Central Missouri Police Academy Celebrates 50th Anniversary

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Photo by Michael Lewis

University of Central Missouri President Roger Best and the Board of Governors cut the ceremonial ribbon to introduce the new classroom officially. “Being able to come into a place and be able to renovate and provide the space for them to be successful helps us as leaders to see them in action,” Best said. “We want to make sure they are prepared to the best of their ability.”

Written by Michael Lewis, Reporter

  The Central Missouri Police Academy commemorated its 50th anniversary, which honored the memory of former graduates who had fallen in the line of duty and was an opportunity for the academy to unveil its brand new technology-based classroom funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

  CMPA trains cadets from all over the United States to earn a certificate required by the Missouri Department of Public Safety Peace Officer Standards and Training Program. Each student must earn 600 curriculum hours, whereas the academy requires 825-850 hours to enhance qualifications. During the course, cadets can receive up to 18 hours of credit through prior learning toward a bachelor’s degree and are eligible to become a licensed peace officer upon passing the Police Officer Selection Test.

  UCM President Roger Best was present at the ceremony, and he gave a speech about the importance of the CMPA to the university.

  “It’s an honor to host the Central Missouri Police Academy. These are individuals, who come into our community to serve us in fantastic ways, putting their lives on the line to serve people they don’t even know,” Best said. 

  The ceremony was hosted by Dr. Joanne Kurt-Hilditch, senior director of the Missouri safety center, who gave a speech about the importance and history of the academy. Kurt-Hilditch also introduced Executive Director for Government Relations David Pearce, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Phillip Bridgmon and Board of Governors President Stephen Abney, who all gave remarks on the importance of the CMPA for the university.

  Pearce presented two resolution bills from Sen. Denny Hoskins and Rep. Dan Houx. Both resolutions recognized the fallen officers and congratulated the academy on its success.

  Kurt-Hilditch discussed how the pandemic changed the way the academy had to teach students. Cadets who either tested positive or were awaiting tests needed a way to continue their training and the officers needed a way to train while in a socially-distant environment.

  “We submitted a grant so that we could utilize technology and continue to do what we were doing. We were able to get the screens and computer, so we are good to go,” Kurt-Hilditch said.

  The organization was able to secure around $150,000 from the CARES Act for the project. 

Central Missouri Police Academy cadets gather during the commemoration of officers who died in the line of duty. Cadets remained silent in position during the announcement of the eight officers. Each officer was a student and graduated from the CMPA. Photo by Michael Lewis

  During the anniversary celebration, guests were invited to visit the new classroom before UCM’s Board of Governors cut the ribbon to introduce the classroom officially. 

  Director of the CMPA Tim Lowry introduced the cadet memorial wall located in the main classroom, which features information about fallen officers.  

  The academy took the opportunity to remember the fallen officers who were graduates of the CMPA and have given their lives in the line of duty. These officers were graduates of the academy and died while serving in Missouri and Kansas.

  “Anytime a police officer gives their life in the line of service, I think we need to remind the cadets that what they are going into is not typical,” Lowry said. “A typical person does not run into these individuals that we recognized today…They gave their lives in the line of service.”

  The creation of the new classroom came from a partnership with the CMPA and the Office of Technology. The academy turned their gymnasium into a high-tech classroom to create a more interactive space for cadets in training.

  “The CARES grant came about because of COVID. We applied for it and were able to upgrade for equipment like tables, chairs and projectors,” Lowry said.

  Lowry stressed the importance of having a new classroom setup for cadets. 

  “Our cadets are not only in a classroom setting, but need to be physical as well. We want to physically put them in a situation with actors and actresses,” Lowry said. “Then, this new classroom will help them retain it and memorize what they need to do.”

  Hanna Sawyer, a class lieutenant for class 162, who graduated from UCM in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, was one of the cadets present at the ceremony. Sawyer described her excitement for the new classroom, stating the importance of the CMPA to her life.

  “This academy means everything to me, and it’s a lifelong goal to be a police officer,” Sawyer said.