Patrol leader completes new training

After nearly three months away, a familiar face returned to the Marietta Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Monday.

Post Commander Lt. Carlos Smith returned to his post in Marietta with lots of energy and fresh ideas to accompany his newly acquired certificate in Senior Leadership through The Ohio State University John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

The certification was part of the Public Safety Leadership Academy, an 11-week course offered by the college in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS). Smith and 32 other law enforcement officers from across the state graduated Friday with the certificate and 10 hours of college credit.

“It was really interesting, really well thought out,” Smith said of the leadership academy. “Every day there was a different topic.”

In addition to physical training and public service projects, officers at the academy studied topics such as budgeting, public management, organizational communication, ethics, networking and more.

This is the second year the course has been offered, and the patrol hopes to continue offering the course through OSU in the future, said Lt. Craig Cvetan, public affairs commander for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“We wanted to develop a course here in Ohio that was a leadership course for law enforcement executives. There wasn’t anything out of Ohio that met our needs for a leadership course,” explained Cvetan of the leadership academy’s origins.

Smith and other attendees, which included, state, county and local level agencies, had to be nominated by a superior and meet certain criteria to be selected for the course, said Cvetan. It was offered at no cost to attendees and funded by casino tax revenue distributed to ODPS’s Office of Criminal Justice Services. The money is designated to fund law enforcement training throughout the state, he said.

The course work was relatively grueling, said Smith. Graduates were expected to read several books and journal articles and write four papers throughout the 11 weeks. They also participated in weekly public service projects, such as volunteering at a local soup kitchen or church.

One of the standout parts of the course was a week-long field trip to Washington D.C. where students visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and participated in their law enforcement course.

“It was really enlightening to see …to be able to reflect on all the leaders we’ve had in the past in our country, some good, some not so good, and then to be able to tie that in to what we’re trying to do with our organization in developing our leaders to be successful,” said Smith.

He said he plans to integrate some of his learnings into day-to-day life at the post. For example, Smith hopes to foster the idea of evaluating effectiveness versus busyness.

“We can all say we’re being busy, but are you being effective in your day? When you come in do you have a plan?” he said.

The academy also focused heavily on the idea of cooperation between departments, and gave Smith the opportunity to interact with officers from departments throughout the state.

Leadership students also were invited to observe a Shield detail, in which officials from different agencies work together to focus on a specific problem in an area, said Smith. In this case, agents observed a detail in Delaware County, where multiple agencies focused on interstate speeding and drug intervention.

As the program is offered in future years, Cvetan said he hopes more law enforcement agencies become aware of the program and nominate attendees.

“It’s important that we make this investment in our future. As times change, law enforcement needs to change. This course gives them those tools to keep law enforcement moving in the right direction,” he said.