Berkeley PD, Triton join part-time police recruiting and training program

Berkeley Police Chief Timothy Larem at Berkeley Village Hall last year. | File

Friday, March 25, 2022 || By Michel Romain || @maywoodnews

Berkeley Police Chief Timothy Larem knows the benefits of entering the policing profession in a somewhat unconventional way. Larem started out as a part-time police officer, which gave him a foothold in the department he would eventually lead.

“I started part-time,” he says. “I appreciate what he offers. So I think it’s a good opportunity for a lot of people.

This belief prompted Larem to design a program that would effectively be a college-to-career pipeline for those interested in local law enforcement.

The Village of Berkeley and Triton College in River Grove, where Larem serves as an adjunct instructor in the criminal justice program, recently signed an agreement that would essentially create a fast track to the Berkeley Police Department for students in the program who go to school. interested in law enforcement as a career.

“Each semester, the criminal justice program will select students for us, and then, at the end of each term, we will assess and interview them before deciding which ones we will send to the academy on a part-time basis,” Larem said.

Larem said “the beauty of the part-time academy” is that it takes place on weekends, so training shouldn’t break up with students’ college classes. Additionally, aspiring officers enrolled in a part-time academy do not have to face other barriers to entry that would-be entry-level officers typically face, such as paying high application fees.

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Any Triton student enrolled as a Criminal Justice major, who is at least 21 years of age, a. 3.0 GPA and 30 credit hours are eligible for the program, Larem said.

The chief said he hopes to start enrolling the first part-time academy students in the fall, so he can be on track to possibly hire next year.

“It’s quite interested,” Larem said of the program. “It puts [Berkeley Police] on the map, lets our residents know that we want people to apply and it is of interest to children [in law enforcement].”

Larem said hiring Triton directly would also help diversify his department, hire locally and increase his pool of part-time agents. He said part-time officers allow his department to supplement staffing when full-time officers are in training, on vacation or for other reasons that keep them off the streets.

For part-time certified officers, the road is a way to boost their chances of becoming full-time police officers, Larem said.

“Once you’re certified part-time, you’re a strong candidate. [for a full-time policing position]he said, adding that becoming a part-time officer also gives people more flexibility if they end up changing their minds about a career in law enforcement.

“If I can get them early they can test it out and see if it’s a career for them,” Larem said. “If not, then no harm, no fault. They can move on. »

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