Lifelong Learning offers certification for police officers

Posted: March 30, 2013

The Winchester Star

Winchester — Of all the classes offered by Shenandoah University’s Center for Lifelong Learning this spring, the First Line Supervision Certification is the most important, coordinator Jo Miller said.

A year of work with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services was needed so the center could be certified to offer the course, she said. So she is pleased that the class, set for April 8-12, is finally about to take place.

“It is a service I am providing for law enforcement officers, and I hope it continues because I know it is going to improve their job status and their career development,” she said.

The intensive class will focus on providing foundational principles in effective supervision for safety professionals, law enforcement officers, jailers and others in first-line jobs.

The cost is $329, and a limited number of spaces is left.

Rex Scism, president of MidWest Police Consultants in Columbia , Mo., will teach the class, with 34 hours focused on career development and two hours on cultural diversity.

“It is everything from performance appraisals and evaluations to knowing your subordinates and understanding the different personalities in the workplace,” Scism said.

A section on cultural diversity will also be included — participants will discuss how cultural nuances and the differences among people might have an impact on the students’ jobs, he said.

While the material the class covers “isn’t rocket science,” the idea is to give participants strategies to deal with people in different situations they face.

“Maybe they had a bad supervisor before or maybe they have a bad supervisor right now,” Scism said. “There are different strategies we can come up with to make it a little more functional in the workplace.”

Miller got the idea to offer the class from Winchester Police Chief Kevin Sanzenbacher while they were discussing the possibility of a Spanish language class for law enforcement officers. She researched it and underwent the long certification process.

When she finally received word in December that she was approved to offer it, Miller was elated. “It is like my baby. It is here and I am so excited because it is making a difference in the community.”

Twenty-four of the course’s 30 spaces have been filled, Miller said. The students will include local officers and others from Front Royal, Woodstock, Fredericksburg and two from Arizona.

The certification is valid through Dec. 13, so if enough interest is shown, Miller will offer it again in the fall.


To register for the First Line Supervision Certification course, contact Jo Miller at 540-665-5442 or or visit

— Contact Laura McFarland at