You see a lot of blue on our campuses. Usually it is paired with crimson and worn to support the Jayhawks. But at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Yoder, just outside of Hutchinson, there's a different reason most people are dressed in blue.
Seven in 10 Kansas law enforcement officers are trained at KLETC, where they receive the certification they need to work for law enforcement agencies across Kansas.
Part of KU Continuing Education, the center graduated its 206th basic training class last Friday, with one of KU's own, Kurt Reinhardt of the KUMC Police Department, serving as class president.
Hundreds of friends, loved ones and colleagues packed the auditorium to see the 36 graduates receive their certifications. Beforehand, Governor Parkinson and I had the opportunity to meet the graduates and get a glimpse of what they go through during their 14 weeks of training.
The Wall of Honor in the center's lobby serves as a reminder that the career these trainees are pursuing is a dangerous one. Twenty KLETC graduates have fallen in the line of duty over the years. That's why much of the curriculum is devoted to training these officers to carry out their duties safely.
Some of this training takes place in simulators. Governor Parkinson volunteered to try the driving simulator (it is harder than it looks) and there's also a simulator that puts trainees in situations where they must decide in an instant whether to use force.
Other training takes place in the field, where trainees investigate mock crime scenes, hone their driving skills on a variety of road surfaces, and are put through scenarios that they'll face on the job. Traditionally, one of the last sessions before graduation has the trainees testify in a moot court. Kansas Supreme Court Justice Lawton Nuss served as the presiding judge for this class' trial.
There's also a significant amount of time devoted to study of constitutional law, the rights of defendants and other academic areas that are critical to the enforcement of our laws with fairness and integrity.
Integrity is a core value for the center, with KLETC Director Ed Pavey reminding the graduates that "integrity is the basis for community trust." Indeed, as Governor Parkinson told the class, the integrity they demonstrate in their profession separates our society from those societies in which the police are used as instruments of corruption or oppression.
I'm proud of the fact that the University of Kansas plays such an important role in training the individuals who dedicate their lives to keeping us safe. And I want to congratulate the graduates on this accomplishment, as well as thank them for the commitment they have made to protect and serve their communities.