Dispelling any notions that an online program may be "easier," Harvey Hedden, executive director of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), says that "you're probably going to do more work on your own than you will in a classroom where it's more of a directed lecture. An online program that has you seek out information, in some cases, helps you learn."
By Jonathan Kozlowski Online programs are similar to brick-and- mortar institutions, yet offer unique advantages scheduled classes and uncomfortable desks can’t P osted in the summer of 2009 on Officer.com, in her article “Street Smart vs. Book Smart,” Michelle Perin writes that in 1973, the National Advisory gone through a number of hours of training, universities do make the appropriate accommodations. A number of credit hours for a degree can be credited pending approval of the Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals university. CSU, for example, allows an officer or deputy to requested a national minimum education level of at least “bring in” 21 hours of college credit toward a bachelor’s pro- a four-year college degree. gram and 12 towards an associate degree. Similarly, Liberty “While the number of officers that have degrees today University Online (LUO), a Christian-based institution, is not firmly known,” says Louis Mayo, executive director offers its officers credit taking life experiences into account. of the Police Association for College Education (PACE), “We do what we can to maximize their transfer cred- “it is estimated between 25 and 30 percent of police offi- it,” says Wendy Morales, director of Online Marking cers today have a Bachelor of Arts degree or higher.” for LUO. “This essentially minimizes the amount of A common situation for many working officers is a tuition they are going to have to pay and helps someone difficulty to attend class with an unstable schedule, leav- graduate that much faster.” ing the online option. Questions can quickly outnumber She explains that a student who has gone through the answers — leaving a blank cursor blinking on your basic law enforcement training can receive up to 14 cred- favorite search engine. its automatically, while any federal law enforcement train- “I guess you really need to start by understanding there ing can earn additional credits. Morales adds that addi- is a difference between training and education,” explains tional credits are awarded to U.S. Border Patrol agents. Kim Clay, dean of the College of Safety and Emergency Constance St. Germain-Driscoll, director of the Services at Columbia Southern University (CSU). He sees Criminal Justice and Legal Studies of the American training as more of a hands-on learning experience while Public University System (APUS), explains how the education leans more toward the theory-based elements. university’s credit transfer works: “The credit transfer service looks at their work so a student can submit, for Recognition for your work example, any certificates of courses they’ve taken or Understanding the working law enforcement officer has any programs they’ve been through. APUS also has a 18 Law Enforcement Technology ■ March 2010 ■ www.officer.com number of articulation agreements degree and associate degree are online program may be “easier,” with police academies, so when typically around 120 and 60 credits Harvey Hedden, executive direc- they finish training there, we know respectively, much the same as a tra- tor of the International Law that the student has already earned ditional brick-and-mortar university. Enforcement Educators and a certain number of credits toward Trainers Association (ILEETA), their degree.” De-scheduling work says that “you’re probably going In perspective, a full bachelor’s Dispelling any notions that an to do more work on your own than you will in a classroom where A SURPRISE IN it’s more of a directed lecture. An online program that has you seek out information, in some cases, EVERY PACKAGE helps you learn.” He continues, “The biggest benefit from an online program is scheduling.” Officers will be able to DRUGS work on their classes around their rotating shifts, court days or s
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