Thursday, March 30, 2017

OUC’s police training program earns VA-approved institution status


Veteran and military affiliated students who attend Ohio University Chillicothe’s Southern Ohio Police Training Institute (SOPTI) will now be able to use their Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits thanks to approval through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Education benefits earned through service in the United States military for qualifying veterans can be applied to the cost for attendance of the SOPTI program.

“We are extremely pleased veterans and military-affiliated personnel who attend SOPTI will now be able to utilize their military educational benefits,” said Terri Mikesh, commander of the SOPTI program at OUC. “We truly appreciate their service to our country, and know their experience will be a definite asset as they embark on their journey to serve our local communities as peace officers.”

SOPTI is a Basic Peace Officer Training program that is conducted in strict compliance to all rules and regulations prescribed by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. Cadets gain exposure to and conduct hands on training in traffic enforcement, field sobriety, firearms qualification, subject control, ethical decision making and physical readiness among numerous other blocks of instruction, accumulating 700 hours of training time throughout the course.

OUC officials worked in conjunction with the Ohio state approval authority for more than six months to address all the necessary requirements to become a VA certified program eligible to accept VA education benefits.

“This has been a long process but well worth the effort in having the SOPTI Academy approved for submitting and receiving VA education benefits,” said Dave Edwards, director of the Ohio University Veterans and Military Student Services Center in Athens. “There was a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to make this happen and it’s a testament to OHIO’s pledge to serve our veteran and military-affiliated students.”

“This approval is a reflection of our commitment to our veteran and military-affiliated students and the veteran community of which OUC was founded upon,” said Dr. Brenda Phillips, OUC Associate Dean. “It’s like being able to pay back just a fraction of what they’ve given to us through their service.”

Payment amounts may vary depending on the type of educational benefit used by the student. According to the VA, monthly entitlements for eligible students will be based on the number of clock hours attended during each week of the month.

The OUC Veteran’s Office and the Ohio University Veterans and Military Student Services Center are available to help student veterans navigate the process of utilizing their education benefits for this program. Interested individuals can contact OUC’s Veteran’s Office directly at 740-774-7730 or the Athens campus at 740-566-8387.

For more information on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs education and training benefits, visit www.benefits.va.gov.

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