New certificate program, beginning fall 2015, was designed with law enforcement and veterans in mind.

BC_1214_ConflictResolution_088Madison, N.J.—Can additional training in conflict resolution and cultural awareness help build bridges between law enforcement professionals and the communities they protect?

Drew University’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies thinks it can, and this fall will launch a professional development program, the Certificate on Conflict Resolution and Leadership, designed with veterans, law enforcement experts, and others in mind.

Jonathan Golden, professor of anthropology and religious studies, said 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.

In developing the program, a five-course, 15-credit undertaking, Golden brought together professors in the humanities and social sciences with professional experts in the fields of mediation, community policing, and alternative dispute resolution.

Golden said 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 may benefit from the professional training also, 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,” said Golden. “Filling that gap is one great benefit of this program.”

The course is built on three pillars, Golden said, including conflict resolution, cultural sensitivity, and contextual awareness. “Our mission is to educate a next generation of professionals committed to reducing conflict and forging more peaceful communities at home and abroad as the ultimate path to security.”

“Part of any program designed to provide conflict resolution must be to represent fairly the interests of both sides of the dispute; the need for the police to literally protect themselves as well as the need of the community to feel respected,” said Robert Lucid, public safety director for Drew and the former police chief of Summit, New Jersey.

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 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.