and Academic Outreach at UMFK. ?The ITV format allows students scattered across the state to attend this training, something that they could not have done without traveling,? added Eno.
The ITV format enables small police departments to train reserve officers. In some cases a local department or region can not gather a large enough group of students to offer the course on site.
?It seemed like a natural fit.? said Dr. Tony Enerva, Criminal Justice and Public Safety faculty at UMFK. ?We have had great success with our previous criminal justice courses offered through distance education formats, and the Academy was seeking ways to reach more departments around the state,?
The course is different from most courses offered by other universities in that it is taught by multiple instructors, rather than by a single faculty member.
All of the instructors are either practicing law enforcement officers, lawyers, probation officers or other public safety professionals. Many of them also volunteer their time to teach other Academy courses throughout the year.
?We are very pleased to be working with the University to offer this program in the ITV format.? said Jim Lyman, training coordinator with the Academy. ?The evening sessions allow students that are employed to access this training without taking an extended leave. The ITV program also fits well with our goal of providing more diverse training through an electronic medium.?
The University and the Academy expect the program to continue with a regularly-offered ITV course and an on-campus course, as needed. Both institutions expect future efforts will expand opportunities for pre-professional and continuing education in law enforcement and public safety.
For more information about this and upcoming courses, contact Don Eno at 834-7835, or visit: http://www.umfk.maine.edu/academics/programs/psa/