University Police Offer Training to Students Through New Innovative Program

The University's new Pre-Police Academy gives participants an introduction to police work

A trip to the medical examiner’s office, a visit from the bomb squad, and a mock motor vehicle stop are all part of a new initiative by the University’s Police Department to give students who are interested in policework a sense of how police officers work and why procedures are followed for public safety as well as for the officers’ safety.

The Pre-Police Academy is a forty-hour non-credit program held on Fridays in eight sessions open only to William Paterson juniors and seniors, and is modeled on the county police academies which train police officers for duty. The program is staffed by members of the University’s Police Department, as well as officers from surrounding police departments including the Passaic County Sherriff’s Department, the Wayne Police Department, and the Haledon Police Department. Guest speakers from various local and state law enforcement agencies present information.

The officers volunteer their time to the program. “This is a way for the officers to give back to the community,” says Robert Fulleman, director of public safety and university police. “It gives them an opportunity to meet the students one-on-one, and gives the students a real feel for the work in a smaller setting.”

The students must get physical clearance to participate, and have at least a 2.50 G.P.A. according to Police Officer Joseph Castro, who founded the program, which is sponsored by the department’s Community Policing program, and is offered at no cost to the participants.

“The students go through everything the new recruits at the academy do, but on a smaller scale,” he says. “The program gives them answers to questions they have about law enforcement, offers them the opportunity to attend a recruiting program, and most importantly gives them valuable experience on how to handle themselves in many situations.”

The current group of students completed the program on April 25, and each received a certificate from the University’s Police Department.