Professional development is key to workplace success; in policing it’s vital.
“In this field, you have to make sure you keep up with your continuing education hours,” said Sgt. Arthur Hopson with the Marion Police Department as he was readying to take the Subject Control Techniques class at Meridian Community College’s Workforce Development Center.
Meridian Community College's part-time law enforcement academy recently offered continuing education for Marion Police officers in the area of subject control. “MCC is always excited to partner with the City of Marion, the City of Meridian, the Lauderdale County Sherriff Department, and neighboring areas to meet these needs," said Joseph Knight, MCC dean for business and community development.
To continue to keep a license as a law enforcement officer with the state of Mississippi, an officer must take 20 to 24 hours a year of continuing education classes about law enforcement.
Marion Chief of Police Randall Davis said he was pleased with the opportunity for his officers to take continuing education classes at MCC. “We are fortunate to be able to do this. I think more agencies should do it,” Davis said. “It’s good for us.”
Hopson joined his fellow Marion Police Department officers, Corp. James McCarty and Patrolmen Tracy Hill-Watts, Cloist Jimison and Todd Null at the MCC-Riley Workforce Development Center for training.
McCarty, who has been working part-time with the Marion Police Department for nearly 20 years, said it was very convenient to come to MCC. “A majority of us have other jobs, and it’s kind of hard to get (the continuing education) classes in,” he said. “MCC has always helped out in any way they can. We appreciate what they do to try to help us.”
“I think education is key,” said Hill-Watts, especially when it comes to continuing education in gaining new perspectives. “The more education you receive, the more prepared you are,” she said. Hill-Watts, who is a military veteran, has been policing for nearly three decades. “So basically, I’ve been in public service my entire life. I believe in serving the public and community policing,” she added.
When asked if coming to MCC to take classes was convenient, she said, “absolutely. If you live in Meridian, it’s right up the street, right?”
Another career law enforcement officer who has been serving the Marion Police Department for 10 months as a part-time patrolman, Jimison said policing is a way of life for him, a field he knows. “I like to assist the public in any form or fashion. I just like helping people,” he said. Gaining the skills to continue to serve the public at the Workforce Development Center was beneficial. “This is a nice place to come for a class … a quiet environment,” Jimison added.
Null, who is an alumnus of MCC, has been working part-time with the Marion Police Department for two months and has served in law enforcement for more than 25 years. “You’ve got this professional license that you have to keep it up or lose it,” he said.
Davis noted the benefits for law enforcement officers taking the training classes at MCC is multi-fold: Participants get quality training as well as the hours needed and are refreshed on the latest policy and procedures. “It’s a triple win for us,” he said. “If you need to follow up and ask questions from the speaker at a later date, you can catch them locally,” he added.
The next part-time law enforcement academy will begin July 9; the registration deadline is June 7 and will include the opportunity for local law enforcement officers to participate in continued education training. For more information, contact Lynne Carey, MCC workforce project manager, at 601.481.1300, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit online by clicking here.
Meridian Public Safety Academy (MPSA) is a joint partnership of Meridian/Lauderdale County Public Safety Training Facility and Meridian Community College. MPSA is recognized by the Mississippi Board on Law Enforcement Officers’ Standards and Training as a Level 2 Academy and offers part-time and refresher law enforcement training, detention officer training and defensive tactics training for the officers of Mississippi. In addition to certification by the State of Mississippi, graduating officers also receive Continuing Education Credits from MCC.