FAQs

Hosting the School of Police Staff and Command

If you are interested in hosting the School of Police Staff and Command on-site at the location of your choice, please read through the information below and then contact NUCPS at nucps@northwestern.edu or 800-323-4011.

My agency is interested in hosting the SPSC. What is the first step?

The first step is to contact NUCPS to discuss the following issues:

  • Course format
  • Dates
  • Cost

The person to contact is Shelly Camden, Deputy Director. Shelly can be reached toll-free at 800-323-4011, directly at 847-467-0893 or by email at s-camden@northwestern.edu.

The address for Northwestern University Center for Public Safety is: 1801 Maple Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201-3193.

Off-campus SPSC courses use a variety of formats (e.g., 10-weeks straight; five weeks on, one or two weeks off, five weeks on; or two weeks a month for five months). Although some programs have used a format of one week a month for ten months, this is not recommended.

Costs are based on the tuition rate in effect at the time a proposal is sent to the Host Agency. This locks in a fixed price even if there is a tuition increase before the course begins.

The next step is to survey law enforcement agencies in the region to assess interest in sending students to the course. If there is sufficient interest, the Host Agency should contact NUCPS and ask for a proposed Agreement to be sent.

Is there a contract between the Host Agency and NUCPS?

The Host Agency will receive an agreement between the Host Agency and NUCPS.  The agreement describes the responsibilities for each party and the cost of the program.  If this agreement is acceptable to the Host Agency, sign a copy and return it to NUCPS.  We will return a fully executed copy for the Host Agency’s records. Please let us know in advance if an original paper copy is needed.  Otherwise electronic copies will be provided.

On occasion, Host Agencies have drawn up their own agreements.  Such alternatives are acceptable if approved by the Northwestern University's office of general counsel.

If my agency hosts an SPSC program, what is the total dollar amount that my agency will owe NUCPS?

The total cost to the Host Agency is determined by the number of students the Host Agency has in the class.  There are no out of pocket costs due and owing to NUCPS.  In the unusual circumstance where the Host Agency collects registrations, the amount due is tuition amount times the number of students enrolled at the end of the second week of class.  However, in most circumstances NUCPS will handle registrations and billing for the tuition.

In addition to the cost based on tuition, what other costs will the Host Agency incur?

Other than the cost based on tuition, the Host Agency is not responsible to the Center for Public Safety for any other costs.  However, the Host Agency is expected to provide the following administrative support both before and during the course:

  • Advertise the SPSC course in the region to make law enforcement agencies aware of the location, dates, cost, and student qualifications to attend the course;
  • Provide written information about the course dates, location, and accommodations;
  • Provide a suitable classroom at no additional cost to the Center for Public Safety;
  • Assign a Contact Person at the training site to assist instructors during the course; and
  • Assist in registering guests at the graduation luncheon.

How does the Host Agency recover the cost of advertising, providing space for the training and administrative support for the course?

The Host Agency can receive up to four free seats depending on the number of paying students in the class.  The free seats can be used for Host Agency personnel or can be sold to other agencies. 

Is a tuition refund given if a student withdraws from the course?

Yes, a tuition refund is given based on the number of weeks the student has completed. 

Student Refund
Withdraws During Week Percent Tuition
1 90
2 80
3 40
4-10 0

How soon should the Host Agency begin advertising?

The Host Agency should begin advertising at least nine months before the scheduled beginning of the course and preferably one year in advance. The long lead-time is needed for departments to include funding for the course in their budgets.

What are the most effective ways to advertise the course?

The two most effective advertising strategies are to mail information to chiefs and training directors and to speak about the program at chiefs meetings in the region. To be effective, however, both strategies must be implemented at least 9-12 months before the start of the course. .

How can NUCPS help with the advertising?

NUCPS can provide brochures, fliers and examples of course announcements.  Upon request, NUCPS may send individuals to speak about the SPSC at chiefs meetings in the area. Additionally, the NUCPS will list the course on our website which provides a broader exposure to the course offering and will include it in any relevant advertisements. The hosting agency can also use their website to make announcements or use email to send announcements to agencies in the surrounding area.

What if the Host Agency does not receive enough registrations?

Approximately 60 days before the scheduled start of the course, NUCPS and the Host Agency will review enrollment and determine if there will be a sufficient number of paying students. The Host Agency can decide at that time to cancel the course with no financial obligation to NUCPS.

Who can attend the School of Police Staff and Command?

The School of Staff and Command is a university-based education program intended for mid- and upper-level management personnel. The course is not appropriate for entry-level officers, deputies or troopers. It is expected that SPSC students will:

  • Have at least two years of supervisory experience, and
  • Be prepared to complete upper-division (i.e., junior- and senior-level) university course work.

Upper-division university course work presumes that a student has the following skills:

  • Can write one to two 5-8 page staff studies/research papers
  • Can perform arithmetic operations and understand elementary algebraic notation
  • Can read, comprehend and retain assigned materials in textbooks, professional journals, trade magazines and other sources; and
  • Can schedule time to complete out-of-class reading and writing assignments.

What is the ideal class composition?

A valuable part of the SPSC experience is the interaction students have with officers from other agencies. To maximize that benefit, NUCPS recommends that no more than half of the students in the class be from the same agency.

What kinds of agencies send students to the SPSC?

SPSC classes have had students from the following kinds of agencies:

  • Airport police
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs agents
  • Correctional officers
  • Federal Protective Service officers
  • Field and wildlife police
  • Fire departments
  • Fish and game police
  • Hospital security police
  • Housing security police
  • Inspector General's office agents
  • Park police
  • Military police
  • Municipal police departments
  • Sheriffs departments
  • State highway patrol departments
  • State patrol departments
  • State police agencies
  • State protective service agencies
  • Tribal police
  • University police
  • Water conservation agents

What is the maximum class size?

The maximum class size is 45 students including both tuition-paying students and students in the "free seats" of the Host Agency.

What is the minimum class size?

The minimum class size is 25 paying students.

What is a suitable classroom for the SPSC?

Although it is not possible to define precise standards, there is agreement among educators about the elements of the physical environment needed for effective learning.  The most important elements include the following:

  • General spaciousness and shape of the room.  Is there adequate space for each student (i.e., enough desk space and enough room between students to leave the room without disrupting others)?  Is there enough room in the front of the room for the instructor to teach effectively?  Can every student easily see and hear the instructor?  (A room that is sufficient for a one or two-day seminar may not be adequate for a ten-week program).
  • Internet accessibility in the classroom for all students to use simultaneously while in class. Keep in mind that many students will have more than one device in the room, such as a laptop or table and a smart phone, all of which will use the wifi connection.
  • Adequate electrical sources for all students to plug in laptop computers.
  • Adequate and adjustable lighting in the room.  Is the room bright enough when needed and can the lights be dimmed for film and video presentations?
  • General noise level.  Can every student easily hear the instructor?  Is it possible to minimize outside noise by closing windows and doors?
  • Adjustable heating/cooling.  Can the heat and cooling be adjusted as needed?

In addition, the room should have a table in the front for use by the instructor, an overhead projector, a projection device suitable for PowerPoint presentations, and a screen large enough to be seen from the back of the room, be capable of playing DVDs and one or more monitors that can be seen by every student, a personal computer or laptop, sufficient board space with a supply of chalk or markers, and an easel with newsprint and markers. 

What does the Contact Person do during the course?

During the course, the Contact Person is expected to provide, as needed, the following support:

  • Assist NUCPS staff with classroom setup on the day before the first day of class;
  • Arrange to have extra course materials returned to NUCPS after the first week of class at no additional cost to the Host Agency;
  • Receive and hold other materials for instructors;
  • Inform the Course Director of student requests;
  • Assist instructors with small, occasional copying requests;
  • Mail student reports, exams and other material to NUCPS (prepaid mailing materials are provided); and
  • Monitor exams when a NUCPS instructor is not available (this only occurs if an instructor, scheduled to monitor an exam, is delayed in arriving at the training site)

Can the Contact Person be a member of the class?

Because the Contact Person may have additional responsibilities and the course is taxing in and of itself, it is not recommended that the Contact Person be a member of the class.

How can I get additional information about the SPSC?

For additional information, contact:

Shelly Camden,Deputy Director                                  

847-467-0893
800-323-4011
s-camden@northwestern.edu