Public safety at Valencia College completed phase one of its reorganization on February 14, 2014. The restructuring was sparked as a result of the addition of the Central Florida Fire Institute (CFFI) that was added to the CJI campus in summer 2013.
“Integration of CJI and CFFI under public safety improves the support and service to students of both institutes. We saw that it was a natural fit and took it on because we created the academic program for an A.S. degree in fire science in addition to the certificate training; and there had been good synergies between CJI and Valencia College Continuing Education,” said Jeff Goltz, CJI director.
By combining the institutes, the core efficiencies realized are in the areas of the “student experience,” the highest and most important priority of the team. Now applications, enrollment and advising are occurring seamlessly whereas they had been occurring separately. What’s more, there are fiscal efficiencies.
When developing the new model, the team looked to best practices currently used by Allied Health and Continuing Education departments, which provided guidance for reorganization.
“We created a new public safety model that had a minimal fiscal impact on the College and a small impact when it came to restructuring staff,” Jeff said.
All told, eight staff positions were reclassified for effective structure and support of public safety training and education. Jeff anticipates that there will be efficient lines of communication for the institutes that will contribute to effective change management.
CJI plays an essential role in the public safety arena in Central Florida (Orange and Osceola counties) area. Between the two institutes, there are approximately 7,100 sworn public safety professionals from law enforcement, corrections and fire that are students or prospective students for the training and education programs offered at CJI.
Projections from the University of Florida show that Orange County is expected to lead the state in growth for the next 30 years, adding nearly 670,000 residents by 2040; thereby necessitating a significant need for public safety personnel.
Moreover, trends in homeland security with its ongoing threats of terrorism and natural disasters, especially in Florida, — coupled with the fact that the region attracts more than 50 million visitors each year in tourism at local theme parks and hotels — places Valencia at the nucleus of providing public safety training and development for those industries.
This week, Valencia will begin visioning meetings with internal stakeholders on the vision of public safety and in May 2014 will meet with its external stakeholders. Outcomes of the stakeholder visioning sessions are expected to produce expansion of facilities required to support expanded programs.
“The partnerships we have in the region are extraordinary and we hope to develop even stronger synergies between the two institutes,” Jeff said.
The addition of former Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney, who joined the College as assistant vice president for safety, security and risk management on Monday, February, 24, 2014, will be a contributor to the long-range public safety strategy.
“Valencia attracts the best talent and Paul’s strong professional network and knowledge of public safety in Central Florida make him a great resource in an operational capacity. And as campus security continues to evolve, a new paradigm for security for the entire college system must also change,” Jeff concluded.
Ultimately, the mission is to facilitate collaboration of public safety professionals, faculty and administrators as the College continues to develop superior programs and a reputation for providing world-class local, regional, national and international public safety training and education.