Officers of the Salina Police Department will begin teaching classes at Salina South High School during the 2018-19 school year, under an agreement signed Monday between the City of Salina and Salina Area Technical College.
Under the terms of the agreement, the city will provide two on-duty officers who will each teach five hours of classes weekly during the 2018-19 school year. Salina Tech will pay the city $3,600 per semester.
The Police Science classes the officers will teach are part of a new Public Safety Pathway being offered to juniors and seniors in the Salina School District. Students in this pathway also have the option of focusing on Fire Science, which will be taught by Salina firefighters.
While the classes are taught at South High, they are open to Central High students as well.
Individual classes in the Police Science focus of the pathway include “Introduction to Criminal Justice” for juniors, and “Law Enforcement Operations and Procedures,” “Criminal Procedures,” “Criminal Investigations” and “Criminal Justice Interview and Report Writing” for seniors.
Classes in the Fire Science focus include “Introduction to Fire Science” for juniors, and “Wildland Firefighting for Structural Firefighters,” “HazMat for First Responders,” “Firefighter I” and “Firefighter II” for seniors.
Students who complete the Pathway will have earned at least 24 college credit hours through Salina Tech, as well as elective credits that count towards their high school graduation requirements.
The State of Kansas will pay the students’ tuition for most of the classes through the Kansas Excel in CTE program (CTE stands for Career and Technical Education). Under an agreement signed with the Salina School District in October, Salina Tech agreed to waive tuition for classes not covered by the Excel in CTE program.
Stephani Johns-Hines, Vice President of Instruction at Salina Tech, said that while there are other high schools in Kansas that offer Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security Pathways, this is the only concurrent credit model to her knowledge that operates in the high school, taught by subject matter experts from local agencies, and supported by the city and other local agencies. That makes it an extremely effective use of area resources with potential to keep students local, reinvesting into the community.
Johns-Hines said the Kansas Highway Patrol and Salina Airport Authority will provide resources to the program as well, such as lessons on airport security screenings.
The Salina School District first identified the need for a Public Safety Pathway in 2011, when a Career and Technical Education task force was working on ways the district could prepare students for careers that are in demand locally. The task force determined that firefighting and law enforcement were among the four highest priorities.
Upon graduating from high school, students who pursue the Fire Science option and are 18 years of age will be eligible to take the state’s fire science certification test. Upon passing the test, they’ll be eligible to be hired as firefighters in Salina and elsewhere around the state.
Kansas requires law enforcement officers be at least 21, but graduates of the Police Science option will be able to work in other capacities, such as corrections officers. They will also be able to continue their education at Salina Tech, earning an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Police Science, which Johns-Hines expects the college to offer beginning in the spring of 2018.
Salina Tech was founded in 1965, and now has 14 full-time programs in which students can pursue either a Technical Certificate or an Associate of Applied Science degree. It also offers numerous short-term classes throughout the year. The New York-based Aspen Institute has ranked Salina Tech in the top 10 percent of community colleges nationwide five consecutive times, and the Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked the college fifth in the nation among two-year colleges based on its graduation rate.
Story by Mike Strand / Salina Area Technical College
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