Kansas Wesleyan University and Saline County have announced a landmark partnership, intended to provide educational opportunities for employees of the county’s sheriff’s office and the Salina Police Department.
The Saline County Workforce Development Program will provide three certificate programs – Leadership for the Future, Culturally Informed and Trauma Informed – at no cost to the law enforcement officers. KWU, helped by a grant provided by Executive Order 11246, Saline County and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, will offer two eight-week online courses per semester. Books, tuition and all fees will be provided free of charge.
“The Board of County Commissioners is pleased to support both Kansas Wesleyan and our local law enforcement professionals by implementing training, which has been documented to lead to better community outcomes,” said Commission Chairman Jim Weese.
“As a former first responder, I can attest to the value of this agreement,” said Bernie Botson, KWU assistant professor of emergency management. “This will provide both a continuing education opportunity for some of the county’s finest and it will further their skills and abilities in a unique way. We can’t wait to get the program started!”
Because of the nature of the grant, the certificates are available only to individuals working at Salina Police Department or the Saline County Sheriff’s Office. Long-term, however, the university hopes to receive additional grants to fund similar programs for first responders around the state.
“The city of Salina is very fortunate to have Kansas Wesleyan in our community,” said Brad Nelson, Salina’s chief of police. “KWU has a renowned Criminal Justice program and we are pleased to partner with them in their online educational certificate program.”
“This is an amazing opportunity for local public safety personnel to earn college credit without incurring debt,” offered Roger Soldan, Saline County sheriff.
“At KWU, we pride ourselves on serving our community,” said Dr. Matt Thompson, KWU president. “This agreement is another example of that approach. National data show us that additional education leads to more effective policing within communities. We’re thrilled to be able to provide our expertise through this certificate to our sheriff’s office and police department and look forward to similar opportunities in the future.”
To learn more about the Saline County Workforce Development Program, visit www.kwu.edu/salineworkforce.