New Post as Dean of Schools of Public and Social Services Education at Ivy Tech Community College

Here is the big announcement

The Weinblatt family is off to new adventures as I have been offered and have accepted a terrific new opportunity that allows me to
serve students and faculty in the vital community college arena while still preserving my existing business of The Cop Doc LLC and related ventures such as Police Reserve Officer.com.

I was called while I was giving a keynote speech to a police conference in the Boston area and told that, following interviews,
presentations, and screenings, I was selected as the top candidate for the position of Dean of the School of Public and Social Services and the School of Education for Ivy Tech Community College Central Indiana in Indianapolis, IN.

This followed several hurdles including an all day marathon of meetings I had in Indianapolis at Ivy Tech Community College with different
stakeholders including a formal open forum presentation to the college on my vision for the deans post if I were selected, as well as separate interviews with the program chairs that report to this dean position, other deans, the incumbent dean (twice), the vice chancellor of academic affairs (twice), and the chancellor (who used to be the chief academic officer at the very respected
Valencia Community College in Orlando, FL).

Ivy Tech Community College Central Indiana is one of the largest, respected, and well-known community colleges in the country with approx. 35,000 students.

The Dean of the School of Public and Social Services and the School of Education oversees program chairs, faculty, and staff (as well as deans office administrative staff) in the following areas:

School of Public and Social Services Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, Emergency Management, Hospitality Administration, Human Services, Library Technical Assistant, Mortuary Science, Paralegal Studies, and Public Safety Technology.

School of Education Early Childhood Education and Education.

The Dean reports to the chief academic officer who in turn reports to the colleges chief executive.

After subsequent reference and background checks, I have since been formally offered this really terrific opportunity and I told them that I am honored to accept. The even better news is that (as is customary in colleges) I will be able to keep my The Cop Doc LLC business operating albeit with some time constraints. If anything, as one person pointed out to me early on, the Dean position gives my expertise an enhanced level of credibility.

Here is the announcement that was just put out by the vice chancellor of academic affairs who is the chief academic officer:

It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Dr.
Richard Weinblatt to the position of Dean of the School of Public and Social
Services & Education. Dr. Weinblatt earned his Doctor of Education in
Educational Leadership – Higher Education Administration from Argosy University
in Sarasota, Florida. Most recently he has served as Director of the Public
Safety Institute at Central Ohio Technical College and prior to that as Program
Manager and Professor for the Criminal Justice Institute at Seminole Community
College in Sanford, Florida. He has been active in criminal justice classrooms
since 1997. He also is the principal consultant for The COP DOC, LLC, a
consulting service in the area of law Enforcement.

I am sure that you
will all join me in welcoming Dr. Weinblatt to the College.

This is just a fantastic opportunity to serve! We (Anne, Michael, and I) have been scrambling on housing, movers, etc. and expect to
drive out to Indianpolis on Friday, December 9, 2011. The other good news is that Annes company recognizes her value and loyalty and has graciously allowed her to telecommute from Indianapolis. Its just a win-win for everyone and we are very lucky with the way it has all turned out.

This is just a terrific opportunity to make a difference within a large, nationally respected community college arena and it is a natural career progression.

Thank you again to all of our friends, clients, and colleagues in Orlando and elsewhere. We appreciate your continued support as the Ivy Tech Community College Dean adventure begins and The Cop Doc LLC business continues on.

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Mass. Reserve Conference A Success

It was an enthusiastic crowd that took in the training and speeches and helped to make the 2011 Massachusetts Volunteers in Policing (VIPS) conference a success. The brainchild of Framingham, MA, Police Auxiliary Captain Marc Spigel, the November 12 and 13 conference at the suburban Boston Beechwood Hotel in Worcester, MA, brought together the top minds in law enforcement training and reserve law enforcement.

Police reserve expert and author Dr. Richard Weinblatt delivered the evening keynote speech on the sometimes contentious relationship between volunteers and full-timers. The conference purchased copies of Dr. Weinblatts book The Cop Docs Classic Writings on Police Reserves and distributed copies to each conference attendee.

Nationally known VIPS expert Denver Police Lieutenant Matt Murray, who has overseen that agencys successful volunteer law enforcement program, lead a dynamic afternoon presentation on starting and growing a volunteer police program. Lt. Murray, the Denver Police Departments public information officer and aid to the Police Chief, entertained and informed as he dazzled the crowd with the tricks of his trade.

The weekends continued activities moved over to the Boylestown Police Academy as training from some of Massachusetts top subject matter experts took center stage. Volunteers and part-time officers were given top-notch training in firearms, defensive tactics, officer survival, and other related subject areas.

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Florida Police Reserve Auxiliary Training Certification: Are They OK?

As a former police chief who ran a basic criminal justice academy in Florida, I often get questions on how to become a Florida certified and trained reserve or auxiliary police officer. This article also covers how to become a full-time police officer or deputy sheriff. Florida has been one of the more progressive states in mandating training standards for folks who serve on a volunteer or part-time basis with police and sheriffs offices throughout the Sunshine State.

Florida Highway Patrol cruiser

Among the state agencies that use volunteer cops are the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Municipal police department and county sheriffs offices have also long embraced the concept that is the ultimate in community policing as it puts the police in the community and the community in the police.

Varied State Standards & Titles

State certification and training standards vary greatly around the United States. Some states have little or no oversight over non-full-time officers or vastly differentiate the mandate. Other states have strong rules and in some cases, such as Arizona and North Carolina, require the same training as that expected of full-timers.

Titles also vary widely reflecting local preferences. Some of the names used for volunteer and part-time law enforcers around the country include reserve, auxiliary, special, supernumerary, and intermittent.

Florida Reserves & Auxiliaries: Differences

In Florida, reserves and auxiliaries are given two distinctly codified titles with divergent training mandates. Reserve police officers and deputy sheriffs, under 943 of the Florida statutes, are trained to the same level as that of their full-time, salaried counterparts. As a fully certified (trained and sworn in) law enforcer, the reserve and full-time law enforcement professional both have a minimum of 770 hours of basic law enforcement academy training at a Florida approved training facility. Most of them are housed within the community college system including the one I ran at Seminole Community College, located North of Orlando in Sanford, FL.

Once they pass the State Officer Certification Exam (SOCE) and are sworn in by a hiring agency, reserves in Florida, unless administratively restricted by their police chief or sheriff, have the same authority to carry firearms and enforce the law as a full-time law enforcer. They can carry firearms off duty. The training mandated by the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC) and enforced by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is the same whether the officer is paid all of the time, part of the time, or none of the time.

Auxiliaries in Florida have authority while on duty and under the supervision of a fully state certified law enforcer (reserve or full-time). This state mandate is subject to interpretation by local police chiefs and sheriffs. For example, the Florida Highway Patrol allows its auxiliary state troopers to use marked FHP cruisers solo as long as the supervision takes place via the radio.

Florida auxiliary officers, deputies, and troopers have a current minimum training mandate of 319 hours. Again, the training must be taken within an approved basic academy setting. It includes some of the same high liability (as it is called in Florida) courses taught to fully certified officers including 80 hours for firearms, 80 hours for defensive tactics, and 40 hours for first aid. The 48 hour vehicle operations course is open to local discretion and may be eliminated for a 271 hour total training requirement. Most include the vehicle operations component.

Florida State Screening Standards

Minimum screening standards for all criminal justice officers across the state of Florida are uniform. Local agencies are welcome to apply stricter criteria for hire, but may not lower the entrance hurdles. These are standards that apply to the hiring, as well as the acceptance into training programs in academies.

Pursuant to Florida Statute 943, all criminal justice sworn personnel (full-time, reserve, and auxiliary law enforcement, corrections, and corrections probation) must meet the base following base standards in order to be admitted into an approved criminal justice academy and to be eligible for hire (volunteer or paid):

High School diploma or GED for Law Enforcement or Corrections. Bachelors degree for Corrections Probation
Citizen of the United States
Pass Florida Basic Abilities Test (FBAT/CJBAT)
As per Florida Statute 943.13 (4), no felony is allowed. That includes guilty, no contest (nolo contendre), conviction, and adjudication withheld.
No misdemeanor if a person pleads guilty, no contest, or is convicted of a misdemeanor crime involving perjury or false statement.
No dishonorable discharge from the armed forces of the United States.
Pass a Physical Exam

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement oversees and inspects the approved training academies for law enforcement, corrections, and corrections probation. Here is a list they keep up of State of Florida Criminal Justice Training Centers. The state agency also oversees the certification of criminal justice officers. Here is the link: How to Become a Certified Officer in Florida.

Are Florida training standards OK compared to most other states? I certainly think that the state has been progressive in its approach. The answer is yes.

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The Ultimate Sacrifice: Line of Duty Deaths Underscore Police Reserve Officers Service

Reserve Officer Russell Simpson was part of a group of officials in Bandon, Oregon, attempting to rescue a thirteen-year-old boy from the ocean surf. The 51-year-old had served as a reserve for four years with the small, but close-knit Bandon Police Department. The teen, along with others swept into the currents, were rescued on that fateful December day in 2003. All that is except for Simpson. Simpson was a retired firefighter with the Los Angeles County Fire Department in California and drowned during his efforts to save the teenager.

Auxiliary Trooper Edward W. Truelove’s actions in November 1992 saved two lives but ended with his name etched on the Connecticut Police Chief’s Memorial. Serving the Connecticut State Police on that tragic Friday night, Truelove, 73, directed the driver and passenger of a disabled automobile off of I-84 in Chesire, Connecticut, just moments before a truck driver rear-ended his marked cruiser.

Forsyth County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Department Reserve Sergeant James Milton Johnson Sr., 59, was shot after serving law enforcement in a variety of capacities for 35 years. Milton’s actions confronting a gunman who had already shot and killed two people are believed to have saved the lives of his 10-year-old grandson and the murdered couple’s five-year-old son. Johnson’s son-in-law, a full-time deputy responded and both he and the suspect were wounded in the ensuing firefight.

In Washington, DC, Reserve Officer Joseph Pozell, 59, was directing traffic on May 14, 2005, in the Georgetown section of the district. A three-year-veteran of the Metropolitan Police, Pozell was struck by a vehicle and succumbed to his inquiries three days later. What made the death even more tragic was the presence of thousands of law enforcers in the nation’s capital for National Police Week.

Reserve officers, sometimes also known as auxiliaries or specials, serve in a variety of ways depending on the preferences of their jurisdiction. Some are armed, while others aren’t. Some reserves have full police powers, while others are more restricted in their authority. What is a common denominator is that all are subject to serious injury and even death. The situations above are but a few illustrations of the many reserves that meet the same fate.

Often unseen, reserve officers have served alongside our nation’s law enforcers and faced many of the same risks. They have also, unbeknownst to many people, made the ultimate sacrifice while in service to their neighbors. Families of reservists killed in the line of duty are often left as the only ones who remember the honorable service of their loved one.

Fortunately, there are a few organizations that have been trying to raise the profile of these officers and their ultimate sacrifice. They want the officers and their families to get the credit and recognition that they so rightfully deserve.

“Reserve officers play an important role and these deaths are reminders of the sacrifices they make,” said Chris Cosgriff, chairman of the Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc. (ODMP), which has included reserve type officers on its webpage since its inception in January 1996.

“Reserve, auxiliary, or part-time does not enter into our selection process. We don’t care about the pay status of the officer,” said Cosgriff.

Craig W. Floyd, the well-known chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), also maintains a website that lists officers who have died in the line of duty. His organization also lists volunteer and part-time officers on their website, in addition to the National Law Enforcement Memorial wall located in Washington, DC.

“We had discussions early on regarding inclusion criteria,” recalled Floyd. “This past year, we clarified the criteria to include railroad officers, campus police, military police, as well as less than full-time officers.”

Floyd said that he and his staff look at the individual’s job title, job description, training, and circumstances of death. They also look at the presence of powers of arrest. Cosgriff’s website also uses the officer’s service to the agency and powers of arrest as indicators for inclusion.

Finding the Officers

Police Officer standing at parade rest.

A check of the websites reveals quite a few officers that have made the ultimate sacrifice. However, even the people running the databases have trouble identifying all of the reserves and auxiliaries that have passed away as a result of their law enforcement role.

Both said that they rely extensively on the family and friends of the officers to notify them.

“Reserve officers and families of deceased officers give us quite a bit of feedback. They thank us for including them and say that they are sometimes overlooked in the profession,” commented ODMP’s Cosgriff.

Pinning down the numbers of non-full-timer officers that have been killed is not so simple. The numbers generated by ODMP and NLEOMF are, by their own admission, probably under the actual numbers.

“We work with the Reserve Police Officers Association to try to identify officers who should be added,” said Cosgriff. He noted that the Reserve Police Officers Association also has a page on its website that lists officers.

The main way that all three of the listing organizations find out about these officers is by reading of an officer’s death with his title reflecting the status. It is the same way that they search through their databases to identify non-full-timer officers who have been killed.

Not all departments actually title their volunteer or part-time personnel with “reserve” or “auxiliary.” Numbers that are generated only reflect those with easily identifiable titles such as reserve and auxiliary.

The term special officer transcends the stereotypical reserve role in many cases and the organizations were not sure if the title search for special officer would be a true reflection of the topic of this column.

By the Numbers

NLEOMF’s Floyd and his staff searched and found that 43 non-full-time officers are listed in their database as having lost their life in the line of duty. The reserve title was borne by 24 and the remaining 19 utilized the term auxiliary.

In response to the research request, the NLEOMF also found 21 officers that had the word “special” in their title. Floyd was hesitant to include those 21 as non-full-time officers as their true status was unclear. Many specials are actually employed full-time.

“The term special generally has two meanings,” said Cosgriff.” “The first being equivalent to a reserve or auxiliary officer. The other being that the officer holds a police commission, and works full-time, but is not an official member of a town/city police department.”

Cosgriff explained further by noting that the last special officer killed, Special Officer Dwayne Reeves, “held a police commission through the Newark (NJ) Police Department, but was actually employed by the Newark School District.”

Cosgriff’s search through their database found 81 with the title reserve and 35 who had auxiliary in their rank for a total of 116. Another 106 were classified under special.

Looking at these statistics can be depressing, however information to help other officers may be gleaned from reading the profiles on the websites.

Floyd pointed out that the numbers for full-time officer deaths are starting to fall.

Important Lessons

“There has been a 36% decline in shooting deaths,” said Floyd who attributed the drop to better officer training, the wearing of bulletproof vests, and the nationwide drop in violent crime. But he also noted a 40% increase in traffic related deaths.

Floyd said this should especially be a concern for reserves, as well as the law enforcement executives who oversee reserve programs. Reserves and auxiliaries in all departments, even those in which they play a limited role, do handle traffic related duties.

“More than half the full-time officers are shot to death, but only one third (of the 43 reserve and auxiliary officers in the NLEOMF database) were shot. The vast majority of reserve and auxiliary officers were killed in traffic related functions,” said Floyd.

The sobering statistic underscores the need for managers of non-full-time law enforcement personnel to ensure that proper equipment is issued and training is done.

“They (reserves and auxiliaries) need higher visibility clothing and they should be trained to be extra careful at accident scenes,” observed Floyd after analyzing the numbers.

The deaths of reserve law enforcers are often unnoticed by all but their families and loved ones. These three organizations, and their websites, are striving to give recognition to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their neighbors. That selfless act is perhaps the most important lesson to be learned.

NOTE: The preceding was a column I to wrote for Officer.com (January 2, 2006) when I was their Reserve Power columnist. While the information on Police Reserve Officers is classic, it is still useful today. This is a serious topic and underscores the service of police and sheriffs reserves to our nation. And thanks to you as always for visiting PoliceReserveOfficer.com

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