The Detroit Police Department is teaming up with Cleary University and Wayne County Community College District on two educational programs to help officers further their education while on the job as well as help prime young Detroiters for a career in law enforcement.
The program with Wayne County Community College District will teach high school students police tactics, criminal justice policy and weapons training as early as freshman year. The college will provide weapons certification and real-time simulation training.
According to Police Chief James White, 124 students from the charter high school Detroit Public Safety Academy are enrolled and are taking classes, with the goal of graduating with an associate’s degree. Through another educational pathway, adult students who are not in high school and are seeking a law enforcement certificate can pursue the certificate in preparation of joining the police academy. When they do, he says, they’ll be able to complete the program more quickly while keeping full-time jobs to provide for their families.
“We’re going to impact crime in many different ways. We’re going to bring it down with patrols, but when you change lives, when you change behavior and give people options, we will also impact crime.” —James White, Detroit Police Department
“We’re going to impact crime in many different ways. We’re going to bring it down with patrols, but when you change lives, when you change behavior and give people options, we will also impact crime,” White says.
Wayne County Community College Chancellor Curtis Ivery says the school has one of the largest law enforcement programs in the state.
“We’re only second to Michigan State in terms of the number of students that we graduate through our criminal justice program,” Ivery says.
Mayor Mike Duggan says the program should make it easier for Detroit to hire officers and improve career opportunities for young residents.
“If we want to build the kind of police department that this city can be proud of, we need to have men and women who come from this community, who know this community, who stay and live in this community,” he says.
The programs will be available at the district’s Northwest Campus near the Southfield Freeway and Outer Drive. High school students who participate in the program also will be able to join DPD’s summer internship program.
Partnership with Cleary University
Cleary University is offering students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in diversity, leadership and public safety. The Howell-based college is teaching the night classes, which are discounted and tailored to the schedules of full-time employees.
“This department is as complex as any other organization in Detroit,” says Cleary University President Alan Drimmer. “It needs leadership. It needs strategy. It needs finance, customer orientation, operations.”
Cleary University is offering different education tracks depending on the officer’s experience. Drimmer says Cleary also offers graduate degrees for officers who are seeking further education. The classes meet weekly at DPD’s Training Academy.
White says the police department is “a multimillion-dollar business” and underscored the need for officers to have the proper education to be able to do their jobs.
“To have these new leaders out there prepared to manage this business, manage personnel, look at diversity and equity and inclusion as part of our normal fabric of our organization is imperative, particularly when we find ourselves in the times that we’re in as a law enforcement agency,” says White.
“Credibility in policing with the community is paramount to the success of any policing organization.”
White says about 100 officers are already enrolled.
“We are going to support them as they work to achieve their educational goals. This leadership will avail every opportunity to be flexible, to provide them opportunities to train in our facilities and to give them the time needed to attain their education,” White says.