Ivy Tech Community College recently announced plans to develop a program aimed at learning techniques for both cyber and homeland security.

Developing the programs became a reality when Ivy Tech was awarded a $2.5 million grant for training, to be dedicated to labs across 24 different campuses in the “high-growth career fields” of information and technology, and cyber security, according to campus President Marlon Mitchell.

Last month during its Welcome Block Party at the Gary campus, Crown Point and Gary police were on hand to demonstrate and celebrate the importance of security with a special presentation by their K-9 units, which are used in a variety of ways in security work, the officers said.

“We have already secured a classroom that will be complete with a network training system so that students get first-hand experience and professional development,” Mitchell said.

“Our focus remains on our students and sparking their interests and preparing them for real-world applications.”

Dean of Business and Public Services, Kevin Tullis, Ph.D., who has been an administrator for 10 years, said Ivy Tech is the first university he has worked at that will have such a hands-on security program.

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“There are many with online courses, but I feel our program will benefit our students tremendously,” Tullis said.

Tullis thinks most people do not think about cyber security on a local level, since national security is always at the forefront. He said financial institutions, universities and businesses are extremely vulnerable to security issues, and that protecting cyber-security locally is important.

“The most fulfilling thing about education is to see your students in the workforce. Our goal is graduating them and putting them to work, starting at an (annual) range of $50,000” in this field.

“Police work is police work, and these dogs are just as important to what we do as anything,” said Jeff Eldridge, Crown Point police officer.

“When we look for dogs, we look for character and temperament and make sure they are stable. They are part of our family.”

The officers presented a demonstration on how the K-9 officers work with them. One focused on how the dogs sniff for drugs and other contraband to find things police otherwise might miss.