USU Eastern to offer Peace Officers Training
Starting this fall, those seeking to become law enforcement officers won't have to leave Price to obtain their training. Last week, the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council approved a Utah State University Eastern proposal to offer vocational certifications and college classes in law enforcement.
At their March 27 meeting in Santa Clara, the POST Council voted unanimously to approve a curriculum and program proposal submitted by Associate Professor M. Scott Henrie on behalf of the Utah State campus in Carbon County. They had toured the USU Eastern campus on March 5 to make sure that the facilities matched the POST requirements.
Henrie was also chosen by Utah's POST Council to become the program's director, making him USU Eastern's Satellite Academy Director. The 21-year law enforcement professional and 9-year college professor explained that POST is responsible for choosing the educators who direct police training across Utah. The Carbon County native started his law enforcement career as a sheriff's deputy,.He kept that position for seven years before moving to Adult Probation and Parole. After retiring from active duty, Henrie became a professor at the College of Eastern Utah, where he helped to build the criminal justice program into one of the post popular education tracks at the community college.
According to Henrie, the criminal justice professors and the college administration were approached several years ago and asked to help fill a gap in training for Eastern Utah. The gap was created when a POST campus in the Uintah basin closed.
Because of the economy, the college wasn't ready to take on a POST program until last year when Henrie and college began developing a unique curriculum.
In the fall of 2013, Henrie submitted the USU Eastern's proposal to POST. According to the new director, the local college's courses will differ from traditional police academies in that they will offer college credit as well as the vocational certifications given at typical POST distance learning campuses.
"Uncertified officers who were hired in Carbon County before now, would have to train at Salt Lake Community College over a 16-week period. That distance education program provided POST certifications for a large portion of the state," said Henrie. "Our planning and course work, included approval from Utah State which allowed for college courses to be added to the vocational training."
Those interested in starting the program this fall need to apply by the end of April to be considered, said Henrie, as students must be accepted to attend POST training.
Officials within the new department are hoping to start with between 10 and 15 students this fall. However, if class sizes begin to exceed 25 students, a second session will be needed.
In Price, students will attend class five nights a week for five hours each evening with a few weekend classes involved. Currently, Dr. Rich Walton teaches the majority of the school's criminal justice classes with Henrie and while some classes will still be taught by the new director, he did explain that most courses will have to be taught by active police officers with current certifications in a given area. For the area's economy, that means new jobs.