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UMass takes its police training degree programs to the Internet

By From By Patricia Resende

The University of Massachusetts is moving law enforcement into cyberspace.

UMass late last year announced that it was launching two new criminal justice programs online, thanks to funding from UMassOnline. The funds were part of a $450,000 three-year grant that UMassOnline received to bring Web-based programs to UMass schools.

UMassOnline, the University of Massachusetts’ Web-based learning group, will begin offering the UMass-Lowell master of arts in criminal justice and the UMass-Amherst undergraduate criminal justice program online this month.

“The university prides itself in breaking down barriers to the excellent learning opportunities available on its campuses,” said William Bulger, president of UMass, in a release. “These new programs deliver our noted criminal justice programs to the homes and workplaces of professionals engaged in the important task of protecting the safety of our citizens across this state and around the world.”

The new online program will offer courses in areas including judiciary, corrections, policing and homeland security.

Gerald Burke, director of the New England Institute of Law Enforcement Management, said the demand for easy access to learning has never been higher.

“If we’ve learned anything since Sept. 11, it’s that our law enforcement and public safety professionals need continued access to the most sophisticated, up-to-date training possible,” Burke said.

Eve Buzawa, professor and chairperson of the Department of Criminal Justice at UMass-Lowell, said from a regional standpoint, the flexibility of being able to take courses online is “essential” for criminal justice agencies because “they cannot afford to absorb the loss of experienced personnel to full-time graduate or professional study.”