1998, computers have been an integral tool in the Mississippi Police
Corps' training of future law enforcement officers at Camp Shelby
Army National Guard Base. Until recently, however, students in the
24-week program had struggled in the classroom with slow dial-up
Internet connections, unable to access more than one computer at
a time through traditional phone lines.
With a little help from The University of Southern Mississippi's
Office of Technology Resources, the Police Corps is now enjoying
the wonderful world of wireless. And the results, said Police Corps
assistant director Donald Keith, are drawing rave reviews.
is no different than being anywhere on Southern Miss's campus,"
Keith said of the newly wired building at Camp Shelby that allows
students to use the Internet without ever plugging into a phone
line. Students at both the Hattiesburg and Long Beach campuses already
enjoy access to wireless Internet service.
Police Corps is a program similar to ROTC in that it pays participants
up to $30,000 in scholarships and reimbursement for previous educational
expenses. After completing the rigorous training regimen, students
in the program are obligated to serve as a police officer for four
years, after which they can return to civilian life if they so choose.
A fully funded
federal program, the Police Corps houses its administrative offices
on the Hattiesburg campus of Southern Miss, which is designated
as the agency to serve the entire state. The Police Corps uses Camp
Shelby to train students in the classroom, gymnasium, rappel tower
and ropes courses. Students live on the base during the six-month
course. They conduct driver training at the Bobby Chain Municipal
Airport and firearms training at the Hattiesburg Police Department.
Corps trains at Shelby for several reasons. Because students do
so much "role playing" and other police-related training,
it makes sense to hold the course off campus, Keith said. "We
have actors who portray different situations, and a lot of times
when we're doing role playing, other students on campus wouldn't
know if it was real or not," he said.
The move toward
wireless Internet access, Keith said, came at a logical time. When
Camp Shelby dedicated a building for exclusive use by the Police
Corps, it turned to Southern Miss's Office of Technology Resources
(OTR) for its networking expertise.
administrators, Robert Hedgepeth and Knight Northrop, installed
the equipment, including a T-1 line that links Shelby to the university's
director of technology infrastructure with OTR, said that the upgrade
allows the Police Corps to operate in a wireless environment and
to have access to Southern Miss's own high-speed network. "They
can now take full advantage of using the Internet in the classroom,"
Strickland said. "They could use it before, but it was extremely
have been numerous. Besides being limited to one computer at a time,
the speeds at which students formerly operated were "incredibly
slow," Keith said. "Now we've got speed and multiple users
at the same time."
went wireless, students also had to use an infrared printer. Now
they can print out material in the classroom, as well as send information
to a larger printer and copying machine on the campus of Southern
wireless has increased educational opportunities for the students,
it has also increased communication between the staff at Shelby
and Southern Miss, Keith said. "This allows me now to work
at Shelby much easier because of the high-speed Internet, plus the
phone service," he said. "I can do a lot of work and still
stay closer to the action here, rather than being removed from it."