Area 30 students learn about law enforcement in 'academy' setting

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Greencastle Police Department Assistant Chief Brian Hopkins reassured the Area 30 Board of Directors on Tuesday that the school's Law Enforcement Training Academy is running quite well.

Hopkins, who has taught the class two years, brought two of his students to the board's Tuesday meeting to explain how the program has changed and will change next year.

Joining Hopkins in the presentation were Eminence High School junior Darren Cecil and Greencastle High School senior Eric Vermillion.

On Tuesday, Hopkins told the Area 30 board members that he changed the program curriculum into more of a police academy setting. He said the textbook the program had was college level and was somewhat difficult to understand for the students.

In order for the students to fully understand the police academy, Hopkins said he wanted them to wear uniforms, to which all the students in the program agreed.

The students wear khaki shirts and pants along with black ties.

Hopkins said the Law Enforcement Training Academy will cover courses such as defensive tactics, report writing, criminal law, physical fitness, traffic law, domestic violence, criminal investigations, accident investigations, field sobriety testing, and patrol techniques.

In addition, the cadets in the program have to take a written test on the first day of class, consisting of math, English and spelling, while also taking part in a physical agility test, including vertical jumping, one-minute sit-ups, a 300-meter run, a maximum amount of push-ups and a 1.5-mile run.

Hopkins said the agility test is the same at the police academy.

The students in the class also have the opportunity to do patrol time with police officers.

Vermillion told the board members Tuesday he was patrolling during the police chase in which Clay County resident Brad Karn died.

"You can read in a book about people dying in a pursuit, but to actually see it really prepared me to be a police officer," Vermillion said.

"The training actually came out good," Hopkins said. "They did a good job."

Both Vermillion and Cecil said they want to pursue a law enforcement career.

"By going through this program, it's going to be beneficial to them," Hopkins said. "they'll have an upper hand when they go (to the police academy). The only difference (between the program and the academy) is I don't yell at them nearly as much."

Students that pass the one-year program receive nine high school and college credits.

Meanwhile, Cloverdale Community School Corp. Supt. Carrie Milner and Area 30 Executive Director Lora Wood gave an update to the board on Career Majors Grants.

Five of the six schools that make up Area 30 are submitting proposals to the Indiana Department of Education and the Department of Workforce Development on April 13 for implementation grants in the amount of $40,000. Owen Valley is one year ahead of the remaining schools in the program.

"Of the six schools that feed into Area 30, five are in their third year," Milner told the board members Tuesday. "It's been a win-win situation for everybody."

According to Wood and Milner, the grants will be used to implement Health Science Career Major, Agricultural Science Career Majors, Engineering/ Technology Career Majors, Health Sciences and Agricultural Science Career Academy, which would be combined into Life Sciences Academy.

Wood told the board the curriculum could be available as early as next year.

Attending Tuesday's meeting were Milner, Greencastle Community School Corp. Supt. Robert Green, North Putnam Community School Corp. Supt. Murray Pride, South Putnam Community School Corp. Supt. Dan Schroeder, Spencer-Owen Community School Corp. Supt. Marsha Turner-Shear, and Eminence High School Principal Max Hoke, who was in attendance for Eminence Community School Corp. Supt. Norm Stockton.

In other news, the board:

-- Unanimously approved financial reports for April.

-- Approved by a 5-0 vote for four staff members and teachers to attend a Careers Major Conference next year through Perkins Grant funding. Shear did not vote.

-- Heard an update on the 2006-07 Indiana Secondary Career and Technical Education Programs Fund-ing Crosswalk.

-- Approved by a 6-0 vote the Nursing, Allied Health and Vet Tech students to attend the State Health Occupation Student Assoc-iation competition on April 24-26. The students will stay at the Adams Mark Hotel, Indianapolis, during the competition. Transportation will be provided by Area 30. Approximately 23 students will attend the competition.

-- Approved by a 6-0 vote the hiring of Child Care Co-Directors Melissa Brown and Maureen Egold, effective March 17, with salary continuing at its current rate, pending evaluation on July 1.

-- Approved the resignations of Child Care Program Assistants Valerie Garrison, effective April 10, and Ashley Matthews, effective March 17.

-- Approved the resignations of Child Care Directors Nancy Mendenhall and Ginger Rogers, both effective March 17.

-- Approved the terminations of Child Care Program Assistants Rhonda Galloway and Kristen Manning, both effective March 17.

The board meets regularly on the second Tuesday of each month in the Area 30 board room. Its next meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on May 9.

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