Southeastern Community College and the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) finalized an articulation agreement that allows officers who graduate from the Law Enforcement Academy to earn 15 semester hours of SCC credit towards a two year degree.
Major Darren Grimshaw of the Burlington Police Department originally approached SCC Criminal Justice Instructor Cindy Shireman about pursuing an agreement in November 2012. After spending some time ironing out the details, SCC and ILEA officials approved the proposal.
“This agreement allows officers to earn the education necessary for career promotion within the department, but more importantly, it improves their critical thinking and communication skills,” says Grimshaw.
Grimshaw, a graduate of SCC, believes that the agreement with SCC offers an ideal solution for officers who have not completed their degree for one reason or another.
Shireman says that even before the agreement was finalized, there was a buzz of interest from around the area. “The day I delivered the articulation agreement to Major Grimshaw he said he already had two officers interested in the program.”
Then just days after Grimshaw distributed the agreement specifics to area law enforcement agencies, Shireman got an inquiry from the Lee County Sheriff’s Department.
“Other community colleges in Iowa have agreements with the ILEA for officers to earn college credit. Cindy and I both agree this is a great incentive for officers to pursue their degree,” Grimshaw adds.
According to Shireman, recruits must complete approximately 400 hours of coursework at the academy in order to become officers. The courses at the academy cover much of the same materials in SCC’s Criminal Justice classes. The areas of overlap are where SCC is able to offer the college credit.
Shireman believes that the partnership is a great benefit to SCC’s Criminal Justice program. Active officers who enroll will bring their first-hand, practical knowledge and perspectives to the class thereby enriching the learning experience for all students.
“Officers can share their experiences and talk about the skills necessary to get a position in their field, and how they handle challenging situations on the job,” explains Shireman.
When it comes to job prospects, Shireman says there are great opportunities in southeast Iowa for students with a two year criminal justice degree.
“Students from the program have been hired as correctional officers in jails and prisons, caseworkers in juvenile residential treatment centers, loss prevention officers, police officers, and special education associates in local schools,” adds Shireman.
For more information about the agreement and Criminal Justice program at SCC, please contact Cindy Shireman at 319-208-5232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.