Indiana University students attending the IU Police Academy this summer will experience some new traditions and a revamped curriculum, with added emphasis on fair and impartial policing, de-escalation practices and community outreach.
The IU Police Academy, which graduated its first class in 1972, is one of six satellite academies of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield and the only higher education-centric law enforcement academy in the U.S. The curriculum covers the 480 hours of topics mandated by the state, such as emergency vehicle operations and defensive tactics, but academies can add additional courses to reflect their priorities. IU's academy includes 615 hours of instruction.
For IUPA, cultural diversity is important, as are new courses in fair and impartial policing, training for interacting with people having mental health crises, and an extensive de-escalation course called Integrating Communications, Assessment and Tactics.
"Defensive tactics and firearms training are important components of this job," said Maj. Stephen Luce, director of the IUPA and of public safety education for IUPD. "But, if we're hitting in the classroom the social issues and the uncomfortable topics that police might encounter in the field, some interactions between officers and individuals may unfold differently, avoiding resistance and use-of-force decisions."
Topics such as cultural diversity and procedural justice will prepare recruits, who graduate from the academy as certified law enforcement officers in the state of Indiana and sworn IUPD officers, for jobs at agencies across the country, but particularly for jobs at IU.
"It's important to the academy and IUPD leadership," Luce said, "and to Public Safety and Institutional Assurance and the Office of the Vice President for University Academic Affairs (where these units are housed)."
Luce, an IUPA graduate
The class also will have a guidon, a flag that identifies their class and must be carried with them at all times. Luce said they also are discussing a community service project to reinforce the importance of police officers being involved with their communities.
"We want to teach what's required to be part of a noble law enforcement community, and that's giving back to your community beyond your work," he said.
The 46 cadets attending the academy will be called recruits. Upon graduation, they will be called cadet officers instead of part-time officers, as in the past. Cadet officers work part-time as fully sworn officers at their IU campus while completing their academic degrees as full-time students.
Recruits are coming from each IU campus except IU Southeast. With more than 200 full-time and part-time officers, IUPD is one of the largest police agencies in the state.
IU Public Safety is part of Public Safety and Institutional Assurance, which falls under the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for IT and CIO.