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CareerTech introduces law enforcement curriculum for high school students and adults

Oklahoma CareerTech’s Curriculum and Instructional Materials Center has just published its first curriculum aimed at secondary and postsecondary students interested in law enforcement careers.

“Law Enforcement I” addresses everything from writing skills to investigations and traffic enforcement. It introduces students to the field of law enforcement and the criminal justice system, as well as basic laws and police procedures.

The curriculum is the result of a partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and the National Partnership for Careers in Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security. The new curriculum fills a void for today’s career and technical educators nationwide,” according to Tom Navickas, National Partnership executive director.

“It is important to begin with the end in mind,” he said. “The end we had in mind was to offer an assessment that leads to a certification, in conjunction with a curriculum that prepares students for the assessment and that aligns with an underlying set of competencies. We have now achieved that in our partnership with Oklahoma’s CareerTech System, which is the benchmark for instructional materials development in career and technical education.”

CIMC worked on the curriculum for about two years, said Tracy Boyington, CIMC project manager. Team members began the development process by studying the competencies that National Partnership had already created and organizing those objectives into units of instruction.

Once the unit outlines were approved, CIMC hired subject matter experts to write the units. CIMC hired law enforcement and criminal justice professionals, who started with sets of objectives and returned complete unit drafts. Additional subject matter experts from around the country reviewed the units and provided input.

The National Partnership and its advisory committee approved the final draft. The result, Boyington said, is an in-depth text that profiles major aspects of law enforcement careers, helps students build critical skills and gives teachers a practical resource based on authentic tasks. The cover of the curriculum features a photograph of Stillwater (Oklahoma) Police Department.

Although published by Oklahoma’s CareerTech System, the law enforcement curriculum was developed for use in any state. It includes prompts that encourage students and teachers to explore their own state-specific content. The content ranges from career exploration to legal background knowledge and real-world job tasks.

The curriculum also includes units that address ethics in law enforcement, as well as citizens’ rights and victim assistance. Instructors are encouraged to discuss those subjects in the context of current events.

 Craig Maile, CIMC manager, said he values the new curriculum from a personal standpoint.

 “My sister is a police officer,” he said. “Recently, she responded to a call of an armed robbery in progress. One of the alleged suspects killed the owner of a business during the attempted robbery. The victim happened to also be someone my sister knew personally. A few years ago, my sister helped a struggling family to get back on its feet, even taking time to help them find a reliable used car.

 “It has to be such a challenge for teachers to convey to students the full range of experiences that they can have throughout their career in law enforcement or even on a single day.”

“Law Enforcement I” is available in student and teacher print editions from CIMC at or 800-654-4502. Two online assessments, also developed with the National Partnership, are also available.

CIMC, the publishing division of Oklahoma’s CareerTech System, will celebrate its 50th year of operation in 2017.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 58 campuses, 390 comprehensive school districts, 14 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 28 Adult Basic Education service providers.

 The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

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