Kent State Regional Campus system brings "OPOTA Close to Home"
The Ohio Attorney General recently announced Kent State University and its College of Applied and Technical Studies (CATS) joins four other regional partners to form "OPOTA Close to Home," a collaboration that extends the reach of Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) training for Ohio's law enforcement officers.
According to an Ohio Attorney General press release, OPOTA Close to Home reduces costs for law enforcement agencies, enabling them to avoid staffing shortages and reduce costs of overnight stays.
Regional training partners will schedule and provide OPOTA advanced training courses to current police officers and anyone who has completed OPOTA Basic Training with a certificate. Kent State University will utilize all its regional campuses (Ashtabula, Geauga, Kent, Salem, Stark, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, and Twinsburg) and regional law enforcement partners who have specialized facilities such as firearms ranges. The other regional partners are Clark State College (Springfield), Hocking College (Nelsonville), Great Oaks Career Campuses (Cincinnati), and Lorain County Community College (Elyria). According to the release, OPOTA's main academy and Tactical Training Center in London will also continue to provide advanced training.
"Our physical reach across the northeast region presents a unique opportunity to provide this training," said Peggy Shadduck, Ph.D., Vice President for Regional Campuses and Dean of the College of Applied and Technical Studies. "We can also begin to examine current policing and community issues, utilizing our resources at Kent State University, which was recently awarded the highest recognition for research universities, the prestigious R1 Carnegie Classification."
Jim Willock, Director, Kent State Police Academy, looks forward to this new role and knows it can advance some of the work the academy has started.
"Last fall, we began holding community conversations to examine relationships between our community and police departments in Trumbull County," Willock said. "We are examining and adding new training that could make us a model for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), and Community Policing Programming."
One of Kent State Trumbull Police Academy's current instructors, Guy Burney, works with the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence in Youngstown and is developing DEI training to familiarize cadets with the culture of poverty, better equipping them to work with people in the community. Vince Peterson, Officer In Charge, Intensive Supervision Probation, Trumbull County Adult Probation Department, has developed training interacting specifically with black males and engagement with underserved populations.
Willock is also working with the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, and others, along with the What You Do Matters Institute in Gilbert, Arizona, to pilot a robust curriculum to ensure the core values of democracy are upheld in the future. "Law Enforcement and Society: The Lessons of the Holocaust" is training for law enforcement leaders emphasizing ethical leadership in law enforcement.
For more information about Kent State's Police Academy, visit https://www.kent.edu/policeacademy.