California State University, Long Beach
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Law Enforcement Training Efforts

Published: December 5, 2016

CSULB’s Center for Criminal Justice recently was awarded four contracts totaling $2.4 million by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).

The goal of the four contracts is to train in-service law enforcement personnel on topics as varied as leadership to forensic science, said center director Ron Mark, a member of the university since 2005 and a graduate of CSULB with a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice.

Mark believes one reason for the center’s recognition is its long-established relationship with POST. “I believe California is one of about eight states that reimburses law enforcement agencies for advanced officer training,” he said. “On top of the contracts, the center runs a number of additional training courses for POST. Some are fairly large such as the course on Internal Affairs and Mental Health Awareness for Law Enforcement. The Mental Health Awareness for law enforcement class was the first course in the state to comply with Senate Bill 29 and Senate Bill 11. We run a very efficient shop.”

Working in cooperation with POST, the center’s staff of attorneys, law enforcement managers, forensic experts, crime analysts and subject matter experts provide training to more than 2,000 law enforcement personnel annually. Operated through the CSULB Foundation, the center is under the umbrella of the Department of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management (CCJEM) in the College of Health and Human Services.

“The primary function of the CJ Center is to design and present in-service training seminars that meet the training standards of POST as well as conduct grant-funded research and participate in community outreach,” said Mark, who became the center director in 2013 and arrived at CSULB after a 31-year law enforcement career that included work for both the Gardena and Signal Hill police departments where he retired as a captain.

The first contract, the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute (SLI), represents the center’s biggest single contract, said Mark. “The program represents ongoing professional education for sergeants in various police departments and supervisors in other law enforcement agencies,” he said.

The SLI grant at $1.6 million is POST’s premier leadership course and is its most intensive course lasting eight months.

“The students attend once a month and the courses are run throughout the state,” he said. “CSULB runs 15 SLI classes and is a substantial commitment because it is a three-day, live-in course. It’s pretty intensive.”

Also awarded is a contract for $217,000 to support the Executive Development Course, a contract for $376,000 to support a POST Management Course, and a final contract for $137,000 as part of POST’s Instructor Development Institute to offer an Academy Instructor Certificate.

“The Executive Development Course is open to all middle managers and is mandated for every police chief and sheriff,” he explained. “The AICC certification course is part of a series of classes aimed at teachers in any law enforcement field. “This is a mandatory course for any educator that wishes to teach in a police academy.”

The training pays off for its many participants, Mark believes. “Having been in law enforcement myself for 30 years, I feel these training courses improve the profession,” he said. “This is how we help law enforcement to grow as a profession. The center employs approximately 150 instructors ranging from law enforcement officers, chiefs of police and subject matter experts, as well as city managers.”

Training is the key to success in a law enforcement career, according to Mark. “It’s like anything else,” he said. “If you want to be good at your profession, you have to attend continual training. California is one of the few states that reimburses state agencies for law enforcement training and POST helps to supplement the training budgets of these police agencies.”

The center continues to grow, recently beginning corrections training for Standards for Training and Corrections (STC).

“STC regulates correctional facilities like county jails,” he said. “We train probation officers throughout the state. We also offer nationwide training here. We receive students who are working professionals from other states and even other countries. We have had students from Sweden, Chile and Canada. The department of Homeland Security also sends personnel.”

Mark encourages law enforcement professionals to continue their training at CSULB’s Center for Criminal Justice, Research and Training, noting that courses are offered on a continual basis and rated not only by the university but by the students.

“With the assistance of Dr. (Brenda) Vogel we are partnering with CCJEM and helping to open up internships with local criminal justice agencies and job paths for our students,” he added. “Last year, we built a CSI class for our students modeled after the course that we give to working Crime Scene Investigators. It runs as a separate certificate course on Saturdays. At least six of the last class of 40 were placed in jobs or internships. It is a great class taught by working professionals and gaining recognition.”

The center’s Long Beach location is a definite plus simply because of its proximity to Los Angeles and Orange counties, enabling it to serve a large population.

“I recently met with POST on their joint project with the State Attorney General’s Office on Principled Policing,” said Mark. “We are part of the group that will be evaluating this state wide course. We sit on several POST committees that govern state wide law enforcement training and we helped develop law enforcement mental health awareness training as mandated by Senate Bills 29 and 11.

“In the upcoming years, I would like to see the CJ Center focus on additional grant funded research opportunities and expanded training offerings,” he added. “The additional funding would allow more opportunities for students and faculty and would improve both training and continuing education for the criminal justice professionals that we serve. This also benefits the criminal justice system, our local communities and improves the quality of life for our communities.”