MIAMI VALLEY — Two Miami Valley universities are piloting a new police recruitment program designed to bring more women and minority officers to the force in cities across the state.
Cedarville University and Central State University will be the first to take part in the state’s new “College To Law Enforcement Pathway Program,” unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Mike DeWine. DeWine spoke at the Ohio Department of Public Safety Building in Columbus, flanked by officers from multiple police agencies from around the state.
“This program is to recruit law enforcement candidates and equip them with the skills they need for a successful career before they ever put on a badge,” DeWine said.
Under the program, a junior or senior college student majoring in criminal justice will be paired with a police department mentor who will help them learn about what it takes to be a police officer. Later, when they graduate, the student will be guaranteed a job in the department they studied with. Patrick Oliver of Cedarville University said it will benefit both the student and the police department. And it will help solve a continuing problem departments face.
“We want more women and minorities in law enforcement. This is a law enforcement leadership entry-level program for college students,” Oliver said.
Local agencies taking part in the program include police departments in Beavercreek and Xenia. Captain Steve Lane said he is anxious to see how it works out.
“Only time will tell how fruitful it is. We’re excited to be a part of something new and creative. The prospect of having a group of candidates we haven’t had up to this point,” Lane said.
Students majoring in criminal justice may already be headed in the direction of a career in police work, but Oliver said this will be a more focused pipeline to bring the best candidates to local agencies. During his announcement of the program, DeWine noted that this is a challenging time to be a police officer.
“This is not an easy time for law enforcement. It is incumbent on us in government and the public to make sure that law enforcement has all the tools they need,” DeWine said.
The program begins this fall and already it has attracted the attention of other police departments and larger schools, including Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati.
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