Criminal Justice Lands Two Grants For Law Enforcement TrainingPublished: October 15, 2013
CSULB’s Center for Criminal Justice was awarded two grants recently from the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to support the eight-week statewide Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute (SLI) and three-week management course for lieutenants and middle-level managers in law enforcement.
The first grant of $2,043,357 runs through July 31, 2014 and the second, worth $353,000, continues through June 30, 2014.
Working in cooperation with POST, the center’s staff provides training to more than 2,000 law enforcement personnel annually in 12 instructional programs. The center, under the umbrella of Henry Fradella, the chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, is operated through the CSULB Foundation.
“The primary function of the CJ Center is to design and present in-service training seminars and conferences that meet the training standards of POST as well as conduct grant funded research and participate in community outreach,” explained Ron Mark, who joined the university as a lecturer in 2005 and became center’s director last summer and comes to CSULB after a 31-year law enforcement career including work for both the Gardena and Signal Hill police departments where he retired this year as a captain. Mark received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice at CSULB.
The Sherman Block SLI represents the Center’s biggest single contract, explained Mark. “The program represents ongoing professional education for sergeants throughout the state of California working as supervisors in various police departments and supervisors in other law enforcement agencies,” he said.
“The SLI program develops supervisors to the next level, offers them a broader range of skills and helps to professionalize them,” said Mark. Designed and implemented in 1988, the Sherman Block SLI program challenges students to learn new ways to resolve issues through group and individual work. The curriculum takes students through an analysis of management (planning, organizing and directing) and leadership (inspiring, challenging and developing) and how each discipline complements the other.
The second grant supports 104 hours of training over three weeks for lieutenants and middle-level managers in law enforcement.
“This represents a big leap from being an hourly supervisor to becoming part of management,” said Mark. “CSULB is not the only provider for the statewide program but we are the largest. Other programs offer about six courses a year but CSULB offered nine in the last budget year and this year there will be 10.”
One reason for the center’s distinction is a long record of achievement, said Mark. “Another big reason is the center’s affiliation with CSULB’s Criminal Justice Department which is renowned throughout the country. Our CJ Center is the premier center to go to. Our Criminal Justice Department is also one of the most impacted departments. There were 1,700 students applying for enrollment this last school year and only 200 were accepted,” he said.
The biggest nexus between the center and CSULB is the number of students they place in the workforce.
“Students come to school to get jobs. We’re well placed in this region to help people get those jobs,” said Mark.
Mark believes the center serves as the university’s ambassador to the law enforcement community. “It is easy to reach out and talk to former colleagues now serving as executives,” he said. “It can range from obtaining research material to creating internships and job opportunities. Many of the local chiefs have opened their doors to the center.”
Participants in the twin programs can expect to study such topics as internal investigations, civil liability, geographic profiling and a two-week field experience course offered at UC Irvine.
“There are smaller departments who do not have crime scene investigators,” he said. “These two grants support instruction in how to better collect evidence. We offer a broad mix of professional training and career development which keep our students busy.”
The center’s Long Beach location is a definite plus.
“Because Los Angeles County is such a densely populated area, the center serves a large population,” said Mark. “Next month, I meet with the Irwindale Police Department to offer assistance in developing their training programs. This builds the CJ Center’s reputation as a law enforcement resource. The CJ Center offers a path to employment in law enforcement whether it is as for police officers, forensic technicians, or other professional positions. In the first weeks of 2013, I met with over 25 police chiefs throughout Los Angeles County. They are eager to work with the CJ Center because they realize what a resource it is.”
The double grants offer validation to the CJ Center, Mark believes. “We have been trusted with a lot of money to run a program with a lot of moving parts,” he said. “We organize sites, students and instructors. These grants offer validation in that they show the confidence imposed in CSULB. This is huge.”