OSU-OKC, Oklahoma Department of Public Safety announce educational partnership
School, agency will collaborate on adult education, trooper career awareness and other initiatives
Officials from Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety today announced a new educational partnership between the two entities.
As part of the partnership, Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (OKDPS) employees will have access to Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City’s INSPIRE adult education program, while the school will work to educate its students about career options within OKDPS, specifically sharing information with police science students about the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Leaders from both entities will seek to identify additional partnership opportunities as well, said Brad Williams, President of Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC). One such opportunity, a regional roundtable discussion on the use of unmanned aerial systems for law enforcement and public safety, has already been set for June 21.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer our INSPIRE program to OKDPS employees,” Williams said. “We believe that this partnership to support education and training goals will help Department employees achieve their life goals while strengthening agency work.”
OSU-OKC’s INSPIRE program provides adult learners with personalized counseling and coaching to help them understand the best path forward to a degree. The program aims to help working adults improve their career and earning potential through OSU-OKC’s online and on-campus offerings.
OKDPS Commissioner Rusty Rhoades said he views the partnership as a vehicle to help elevate performance across all branches of the Department.
“Training and education can only enhance the productivity of our employees, and allow them to meet or even exceed their personal and professional objectives,” Rhoades said. “The INSPIRE program allows our employees to evaluate where they stand in terms of their current educational credits, and discovering in some cases they are closer than they realize to achieving a goal they believed was out of reach.”
A secondary aspect of the partnership will provide OSU-OKC students with exposure to OKDPS career options, including careers within the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The Patrol faces several rounds of trooper retirements in the coming years, and OSU-OKC aims to aid OHP in the recruitment of talent for its trooper academy.
Col. Michael S. Harrell, chief of the Patrol, said, “We have reached a critical time over the past several years in terms of trooper numbers. As we move forward with recruitment for what we hope to be multiple academies, this partnership with OSU-OKC is a fundamental component in attracting candidates who will be successful in our rigorous academy and who are in line with the values stated in the Patrol creed.”
Williams said OSU-OKC has the leading police and fire training programs in the state and wants to broaden students’ exposure to careers as first responders at every level.
“With the holistic training students receive at OSU-OKC, graduates are poised to successfully join any agency, from their local police force to a program like the 20-week OHP residential academy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Williams said he expects public safety and law enforcement officials from around the state and region to attend the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) roundtable on June 21. The event, hosted jointly by OSU-OKC and OKDPS, will offer discussions on the use of UAS across a variety of public safety applications, as well as scheduled demonstrations of drone capabilities in search and rescue, hazardous materials, and accident and crime scene imaging and analysis.
The event will include perspectives from AT&T, which is developing drone technology to assist first responders as part of its partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).
The roundtable will be held on the OSU-OKC campus, with free registration offered to up to 200 credentialed public safety professionals. Registration details will be released at a later date.
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