Local students were able to take advantage of a law enforcement training course that prepares them to work as part-time police officers—without having to travel to Vassalboro for two weeks—because of a collaboration between the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the Maine Criminal Justice Academy (MCJA).
The LEPS (Law Enforcement Pre-Service) course is a 3-phase training program through the MCJA that certifies participants to work part-time as police officers in the state, or full-time for up to one year.
Phase I of LEPS is a 40 hour online curriculum. Students must also pass the ALERT test (reading and writing comprehension) and a physical test before starting Phase II of LEPS.
Phase II is an 80 hour in-class curriculum. University officials delivered this course on campus during the spring semester in a two-night-per-week format. This is the first time LEPS Phase II has been delivered in this way in the state since the MCJA moved to a 200 hour curriculum. Typically, students complete Phase II in a concentrated two-week course at the MCJA in Vassalboro.
Fred Thomas, UMPI Manager of Safety, Security and Regulatory Compliance, was integral in working with the MCJA to bring the course to Presque Isle and coordinating logistics. He organized weekly presenters who were certified instructors with the Academy to deliver the curriculum.
Jim Lyman, Director of Curriculum Delivery at the MCJA, visited campus this spring to deliver the final Phase II test. Officials were pleased to deliver Phase II in this way as it opens doors not just for students in the region, but also for people looking to change careers and who do not have the ability to go to the Academy for two weeks.
During his visit, Lyman also delivered the ALERT test to a dozen people, seven of whom were UMPI students.
The four Phase II students passed their final exam with flying colors. They then began working with local police departments to complete Phase III, which is 80 hours of supervised field training.
“There is a huge need for both part-time and full-time certified officers in the state, and in Aroostook County especially, where many small departments rely on reserve or part-time officers, so having this training available up here is of great value to the community as well as our students,” Dr. Lisa Leduc, UMPI Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, said. “We hope to run it again next year with a bigger class.”