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With all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed, USU Eastern will have a Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)-satellite academy fall semester 2014.
According to March 31’s edition of the Salt Lake Tribune, “The Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council on Thursday  approved the creation of a new police academy at Utah State University Eastern in Price.
M. Scott Henrie, associate professor of criminal justice at USU Eastern, will be the academy’s director. He said the first class will start in August with an estimated 15 to 20 students and could attract future police officers to serve communities throughout Central and Eastern Utah.”
Weber State University, Salt Lake Community College, Utah Valley University and Dixie State University each have satellite academies on their respective campuses. There are none on the Wasatch Front and that’s where USU Eastern criminal justice Associate Professor Scott Henrie will fill the void. He wants students from Vernal to Monticello to have access to USU Eastern’s academy as well as from the Wasatch Front.
Henrie said the state of Utah regulates POST programs and each satellite academy cannot be located within 50 miles of another POST certification program. He secured a letter of support from local law enforcement administrators and submitted a plan to the state of how USU Eastern would run the academy. With three-full binders of POST curriculum on his desk, he is ready to launch the program on the Price campus.
It will be offered in three blocks: SFO (special functions officer), BCO (basic corrections officer) and LEO (law enforcement officer). The SFO and BCO blocks are seven-week programs each. LEO training is more intense and will be 13 weeks long. All classes will be offered five nights per week, four to five hours, with two Saturday trainings.
The program offers six classes in the SFO section, six in the BCO and seven in the LEO. Because the POST academy is offered at USU Eastern, students will be working for a degree and can qualify for financial aid to pay tuition. They will also be counted in the full-time equivalent student count.
“We’re gearing the program for people who need to work during the day and take evening classes,” Henrie said. “Our instructors will be certified POST instructors like Jason Marshall, one of our adjunct faculty who works for the Utah Highway Patrol; he is certified to teach firearms, alcohol enforcement and radar.
POST inspectors have already given the thumbs up during our on-site inspection,” Henrie said. “They believe we offer great facilities with our classrooms, exercise areas, and especially, the firearms facility at the North Springs Shooting Range. One of the WETC buildings at the mouth of Indian Canyon will also be used for a building search class.
“Our campus has been used for POST in-service training for years. Each police officer must complete 40 hours of training each year so this entire pre- and post-service for police officers should prove to be worthwhile.”
Henrie met with the state-wide POST board the end of March as the final piece of the puzzle to begin the program fall semester. He will spend the next five months marketing the program to achieve his goal of between 15 and 25 students in each of the three blocks.
If a student is interested in the program, there is a application process they must go through. They must take a national peace officers selection test. “This is a general aptitude test with a lot of students struggling in math if they have not had a recent math class. They can take the math test as much as possible until they pass it,” Henrie explained.
They also have to pass a physical test with four components: vertical jump, sit ups, push ups and a 1.5 mile run. Henrie is in the process of purchasing an instrument that measures a person’s vertical jump.
After a student completes any POST program, they have one year to obtain employment in any law enforcement field before they lose their ability to be certified.
Criminal justice has been a popular program on the USU Eastern campus. Three sections of 1010 (introduction to criminal justice) were offered with 220 students registered throughout Utah fall semester 2013. Henrie said there are 60-criminal-justice-emphasis students on campus presently. “With our successful criminal justice program, graduates can continue their education at the POST academy on campus.”
The annual summer law enforcement specialty courses will continue with Henrie and Richard Walton, Ed.D., directing the program. “Our hope is to increase our enrollment so we build a specialized criminal justice school where national experts are brought in to offer advanced crime scene investigation.”
“Our eventual goal is to have USU Eastern be the training center for law enforcement in Eastern Utah,” he said.