The Center for Criminal Justice at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) has received nearly $2.4 million in grants from the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to support a pair of statewide training programs aimed at sergeants, lieutenants and middle-level managers in law enforcement.
The largest of the two grants, $2.04 million, represents the biggest single contract ever for the center, and it will be used to present an eight-week Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute (SLI). The SLI is an ongoing professional education opportunity for sergeants throughout the state working as supervisors in various police departments and supervisors in other law enforcement agencies.
“The SLI program develops supervisors to the next level, offers them a broader range of skills and helps to professionalize them,” explained Ron Mark, who became director of the Center for Criminal Justice this past summer and comes to CSULB after a 31-year law enforcement career. Mark also received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from CSULB, the latter in 1990. He joined the university as a lecturer in 2005.
Designed and implemented in 1988, the Sherman Block SLI program challenges its students to learn new ways to resolve issues through group and individual work. The curriculum takes participants through an analysis of management (planning, organizing and directing) and leadership (inspiring, challenging and developing) and how each discipline complements the other. The CSULB center offers about 18 sessions of the SLI program each year.
The second grant, worth $353,000, will support 104 hours of training over three weeks for lieutenants and middle-level managers in law enforcement. “This represents a big leap from being an hourly supervisor to becoming part of management,” said Mark. “CSULB is not the only provider for the statewide program but we are the largest. Other programs offer about six courses a year but CSULB offered nine in the last budget year and this year there will be 10.”
Mark believes the double grants are a vote of confidence in the center and what it does. “We have been trusted with a lot of money to run a program with a lot of moving parts,” he noted. “We organize sites, students and instructors. These grants offer validation in that they show the confidence imposed in CSULB. It really is a big deal.”
Working in cooperation with POST, the Center for Criminal Justice staff includes judges, attorneys, law enforcement managers, forensic experts, crime analysts and profilers who provide training to more than 2,000 law enforcement personnel annually in 12 instructional programs.
The primary function of the center is to design and present in-service training seminars and conferences that meet the training standards of POST as well as conduct grant funded research and participate in community outreach.
Mark believes the Center for Criminal Justice serves as the university’s ambassador to the law enforcement community. “It is easy to reach out and talk to former colleagues now serving as executives,” he said. “It can range from obtaining research material to creating internships and job opportunities. Many of the local chiefs have opened their doors to the center, not only in terms of placing students, but by providing data and offering research opportunities.
“The center offers a path to employment in law enforcement whether it is for police officers, forensic technicians, or other professional positions,” he added. “In the first weeks of 2013, I met with more than 25 police chiefs throughout Los Angeles County. (Recently), I met with the Irwindale Police Department to offer assistance in developing their training programs. They are eager to work with the center because they realize what a resource it is.”
In the coming years, Mark would like to see the Center for Criminal Justice focus on additional grant funded research opportunities.
“The additional funding would allow more opportunities for students and faculty and would improve both training and continuing education for the criminal justice professionals that we serve,” he explained. “It also benefits the criminal justice system, our local communities, and improves the quality of life for our communities.”