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Center of Excellence for Criminal Justice and Homeland Security Gains First Partners 

 

In what is being described as the first public-private venture of its type nationally, Anderson University has partnered with Anderson County to establish a forward-thinking Criminal Justice and Homeland Security Center of Excellence within the former Duke Energy administrative building at the corner of Murray Avenue and Bleckley Street in Anderson.

The County will house its Emergency Operations Center within facility initially along with Anderson University’s Criminal Justice program and the Command College of South Carolina. Eventually several more municipal, state and federal law enforcement entities could come together to conduct separate official activities and collaborate to create synergy to strengthen the educational experience of both undergraduate and graduate students preparing for careers and enhancing credentials in the fields of criminal justice, emergency preparedness, and homeland security.

Anderson University took ownership of the building last fall in a partial sale - partial gift arrangement with Duke Energy Carolinas for the expansion of its growing criminal justice programs.  Local, state, and company-wide Duke Energy officials worked with the University to set aside the former administrative building for the advancement of public safety and quality of life.

The University’s School of Criminal Justice, including its graduate-level Command College of South Carolina, will relocate to the Duke facility’s first floor.  At the same time, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office will establish its Emergency Operation Center on the second floor of the building including approximately 6,000 square feet.  The Anderson Police Department is exploring the potential to locate its Digital Forensics Laboratory within the remaining 1,000 square feet.

In making the announcement, AU president, Evans Whitaker, said, “Each entity is studying the opportunity to create an unprecedented public safety impact on our community, the potential operational advantages and/or disadvantages of such a venture, and possible paths forward to bring the organizations together under one roof for collaboration.  Driving us at all times has been the desire to make a positive difference in our community, to do it efficiently, and to align our separate resources strategically to make it happen.  I give special credit to County Council as a whole for its forward thinking.  Had they not approached the University with the desire to work together for the benefit of our County, this simply would not have happened.  We are deeply grateful to the County Council and the Sheriff’s Office for their willingness to join with us to do something good that has never been done.  We believe it will not only be successful, but that it holds the potential to be a national model for other communities.  Both the County and the University are very hopeful the City will join in this initiative.”

George Ducworth, professor and chair of AU’s School of Criminal Justice, said, “We are very excited about the partnership the University and its partners wish to form. From our perspective, it will give our students an unprecedented opportunity to interact with the County’s Emergency Operation Center, the Upstate Fusion Center, which promotes intelligence and information sharing among many local, state, and federal entities, as well as other facets of the Sheriff’s Office and the Police Department.”

Anderson University offers multiple tracks for criminal justice education including a degree completion program designed for those who hold two-year criminal justice degrees from technical colleges, several four-year programs for entering freshmen, and a graduate program for existing top law enforcement and public safety professionals.  The graduate program offers the Master of Criminal Justice degree and is the signature program of the University’s Command College of South Carolina.

The University’s Board of Trust recently approved a new bachelor of criminal justice degree in Homeland Security/Emergency Preparedness that supports its local as well as national interests. The degree is designed to prepare graduates for positions with local, state and federal government agencies such as homeland security/emergency preparedness agencies, city and state police and sheriffs’ departments, probation and parole departments, FBI, State Law Enforcement Division, drug enforcement agencies, the Secret Service, correctional institutions, juvenile justice agencies and in private, industrial security.   

Anderson University is a selective comprehensive university offering bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees on campus and online.  Anderson is ranked in the Top Tier of US News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges and is on that publication’s list of the 46 “Up & Coming” universities in America (#1 in The South).  It is also ranked as one of America’s “100 Best College Buys.”

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