Clark State Community College has been sending well trained and qualified peace officers into the workforce for more than 50 years, with the College recently announcing a 98 percent State Certification Exam (SCE) passing rate over the past five years, and the last four classes of graduates boasting a 100 percent pass rate.
“This is an outstanding achievement,” said Paul Weber, commander of the Clark State Police Academy. “We are fortunate to have some of the best instructors; this is thanks to them and their hard work.”
After completing the Clark State Police Academy training and successfully passing all Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission requirements (academic, practical and physical fitness), a cadet is qualified to take the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) SCE. The SCE is a 2.5-hour test compiled of 200 questions based on 800 performance objectives.
After passing the exam, the graduate is then qualified to be an Ohio certified peace officer.
“Clark State’s Basic Peace Officer Academy provides rigorous training that results in community-minded, well-prepared officers,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “We strive to recruit and graduate a diverse group of students to become police officers and work to enhance the safety and security of the communities they serve. I am so very proud of all of our faculty who do an outstanding job in training our graduates to perform well on their exams and beyond.”
In addition to the Clark State Basic Peace Officer Academy pass-rate success, Commander Weber was nominated as the Outstanding Ohio State Patrol Retired Officer in the Ohio District 5 Region; he is now in the running for the state title.
Weber served in law enforcement for just over 30 years and then began teaching in the Criminal Justice program at Clark State in 2011. Later, he assumed the position of commander of the academy.
“When I thought of a retirement job, I was thinking of something in jeans and a t-shirt, with no paperwork,” said Weber with a laugh. “Now I’m doing a ton of paperwork and dressing up, but I’m happy. I love doing this job. It keeps me in the law enforcement profession, and I have the opportunity to prepare people to carry on the job. When I see these kids go through the academy and get sworn in, there isn’t a better feeling.”
But Weber also likes to have some fun and keep the cadets involved with the community. During the month of November, national law enforcement agencies participate in “No Shave November” for a charity of their choice. Weber opted to allow Clark State cadets to participate in this event. Each male cadet who donated $30 was permitted not to shave for the month, while female cadets were permitted to wear their hair down for their donations. Between the two classes and Weber’s donation, the academy raised $500.00 for the Special Olympics Foundation.
Clark State offers four Peace Officer Training Academies each year—four-month daytime academies and six-month evening academies are each held twice a year. Each academy is limited to 25 cadets. Cadets must be 21 years of age at the time they take the state certification exam. Cadets must also have a valid Ohio driver’s license, a high school diploma or GED equivalent and cannot have any felony or violent misdemeanor convictions. The next day academy begins in March 2, 2020. Start date for the fall classes will be May 18 and July 20; they will both finish in December.
Interested students should visit Clark State’s Police Academy office in the Brinkman Educational Center in downtown Springfield to pick up and complete the required OPOTA application and other required forms. A candidate is then required to pass a physical assessment test, a physical, a drug screen and be finger-printed for a BCI background check at the Clark County Sheriff’s Department.