Beginning this summer Appalachian State will embark on a new program and in the process become only the second university in the country to do so.
The “Appalachian State University Police Development Program” is designed to be a two-year program in which full-time Appalachian students will work part-time for the Appalachian State Police Department. The program is open for all Appalachian State University full-time students (undergraduate or graduate students), regardless of academic major. Those selected to the program will be paid an hourly wage for all work performed.
Andy Stephenson, Director of Public Safety/Chief of ASU Police, tells WataugaOnline.com, “Our goals are to expand and improve the relationships between the police department and the community, provide an unprecedented job market advantage to students who participate in our program, affordably increase the number of personnel employed by the Appalachian State Police Department to assist with police and security coverage of the campus and the many large events that occur on campus, and to get involved from a higher education perspective in training and developing diverse, educated, well-trained police officers.”
After graduating from the program, Appalachian students entering the criminal justice system job market will have two years of work experience in policing, bachelor's or graduate degrees, NC policing certification and training, and the exposure to different races, cultures, ideas, beliefs, etc, that enrollment at a higher education institution can provide.
Stephenson also notes, “Though this year is slightly different since we are beginning our Appalachian State University Police Academy (BLET) this summer, we will take student applications to the program throughout the year. Every spring semester, we will compile our applications and conduct a hiring process for police cadets. Those selected as police cadets will report for work every August, a couple of weeks before classes begin, for cadet training, which will consist of first aid/AED/CPR certification, communication skills training, diversity training, de-escalation training, active shooter/aggressor training, and training specific to the Appalachian State Police Department.”
Following this initial training, police cadets will work civilian security assignments on campus ranging from building security to special events on campus.
“Following an academic year, sometimes two, as a police cadet, cadets will attend our Appalachian State University Police Academy, which we will hold every summer on the App State campus (our police academy is managed in partnership with the Caldwell Community College BLET program).”Stephenson goes on to say.
Once cadets graduate from the police academy, they will be certified police officers in NC and continue working for ASU Police as part-time police officers until earning their academic degrees. Part-time police officers will conduct specific foot patrol assignments on campus and assist with providing adequate police coverage of events on campus. Police cadets and part-time police officers will work an average of 12-20 hours per week.
In that two groups of police cadets are being hired this year, those who meet the age requirement will attend the academy this summer and become part-time police officers in the fall without ever having served for an academic year as a police cadet. Those who do not meet the age requirement to attend the academy this summer will report for work in August as described above. Those students will comprise the police academy class in the summer of 2019.
There is no cost to student participants. Uniforms, equipment, and training are provided by the Appalachian State Police Department. Police instructors from the Appalachian State Police Department and other instructors from around the state will provide instruction during the police academy. “We're very fortunate to have fantastic partners from around the state who are very eager to assist in providing the finest instruction and training environment possible for our police academy students.” Stephenson added.
Stephenson went on to say, “Policing is a profession in need of leaders, thinkers, and innovative ideas to facilitate positive reform. Institutions of higher education must get involved and play a role in shaping the future of the profession. Our Police Development Program will have a significant, positive impact on policing and the criminal justice system in our region and throughout North Carolina. Appalachian students will be the policing leaders of tomorrow.”
This is the second program of its kind in the country. Indiana University has a similar program that has been in place since 1972. Stephenson is a graduate of that program.
Applications for the positions are available for students at careergear.appstate.edu.