College, municipal police officers lining up for training programs offered by URI Police Department

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Next sessions set for Aug. 19, 20

KINGSTON, R.I. – July 2, 2008 – Eighty-six college and municipal police officers spent two days in June on the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston Campus participating in “Verbal Judo,” the first offering of the URI Campus Police Training Institute.

Taught by Michael Manley, a retired lieutenant from the New York City Police Department, the program gave officers the verbal tools to diffuse possible or existing violent situations.

It was such a success that URI will be offering more law enforcement training programs as part of the new institute. Thanks to the efforts of URI Police Lt. Michael Donohue, Major Stephen Baker, Joseph Pittle, director of conferences and special program development at URI, and Public Safety Director Robert Drapeau, URI will host its next programs, “Professional Policing,” Aug. 19 and “Officer Survival,” Aug. 20.

“During the past two years, we have increased training opportunities for our own department,” Drapeau said. “But now we are offering our training to other municipal and college departments.”

Donohue said it would have cost URI more than $6,000 to bring in Manley and his “Verbal Judo” program. But through his membership in the Rhode Island Law Enforcement Trainers Association, Donohue started laying the groundwork for a program that would be open to URI and other police departments to help officers deal with a variety of issues.

“Lt. Donohue has designed a program that mixes campus and municipal officers, which is really a great match,” Drapeau said. “Since campus and municipal officers often interact during campus crime and emergency incidents, the training program gives them a chance to get to know each other better in a less stressful, educational environment. Major Baker tapped into his contacts in municipal departments to make the first program even stronger. This kind of class optimizes professional respect and enhances relationships.”

J. Vernon Wyman, assistant vice president for business services, said the University has a strong tradition of providing training and research that benefits law enforcement. The Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy was once run at URI, and for 30 years, URI’s College of Pharmacy has been the home of the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory. The laboratory, which was originally established in the Department of Chemistry in 1951, has trained more than 2,000 police officers in crime scene and Breathalyzer analysis.

In addition, the 9-year-old URI Forensic Science Partnership has brought together a variety of campus disciplines to conduct research that has benefited local police departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and international governments.

“We have the facilities and we have a history of being a major resource for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies,” Wyman said. “I give a tremendous amount of credit to Joe Pittle for helping to organize this program.”

Pittle said the institute is also able to offer programs at other sites, such as URI’s W. Alton Jones Campus, located on 2,300 acres of woodlands in West Greenwich, the Narragansett Bay Campus, and the Providence Campus. It can also partner with the Community College of Rhode Island for use of its campuses.

“In the near future, we will be working together to create a website that will provide detailed information about each program and the ability to register for all or individual programs,” Pittle said. “We also want to develop some promotional brochures that we can send to law enforcement agencies.”

The Pawtucket Police Department sent 36 officers to “Verbal Judo” and Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and Brown University each sent a contingent.

Donohue said using verbal tools to diffuse explosive situations is critical to the campus police officer. “We are using verbal skills to help to teach students how to grow into responsible adults and to avoid making costly mistakes.”

The next program on Tuesday, Aug. 19, “Professional Policing” will feature Dr. Frank Gallo, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University and Capt. Bruce Moreau of the Pawtucket Police Dept. There is a $50 fee for the program.

Charles E. Miller III, and FBI instructor at the Education/Training Services Unit out of Clarksburg, W. Va will teach the third program, on Wednesday, Aug. 20. The session is being presented by the FBI–Law Enforcement Officers Killed in Action. The program is free.

Both events will be held in Room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For further information, contact Lt. Mike Donohue at 277-5452 or send him an email at Additional details are also available at