CSU Teams With Police Dept. To Offer Scholarships for New Officers

COLUMBUS --- To address a growing community need for more and better-educated police officers, Columbus State University has teamed with the Columbus Police Department to offer $75,000 in scholarships to further the education of new officers.

The Columbus Police Department has always placed a great emphasis on education. For many years, the minimum amount of college education accepted for employment was 90 quarter hours or 63 semester hours, which would be considered equivalent to an associate degree.

On March 1 of this year, Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren agreed to consider for employment anyone who had a high school degree or a general equivalency degree. But in order for the new officer to complete a probationary period, he or she would have to show continual progress toward an associate degree. To help those officers continue their education, Columbus State University President Frank Brown suggested CSU step forward with what will be called the Columbus Police Partnership Scholarship, or CPPS.

Because of our generous supporters in this community, we can commit $25,000 a year, for three years, in scholarships for Columbus Police officers who need additional education, Brown said. Columbus State prides itself on its partnership role in Columbus. What better time to continue the existing partnership between the city and CSU than now, in this time when the city is facing such a serious problem recruiting and retaining police officers.

The police department has been struggling for years to fill its open positions with qualified officers. As of today, there are 29 vacant police officer positions, despite 95 applications submitted for employment last year. Since the college requirements were waived this year, the department already ha obtained 108 applications.

Im pleased to have the opportunity to enter into a partnership with Columbus State University, Boren said. Their assistance with financial support for the continued education of our police officers, and their high educational standards, will benefit the city as a whole. I appreciate their strong dedication to service in our community.

Most local law enforcement officers already get their certification training at CSU through the Regional Law Enforcement Training Center on campus. With the new scholarship program in place, CSU Criminal Justice Department Chair Dorinda Dowis has been working with CPD representatives for weeks to create new course offerings this fall that will be of particular use in the field to new officers. Some possibilities include police ethics and professionalism, interpersonal communication, constitutional issues and law and report writing.

We are collaborating closely with the Columbus Police Department to add to our academic offerings in a way that will be beneficial to both our current students, and the new officers we are hoping to entice into Columbus and into college with this scholarship, Dowis said. The CSU Criminal Justice Department has developed a prestigious reputation for educating future practitioners of the criminal justice system and this scholarship allows us to continue that tradition in the law enforcement field specifically.

Columbus Mayor Bob Poydasheff, who oversees the citys public safety operations, praised the scholarship program and partnership.

We are not compromising our educational standards for the police department, Mayor Poydasheff said. We are simply allowing new recruits to get the required credits while they are serving on the force. And CSU is giving us a wonderful boost in our recruitment efforts by offering the scholarship. We are very grateful. Its in the great tradition of partnership that has spurred our progress in so many ways.

###

For more information, contact Dorinda Dowis, chair of the Columbus State University Criminal Justice Department at (706) 568-2057, or Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren at (706) 653-3100.