The Clark State Community College Police Academy has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Springfield Police Division (SPD) establishing a joint mission to better train future candidates of the Springfield Police Division, Criminal Justice students and current police officers. The cooperative effort aims to give the Springfield community the most current training for police officers and provide excellent training opportunities to students.
“Clark State’s peace officer training is key to ensuring the safety and security of our communities, and we are pleased to partner with the Springfield Police Division to create a pipeline of trained professionals that will uphold the law,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “A special thanks goes to Clark State alumnus and Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf for championing this collaboration.”
Graf was appointed chief of police of the Springfield Police Division on December 1, 2017. He was hired as a Springfield police officer in 1996 following his graduation from the Clark State Police Academy. He also holds a BA in political science/prelaw from Wright State University.
“The Clark State Police Academy provided me with the knowledge and skills needed to start my career as a law enforcement officer in the state of Ohio,” said Graf. “My classes prepared me to take and pass the examinations and skills tests required to attain my peace officer certification.”
Graf said many of his instructors were current or retired law enforcement officers from the Springfield and Clark County area. “This was very inspirational, and it also helped me to immerse myself in the Springfield community and its culture,” he said.
As an instructor in the Clark State Police Academy for the past 15 years, Graf said he knows the quality of the training program at Clark State. “Police Academy Commander Paul Weber and his staff are committed to their academy students and will do everything they can to ensure the success of their charges.”
Graf said the Clark State Police Academy will take on the role as the primary training academy of the Springfield Police Division, the 9th largest municipal police agency in the state of Ohio. The Springfield Police Division will contribute to the continued growth and development of the Clark State Police Academy and the Criminal Justice program.
“SPD is committed to partnering with Clark State in all of its outreach efforts in the Springfield community,” said Graf. “We are hoping to partner with the college on many of these projects.”
Paul Weber, commander of the Clark State Police Academy, said the MOU will strengthen the future of the Clark State Police Academy. “Clark State can offer training and facilities for the Springfield Police Division, and SPD can offer their services to help grow the Police Academy within the community,” he said. “We can work together to recruit future officers for the Police Academy and the associate degree in Criminal Justice.”
Weber has worked closely with Chief Lee Graf for the past two years building a relationship between Clark State’s Police Academy and the Springfield Police Division. “Chief Graf is a strong supporter of Clark State Community College,” said Weber.
Graf said the SPD is also excited to re-establish the Clark State Police Academy as the training ground for newly sworn recruits. He said the majority of SPD veteran officers are Clark State Police Academy graduates, and it is only appropriate that they start that partnership anew.
“Back in 1969, when Clark State was called Clark County Technical Institute, the college opened its first Police Academy class – that class was full of newly hired Springfield police officers seeking their certification as Ohio peace officers,” said Graf. “Nearly 50 years later that tradition continues. We’re glad to be back home.”