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DATE: Feb. 18, 2005

UM-Dearborn agreement with American Correctional Association will help prepare students for careers in law enforcement

DEARBORN---An agreement between the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the American Correctional Association will allow students who complete the university's bachelor's degree program in criminal justice to become certified for many law enforcement careers at the same time.

"It's a major coup for this institution, and we're the first four-year school in the country to have this sort of relationship with the ACA," according to sociology Prof. Kevin Early, who directs UM-Dearborn's program in criminal justice. "This agreement is a sign of the high quality of the program we offer our students, and the preparation they bring to this important work."

Previously, ACA certification was only available through law enforcement academies operated by police departments or government agencies.

The agreement was signed at the ACA's offices in suburban Washington D.C. on Feb. 18. The ACA is the oldest and largest international association in the field, and offers a wide variety of services including professional training and certificate programs. Many police agencies require their officers to be certified by the ACA.

"This partnership arrangement represents a significant step forward in professionalizing the role of those who work in the field of corrections," said ACA Executive Director James A. Gondles, Jr.

The Corrections Certification Program offered by ACA is a national method by which individuals can gain recognition as qualified correctional practitioners. "Our certification program is designed to advance the overall knowledge level of practitioners in the corrections field, promote the capabilities of corrections professionals to the public, and enhance society's image of corrections personnel," said Bill Sondervan, director of professional development at the ACA. Further, it promotes the capabilities of correctional professionals to the public by demonstrating their adherence to the ACA Code of Ethics.

UM-Dearborn's criminal justice program is designed for students interested in law enforcement who seek a broad liberal arts approach to the study of criminal justice issues, according to Early. "The program produces thoughtful, humane leaders with the technical skills and the social and ethical sensitivity needed to succeed in the criminal justice field."

The program includes courses on the judicial process, civil rights, urban politics, moral and political issues, social psychology and criminal law.

Students who graduate from UM-Dearborn with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and who complete an ACA application will receive provisional certification from the ACA. Provisional certification will allow them to work for most professional police and corrections agencies. Those who complete at least one year of full-time professional employment in that kind of work, and receive satisfactory or better evaluations from their supervisors, will qualify for the ACA's three-year certification credential.

UM-Dearborn's bachelor's degree in criminal justice program has established articulation agreements with community college programs in criminal justice throughout the region. For more information about the program, contact the criminal justice studies office at (313) 583-6404, or criminal_justice@umd.umich.edu.

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