At a time when the City of Oakland is actively recruiting new police officers and Merritt College is helping Administration of Justice students find career opportunities, a mutually beneficial agreement was recently signed at City Hall by Oakland Chief of Police Sean Whent and Chancellor of the Peralta Community College District Dr. Jose Ortiz.
As part of this academic affiliation, Merritt College will provide an accredited curriculum for the Oakland Police Academy. The program will provide the students with direct interaction and hands-on experience with City police officers. The optimum result will be potentially more than 50 well-trained candidates to meet the public safety needs of the City of Oakland.
“We want to make sure that what we provide at the college is what employers see as relevant in the workplace,” says Dr. Elmer Bugg, Merritt’s Vice President of Instruction. “This partnership allows for us to forge a marriage between academic preparation and career application. It’s a win-win all around.”
As a bonus, adds Dr. Bugg, the academy students will gain college-level credit for the work they do and could go on to get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree once they graduate from the Academy.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who also participated in the signing, hopes that the program will bring more recruits who are Oakland residents and have a vested interest in the city and knowledge of the city’s culture.
“Our last class had only 16 percent of Oakland residents, and I’d like to get up to 50 percent,” says Quan. “Programs like these give us a steady flow of young people who are interested in the police department.”
Margaret Dixon, chair of Merritt’s Administration of Justice program and a retired Oakland police officer, wants the training to provide the students with the total experience of the profession.
“It’s more than just passing a test,” says Dixon. “We want to support the students once they get into the academy, and we want them to truly understand what they are getting into.”
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