Some officers didn't complete course

December 16, 2008|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,justin.fenton@baltsun.com

More than a quarter of Baltimore City police officers the department lauded this month for graduating from a University of Maryland, University College leadership program did not complete their course work and earn the certificate, a school official confirmed yesterday.

Though all of their names were included in an event program and some attended, seven out of the 25 participants "had extenuating circumstances that kept them from completing the certificate in time for graduation, but they were invited to participate anyway," said William Sondervan, director of the college's criminal justice department.

Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the outstanding credit requirements were "minor."

"Training and professional development for officers is among the commissioner's highest priorities, and we are grateful for these opportunities," he wrote in an e-mail.

The participants, several of whom hold undergraduate or graduate degrees, included officers who volunteered or were selected for the course and range in rank from sergeant to major. The 28-week program consisted of four courses; for each course, students met Monday through Friday for one week followed by a six-week online component.

Officers were divided into teams and worked on projects such as a recruitment video and a study of foot patrols. Most of the courses focused on strategic planning and management.

Mayor Sheila Dixon and Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III spoke at a graduation for the officers this month. Bealefeld was not available for comment yesterday.

One officer who enrolled in the program retired, but others did not attend classes or complete course work. Sondervan, a former commissioner for the Maryland Division of Correction, declined to elaborate on the circumstances that prevented the officers from completing the course, and he would not say which officers graduated and which did not.

He said the university hopes to work with the officers so that they'll still have the opportunity to complete the requirements and receive the certificate.

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