New program will mentor law enforcement students

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 26, 2021

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Wednesday the launch of a new pilot program that will equip aspiring peace officers with the critical skills necessary for a successful career in law enforcement.

The Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment’s new College to Law Enforcement Pathway Program is an entry-level leadership development program that will operate in partnership between law enforcement agencies and institutions of higher education in Ohio.

The program will pair criminal justice students with law enforcement mentors who will help develop students’ leadership skills and prepare them for a law enforcement career.

This elite honors program will pilot at Cedarville University and Central State University during the upcoming fall semester. The program will be open to qualifying upper-class criminal justice majors, and participants will be guaranteed a job with a partnering law enforcement agency upon graduation.

“Students who graduate from this rigorous professional development program will have great potential to become Ohio’s next generation of law enforcement leaders,” said DeWine. “In a time when many law enforcement agencies are struggling to recruit highly-qualified candidates, this program will create a pool of pre-qualified applicants with a strong understanding of criminal justice issues and the know-how to form positive relationships within their communities.”

Law enforcement agencies that are planning to participate in the pilot project include the Beavercreek Police Department, Dublin Police Department, Fairfield Township Police Department, Fairview Park Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Lancaster Police Department, Lebanon Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Reynoldsburg Police Department, West Chester Police Department and Xenia Police Department.

“This pilot program will be beneficial to all the parties involved,” said Dr. Patrick Oliver, director of Cedarville University’s criminal justice program and lead consultant to the Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment. “The students will graduate from a college program that will develop their ability to lead while being mentored and prepared for a career in law enforcement service, law enforcement agencies will have a pool of highly-qualified applicants and the universities will benefit by having this unique program for criminal justice students.”

At the completion of the pilot, the College to Law Enforcement Pathway Program will expand to other law enforcement agencies, colleges and universities in the state.
DeWine created the Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment in 2020 to assist local law enforcement agencies in recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. The program operates out of the Office of Criminal Justice Services within the Ohio Department of Public Safety.