Soldier presents military items at Allstate Center
by Bill Frederick
As a soldier serving in Iraq, Alex Somerson didn’t have a whole lot of spare time, but he used what time he had to enroll in online courses offered by SPC’s Center for Public Safety Innovation.
The Center is made up of three programs which are all based at the Allstate Center – the Regional Community Policing Institute, Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training, and the National Terrorism Preparedness Institute.
Somerson hoped to use some of his active duty time to acquire training that would help him both in Iraq and in his civilian career in law enforcement. He found the answer in SPC online courses.
“He was searching the Internet, looking for policing courses, and he found us there,” said Eileen LaHaie, Executive Director of the Center for Public Safety Innovation. “He liked the courses so much that we told him about our counterdrug courses, so he took them, too.”
In all, LaHaie said, Somerson took about 18 online courses from SPC while he was in Iraq, courses paid for via federal grants provided to SPC’s programs.
In 2006, the Center asked Somerson to write an article about his online training for Building Bridges, the center’s newsletter. His article contained the following:
“There is no price tag I can put for the amount of FREE training that SPC has given me, I know it has saved my life (and others) a number of times on the streets and on the battlefield.”
Somerson visited the Allstate Center on March 19, and he presented the staff with a framed arrangement of items from his Army regiment.
Somerson and his family now are relocating to Tampa Bay, where he plans to pursue his degree at St. Petersburg College.
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This project was supported by Grant No. 2009-CKWX-K010 awarded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Department of Justice, and Grant No. 2009-D1-BX-K030 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Department of Justice. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the SMART Office, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not represent the official position or policies of the United States Department of Justice.