25 officers finish college program


December 06, 2008|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,justin.fenton@baltsun.com

Twenty-five Baltimore police officers graduated with certificates in criminal justice leadership from the University of Maryland University College yesterday, the first class to complete a new program that provides management skills to working officers.

As part of the 28-week course, the officers worked on projects that would directly benefit the department, such as a recruitment video that was aired before the graduation ceremony. One group studied how to implement foot patrols, and another examined how to centralize the city's surveillance camera operations.

"In the past, on-the-job training was for the most part sufficient for a lot of our first responders. That is no longer the case," said Susan C. Aldridge, president of UMUC.

Credit earned from the four courses, which were taught at the university's Elkridge location, can be applied toward an undergraduate degree. Officials said Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III approached the university with the idea, part of a host of training initiatives he has spearheaded since taking over the department last year. Bealefeld is implementing the projects that officers developed as part of the program.

The officers - including homicide Lt. Lenny Willis and Lt. Matthew Johnson, who heads the camera program - said the courses were rigorous and helped them forge tighter bonds with their colleagues in the agency. Those enrolled included sergeants, lieutenants and deputy majors, many of whom were hand-picked to participate. During the program, one of them, Anthony Brown, was promoted to major and now heads the city's Southwestern District.

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