Sandburg Criminal Justice Program to Purchase VR System

GALESBURG — Students in Carl Sandburg College’s criminal justice program will soon be able to use a simulator to help them experience scenarios that law enforcement officials may encounter.

Sandburg’s Board of Trustees during its regular monthly meeting Thursday approved a quote to purchase an Apex Officer Pro Training Simulator System, an immersive training tool that allows users to place themselves in a virtual reality to work through officer-involved situations. System operators can guide users through scenarios that include law enforcement officials, creating situations ranging from traffic stops to domestic violence calls to active shooters. The simulator allows users to practice de-escalation tactics that help reduce the potential for higher levels of force to subdue a suspect.

“It is important to have such a tool available for students to experience being a virtual police officer, especially for those who are unsure if this is the right career field for them,” said Dr. Christopher Barber, coordinator of Sandburg’s criminal justice program. “In using this system, our students can gain a better understanding of law enforcement and what makes it such a demanding career.”

Barber said the system also could be used for training by local law enforcement, corrections officers and security agencies in addition to holding public awareness demonstrations for community members.

Funds used to purchase the new technology will be from a $100,000 Innovative Bridge and Transitions grant from the Illinois Community College Board. Sandburg’s funded project will focus on easing workforce transitions for students in its criminal justice program.

The Board also approved a quote of $88,426 from Thomas P. Miller & Associates as a consultant to assist Sandburg’s Perkins team in its Perkins Program of Study Approval Process. Using the comprehensive local needs assessment and Perkins Data Dashboard, Miller & Associates will create an equity report and develop an action plan to bridge any uncovered equity gaps in Sandburg’s approval process. The grant-funded support for the consultant’s activities is from the Illinois Community College Board’s Perkins reserve funding for fiscal year 2022.

The Board approved a master services agreement with River City Construction of East Peoria for its construction management services. RCC had previously been selected by the Board at its December meeting to serve as the College’s construction manager for future projects, including the new science and technology center on the Main Campus in Galesburg.

A bid of $247,798 from D&L Excavating of Liberty was accepted to complete repairs to the parking lot at the Branch Campus in Carthage.

In other business, the Board approved the following:
• Employment of Stewart Ferrell as full-time physics instructor, effective July 1.
• Employment of Krista Winters as full-time biology instructor, effective July 1.
• Employment of Laura Rider as full-time radiologic technology instructor, effective July 1.
• Resignation/retirement of Donald McCoy as grounds assistant, effective April 30.
• Unpaid leave of absence with non-accrual of benefits for Dean Blust, effective April 28-June 17.

The Board’s next scheduled meeting is 7 p.m. April 28.