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Ohio law enforcement program will get quality recruits

Ohio residents have had plenty of reason to hope for improved education and recruitment for law enforcement in recent years. It appears as though a pilot program at Cedarville and Central State universities might be moving us in the right direction.

Last year, Gov. Mike DeWine introduced the College to Law Enforcement Pathway Program. Cedarville and Central State will begin in the upcoming spring and fall semesters to implement it. It will be open to qualifying upper-class criminal justice majors, and create a pool of pre-qualified, college-educated, mentored law enforcement candidates who are guaranteed a job partnering with law enforcement agencies 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,” DeWine said. “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.”

Pre-qualification is about more than just grades, though students do need to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA. Those who wish to be part of the program must demonstrate a history of compliance with the core values of integrity, service orientation, human relations skills, team compatibility, performance-driven and self-control.

There is more after that. If they get past the first part of the process, there are psychological exams, background checks and other means of determining the students’ fitness for serving in law enforcement.

“This program is a win-win-win,” said Patrick Oliver, director of Cedarville University’s criminal justice program. “College students are developed, mentored and guaranteed a job; police agencies get top-quality hires, and the participating universities have a distinctive honors program that places their criminal justice majors in jobs after college.”

Getting high-quality recruits into our law enforcement agencies should give those who are dedicated to serve and protect our communities the help they need. That is a win for Ohioans, too.

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