WARREN – Kent State University and its College of Applied and Technical Studies join four other regional partners to form “OPOTA Close to Home,” a collaboration that expands the reach of Ohio Peace Officer training Training Academy for Ohio law enforcement officers.
According to a press release from the Ohio Attorney General, OPOTA Close to Home reduces costs for law enforcement, allowing them to avoid staffing shortages and reduce overnight costs.
Regional training partners will plan and deliver advanced OPOTA training courses to current police officers and anyone who has completed basic OPOTA training with a certificate.
Kent State University will use all of its regional campuses (Ashtabula, Geauga, Kent, Salem, Stark, Trumbull, Tuscarawas and Twinsburg) and regional law enforcement partners who have specialized facilities such as ranges of firearms.
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 statement, OPOTA’s main academy and tactical training center in London will also continue to provide advanced training.
“Our physical reach in the Northeast region provides a unique opportunity to provide this training,” said Peggy Shadduck, Vice President of Regional Campuses and Dean of the College of Applied and Technical Studies. “We can also begin to examine current police and community issues, using our resources at Kent State University, which recently received the highest honor for research universities, the prestigious R1 Carnegie classification.”
Jim Willock, principal of the Kent State Police Academy, looks forward to this new role and knows he can carry forward some of the work the academy has started.
“Last fall, we began holding community conversations to examine the relationship between our community and the Trumbull County Police Department,” Willock said. “We are reviewing and adding new training that could make us a model for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and community policing programs.”
One of the Kent State Trumbull Police Academy instructors, Guy Burney, works with the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence in Youngstown and develops DEI training to familiarize cadets with the culture of poverty, better equipping them for work with people in the community.
Vince Peterson, Officer in Charge, Intensive Supervision Probation, Trumbull County Adult Probation Department, developed training specifically interacting with Black men and engaging with underserved populations.
Willock is also working with the Cleveland Jewish Federation, Youngstown-area Jewish Federation and others, as well as the What You Do Matters Institute in Gilbert, Arizona, to pilot a robust program to ensure compliance with fundamental values of democracy in the future.
“Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons from the Holocaust” is a training course for law enforcement officials that emphasizes ethical leadership in law enforcement.
Shelley Terry is a reporter for the Star Beacon.