New Jersey City University (NJCU) and the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association (POBA) signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday to help cops obtain their four-year degrees.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Law enforcement is able to best serve our local communities when they themselves are a part of those communities,” NJCU Interim President Andres Acebo said in a statement.
“By making it easier for the men and women who have sworn to protect and defend our community to attend classes and learn side-by-side with our student body, which is overwhelmingly made up of the same richly diverse residents that they are charged with serving and protecting, we can encourage greater camaraderie between police officers and residents.”
The latest collaborative initiative from NJCU allows recommended officers who wish to pursue a degree at NJCU with a streamlined application process and convenient, flexible class scheduling conducive with their shifts, where possible, as well as necessary guidance and support, as part of the creative agreement.
NJCU will offer these officers credit and non-credit programs, workshops, and courses.
“I want to thank NJCU President Andrés Acebo and Police Director Tawana Moody for their support and guidance in the POBA’s efforts to reduce the financial burden of higher education for Jersey City police officers. Like many of our police officers who grew up in Jersey City, NJCU is an integral part of the fabric of the community,” added Jersey City POBA President Joe Cossolini, who is part of the NJCU Class of 2021.
“This union between the POBA and our city’s university sets the stage for a bright future that includes more highly educated police officers and a more enriching college experience for NJCU students who may never have had a positive experience with a police officer.”
The new partnership builds on the existing Tuition Reimbursement Program offered to Jersey City police officers and other public employees by the City of Jersey City, which provides up to $5,000 per year to cover the cost of higher education.
The program will help city employees obtain new skills and advance their careers, all while enhancing the level of services they are able to provide to Jersey City residents.
“Education is the great connector between people, and the more we know about each other the less we fear the unknown. This program supports our goal of promoting community policing by placing officers into classrooms with local students who come from the neighborhoods they patrol,” added Mayor Steven Fulop.
“It’s a great example of removing barriers between the police and the community, and I thank both NJCU and the JCPOBA for having the vision to pursue this kind of forward thinking policy.”