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Higher Education = Higher Standard for Policing

University of San Diego Master’s in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership Announces First Graduating Class

A guest blog entry by our Corporate Circle Partner, University of San Diego

On May 27, more than 100 law enforcement officers from local, state and federal agencies became the first class to earn a Master of Science in Law Enforcement Leadership from University of San Diego (USD). 
Launched in 2015, the unique degree program was designed with input from law enforcement associations and experienced practitioners, with the purpose of preparing the next generation of criminal justice leaders. USD’s program emphasizes leadership development, ethics, tangible skill building and the immediate application of these skills to solving some of today’s most urgent law enforcement challenges.

“I really like that all the content is current,” said Ryan Flick, Lt. Watch Commander and student of the MS-LEPSL program. “For example, we are diving into the hot issues, like body cameras and drones. There is a huge focus on relevant and timely issues that are affecting law enforcement today, and that really differentiates this program from many other criminal justice programs. I also like that the class is mostly composed of high-ranking law enforcement officials. “

The purpose of the program is to not only support rapid career advancement, but also to prepare the next generation of leaders who have the expertise to not only successfully police, but also to work with their communities in being successful law enforcement professionals.

“Rather than just focusing on traditional criminal justice curriculum, this degree responds to the expressed need for leadership development and provides immediately applicable that will produce the next generation of leaders in law enforcement,” says Erik Fritsvold, Ph.D., the program’s academic coordinator, and an associate professor in USD’s Department of Sociology. 

The faculty for the MS-LEPSL program is comprised of highly experienced instructor practitioners, who hold advanced degrees and possess extensive experience in law enforcement. The diversity of experience the instructors possess is striking as they hold positions such as Retired Chief of Police, Deputy District Attorney, and Public Defender.
More than 200 law enforcement professionals from agencies such as NASA, US Army, US Navy, Department of Justice, California Highway Patrol, Superior Court of California and students from all over the country including Boulder, Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle, Cape Coral and of course San Diego, to name a few, have studied and/or are studying in the 20 month-long Master’s program.

The online degree is a 31-unit program designed to be completed in 5 semesters (20 months). Coursework is taken year-round, with three 14-week semesters each year allowing students to focus on one course at a time. With courses in study management, administration, leadership, budgeting, conflict resolution, change management, community relations, and data-driven analysis and decision-making, the program not only contributes to career development, but also provides applicable and useful skills necessary to be more effective in day-to-day policing. 

“Education has a critically important role to play in bridging the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” says Fritsvold.

Recruitment for the Fall 2017 academic year is underway. To apply or learn more about the program, please visit 


Backing the Blue..Not So "Corny" After All

Historic Hawes Farms in Anderson, CA is doing something fun with one of their corn mazes this year. The "Back the Blue-Shasta" corn maze stands 10-12' tall and has over 2 miles of maze for its visitors to get lost in. We're just going to leave this right here for you all to enjoy! 

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Remembering the fallen

Yesterday we remembered the four officers who lost their lives in 2015, at the 40th Annual California Peace Officers' Memorial Ceremony in Sacramento, California. The Master of Ceremonies was Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and included guest speakers such as Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Governor Jerry Brown and Chief Diane Urban from the Hayward Police Department. The ceremony paid tribute to the four officers listed below and was attended by their surviving family and loved ones. For those who were unable to attend, a video of the tribute can be found here. From the staff at Cal Chiefs; our continued thoughts and prayers are with the families and agencies, we wish them all our best. 

Officer Michael J. Johnson, San Jose Police Department
E.O.W. March 24, 2015 

Michael Jeremiah Johnson (“Mike”) was born on December 4, 1976. At the time he was born, Mike’s dad, Daniel Johnson, was a military police officer in the army stationed at Herlong, California. 

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Call for Service is Extended to Furry Family Member

This amazing story is brought to you by the La Verne Police Department: When Officer Chris Dransfeldt started his shift on April 4, 2016 little did he know he'd be an ambulance driver for someone's family pet. At about 4:20pm, La Verne dispatch received a call from a frantic 17 year old girl who was home with the family pet, an 11 year old Chocolate Lab named Bailey. The young girl told dispatch that Bailey had just been bit in the face by a rattlesnake while playing in the back yard. Officers Chris Dransfeldt and Greg Rodriguez responded to the residence in North La Verne near the Foothills where rattlesnake sightings are common.

On arrival, Officer Dransfeldt noticed that Bailey had been bit near one eye and was starting to have a reaction as his face was beginning to swell up. The young girl told Officer Dransfeldt that the dog was like another child to her parents and the family would be devastated if Bailey was to die. Officer Dransfeldt, after seeing that the young girl did not have a mode of transportation, told her to call her mother who was at work. Once on the phone, Officer Dransfeldt explained the circumstances and asked what she wanted to do with the dog. The mother explained that she was at work and could not leave and if she were to leave, by the time she got there it might be too late.

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Bridging the Communication Gap

This is Officer Mat Aragon, Officer Aragon created the Legacy Adult Learning Program in partnership with Legacy Creekside, an Irvine school that works with adults with developmental disabilities and provides them with a working understanding of life skills.

During a meeting with the school, it became apparent that there were communication gaps that needed to be addressed between the students, teachers, parents, and law enforcement. Traditionally, this could have been handled a variety of ways: a community meeting; a bulletin issued to parents with information for their children; or a meeting with the school staff. Officer Aragon understood that there was a greater need to assist these students, whose communication abilities range from high-functioning to completely non-verbal. 

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A Helping Hand

Patrick Kelley got a new job working as a switch board operator at Simi Valley Hospital, but getting to work wasn’t easy. Mr. Kelly called the Simi Valley Police Department looking for some direction and a resolution to a problem he was experiencing with a pedestrian crossing signal at Sycamore Drive and the east-bound State Highway 118 off-ramp in Simi Valley. Mr. Kelley spoke to Commander Arabian, who took command of the police department’s traffic unit in May and described the issue.

Mr. Kelley explained that he has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair and regularly travels on Sycamore Drive to and from his place of employment. When he reaches the heavily congested off-ramp at the east-bound State Highway 118 onto Sycamore Dr., he is unable to reach the button on the traffic signal pole for pedestrian crossing. Each day he passed the intersection, he would take the risk of crossing without the benefit of the "WALK" sign providing him with the safe right-of-way. For a few months Mr. Kelley did his best to dodge the ceaseless stream of vehicles coming off of the freeway, from the nearby retail stores and a gas station. He ultimately realized that the issue was bigger than he had originally thought and began working on finding a safe solution.

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Food Brings Communities Together

Summer presents a crucial time to support youth in low-income neighborhoods. School’s summer closure can bring additional stress to low-income families and economically disadvantaged youth are less likely to have access to summer learning opportunities, forcing many families to create a patchwork and absorb additional costs of childcare. Many of these kids also lose access to a valuable resource; school lunch. According to a national survey, more than half of parents whose children receive a free or reduced price lunch during the school year find it harder to make ends meet during the summer. Without these resources, youth in low-income neighborhoods are at greater risk of food insecurity, obesity, and may lose months in grade-level reading skills. Cumulatively, this can have a negative impact on the health and vitality of our neighborhoods.

USDA summer meal programs aim to address this summer nutrition gap while also providing opportunities to ensure low-income youth have a summer safety net. Law enforcement agencies can play an important role in helping youth access these programs. USDA’s Summer Food Service Program enables schools, local and tribal government agencies, and community-based organizations (including PAL programs) to serve free, healthy meals to children ages 18 and under in low-income neighborhoods. Meals are free to all children and there is no application, sign-up, or identification needed. The fully reimbursed meals nourish children in need, provide communities with an infusion of federal resources and bring opportunities to build and strengthen community partnerships. Yet in California, summer meal programs are only reaching a fraction of eligible students.  In 2014, only 485,000 of California’s 2.4 million eligible students accessed summer meal programs, according to a recent report from the Food Research and Action Center. What’s more, California’s counties vary in their success in meeting the need, according to California Food Policy Advocates. Underutilization of these programs is often a result of lack of awareness among families, lack of activities at sites, and parent perceptions about site safety.

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We all know the summer heat can take a lot out of those working the streets. Lucky for them the Palo Alto Police Department has come up with a solution for that, #CopsLoveLemonadeStands.

Their latest community outreach campaign has taken on a life of its own and has now spread throughout many CA agencies as well as several other states. Some of those agencies include: Campbell Police Department, the Walnut Creek Police Department, the Truckee Police Department, CHP Truckee Division, Rocklin Police Department, Mountain View Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (in Colorado), Apex Police Department (in North Carolina), Tigard Police Department (in Oregon), Chippewa Falls Police Department (in Wisconsin), Grand Junction Police Department (in Colorado),  Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department (in Indiana), Eau Claire Police Department (in Wisconsin ) and Duluth Police Department (in Minnesota). 

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