Lake City, CSU discussing police partnership

— Police in Lake City are talking with Clayton State University officials about forming an outreach partnership that would give criminal justice students real world law enforcement experience, a captain from the department told city leaders Monday.

Representatives from the university’s Center for Justice Studies have approached the department about internship opportunities for the students, said Capt. Harold Simmons. He added those opportunities would include chances to see police in action when they are responding to calls.

“They want to partner with us to do ride-alongs,” Simmons said.

Simmons is still in the process of discussing the city’s possible participation in the internship program with university officials so it is too early to tell whether an agreement will be reached. The two sides have only met once and are in the initial talking stages.

No representatives from the college were present at the City Council meeting and Simmons’ comments were in response to a query from City Manager Joel Lanken about the talks. City leaders mostly stayed quiet and listened to the captain discuss the proposed partnership.

Simmons explained the college is looking for local police departments that it can partner with for internship opportunities, although he did not say which other departments the university may be talking to.

A vision and mission packet provided to the City Council shows the university is looking for “high impact” area and needs in Clayton County and its neighboring counties. Part of the search will include creating a “consortia” of public safety and community leaders who can help the college target areas of need.

One of the goals outlined in the packet is to engage students in “active-learning opportunities in the community with law enforcement and community partner organizations.”

Simmons told council members the university hopes to someday establish a law enforcement training academy, but he added the college first must convince the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council such an academy is needed in the county. He pointed out there is already a statewide training center.

“They are trying to establish a place where students can get a four-year degree [in criminal justice] and then go right into a training academy,” Simmons said.