Fitchburg State University President Richard Lapidus and Executive Director of Municipal Police Training Committee Dan Zivkovich sign the articulation agreement between the university and the state’s Municipal Police Training Committee for our “4+1” police concentration program, wherein students can complete their bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as full certification to serve in any municipal police department in the state at the college on Tuesday afternoon.
FITCHBURG — Several years after Fitcburg State University started assembling a police training program that many supporters say is one-of-a-kind, the university made its agreement with the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC) official Tuesday when officials signed a memorandum of understanding.
“I think it provides a set of skills that are not available to many other students who are interested in the policing world,” FSU President Richard S. Lapidus said. “I think we provide these students who come through this program with a real head start in their careers.”
Through the five year program, students earn an undergraduate degree, graduate degree and police certification. Police certification through academies run by the Municipal Police Training Committee, the traditional training for officers in Massachusetts, typically take six intensive months to complete.
During the program run by Fitchburg State University, about a third of the MPTC curriculum is taught in the first four years. Students are expected to complete graduate course work the summer and fall semester of their fifth year before starting MPTC academy work during their last semester.
Program director Lisa Lane said studies show this extra education could translate into officers that excel in certain areas. “The research shows that police officers with higher education tend to use force less as a first resort,” she said. “They tend to be better critical thinkers and problem solvers. They seem to relate more to the world around them.” “It doesn’t mean they’re better police officers because they still have to have tactical ability. They still have to have that intuitive intangible quality.”
The program, which recruited its first students in 2014, now has 96 students enrolled in the program, including 68 freshmen. Lane said the program is on track to have an even larger freshman class next year. Nicole Patterson, a junior, said entering the program while it was still in its early stages was risky, but almost three years later she is happy with her decision. Fitchburg Police Chief Ernest Martineau said he believes the program represents the future of police training. “When these men and women graduate I think its a win for them, but more importantly it’s a win for local communities, because you’re getting a fully trained police officer that has already been vetted through the system at no cost to the community,” he said. Since graduates from the program are already trained, police departments won’t have to pay as much as $20,000 to $30,000 per candidate in wages while they attend a police academy, he said. “When I see their names on the list I’m going to be attracted right to them,” he said. Members of the Leominster, Harvard, Lunenburg, Littleton and Fitchburg State University police departments also attended the ceremony.
Courtesy of the Sentinel & Enterprise
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