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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 21, 2011) – In keeping with its tradition of providing quality programs that benefit the state’s citizens, the Missouri Safety Center is expanding its scope and purpose to create a new training division that serves a wide range of public safety personnel while meeting the state’s workforce needs.
Following an academic and administrative review on campus during the 2010-2011 academic year, the safety center established the Central Missouri Police Academy and the Institute for Public Safety. The opportunity to do so came on July 1 after the safety center assumed responsibility for the National Police Institute. UCM’s Department of Criminal Justice previously administered the institute which had a long history of providing training for individuals who are pursuing careers in law enforcement.
Contributing to the leadership of this new division will be an experienced public safety professional, Brian Wright. He was named director of the division Aug. 16.
“We are fortunate to find someone of Brian’s caliber,” said Terry Butler, director of the Missouri Safety Center. “First and foremost, it was important to find someone with a successful business background and entrepreneurial spirit, along with experience in adult education and a public safety profession, and Brian has it all.”
The National Police Institute was previously under the leadership of Mike Wiggins, professor emeritus of criminal justice. Wiggins retired from his post earlier this year.
“Building upon the work of the previous director, Dr. Wiggins, we will be expanding our course offerings to law enforcement, EMS (emergency medical services) and other public safety professionals,” Wright said. “These new programs will have a very positive effect on our communities and neighbors.”
Wright will oversee public safety professional training and certification programs that will allow UCM to achieve its mission in helping Missouri to meet its need for a highly trained workforce. The Central Missouri Police Academy will continue to conduct the basic 600-hour police academy offered to those interested in or pursuing a career in law enforcement with a goal of possibly expanding the basic curriculum to help make graduates more marketable to hiring law enforcement agencies. In addition, the Institute for Public Safety plans to offer a variety of training programs and certifications to fire departments, emergency medical services, dispatch, homeland security and other public safety professions.
A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Special Investigations Academy, Wright brings to his position 20 years of active service in the military, including spending his last nine years as a special agent in the USAF Office of Special Investigations where he specialized in program management and felony criminal investigations. After the Air Force, he served for nine years in global corporate security as the director of corporate security for Solectron Corporation, and then senior manager in charge of corporate security for Vishay Siliconix developing worldwide security programs in the United States, Europe and China. Wright also earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia College.
The Central Missouri Police Academy and Institute for Public Safety is housed within the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies. Roger Best, dean of the college, looks forward to educational opportunities this new division will provide, and the leadership Wright will bring to his new role.
“The institute provides a model for the types of partnerships that will form the foundation of the future of education,” Best noted. “Brian brings the experience and skills that will be invaluable in carrying on the legacy of the Central Missouri Police Academy while transforming the institute into one with a greater role that will provide direct benefits for the state of Missouri. Through Brian’s leadership, the institute will deliver exceptional training experiences that will be recognized state-wide for superior value.”