Working Toward Peace and Community Building
Drew Offering Professional Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Leadership
During his years in the Summit Police Department, former Police Chief Robert Lucid, who is now Drew’s public safety director, recalled several tense situations that could have escalated into violence.
There was the man carrying a knife on the street that ended up putting down his weapon before anyone got hurt, an angry husband who carried a baseball bat when police responded to a domestic complaint, and a man who opened his front door carrying a shotgun after his daughter complained she had been abused.
“Everyone in law enforcement is met with unexpected and potentially explosive confrontations that can be resolved with talk rather than force,” Lucid recalls. “The incidents were always resolved with conflict-reducing maneuvers and dialogue.”
Helping defuse violent situations through conflict resolution is just one of the goals behind Drew’s new Certificate on Conflict Resolution and Leadership program being offered for the first time this fall by the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.
Jonathan Golden, professor of anthropology and religious studies, says the graduate school surveyed nearly 100 law enforcement professionals and veterans in the tri-state area. The survey showed support for conflict resolution training and recognized citizen cooperation as an important tool for fighting crime.
The certificate, designed especially for police officers and veterans, is a five-course, 15-credit undertaking that brings together professors and outside professionals in the fields of community policing, mediation, and alternative dispute resolution.
Golden says the course is ideal for veterans returning from service, who already have experience in peace building and community building and are integrating back to the private sector for employment. It is also useful for law enforcement officials who may be embarking on a second career or for any professional seeking additional training and certification. Community leaders and clergy also may benefit from the professional training, he said.
“Professionals from the worlds of security, military, and law enforcement have considerable field experience, but that does not always translate easily as they seek employment in the civilian workplace,” says Golden. “Filling that gap is one great benefit of this program.”
The cost of the new Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Leadership program is being underwritten by a generous gift from Dr. Sol and Mrs. Meri Barer of Mendham, New Jersey, and from other funding sources. The first class will begin in the fall semester. To find out more information about the certificate program, contact the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.