A different kind of teacher

University police officer Todd Short received counterterrorism education training at the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training at Louisiana State University. Online Poster

University police officer Todd Short received counterterrorism education training at the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training at Louisiana State University. Online Poster

By Anne Gleason

University police officer Todd Short graduated from college in 1995 with a degree in speech communication, but no clear plan for his future.

He spent several years after college working at various bars in Champaign-Urbana, but after going on a ride-along one night with a high school friend who was a police officer, Short had found his future.

“The cop thing kind of gets in your blood,” he said. “It allows you the opportunity to go out and make a difference in the community.”

Since last January, however, Short has been making a difference far beyond this community.

He was selected by University Police Chief Oliver Clark to become involved in a counter-terrorism education-training program. Clark, who had been president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administration when the program was developed, was a major player in spearheading the counter-terrorism program for campus law enforcement after Sept. 11. Short said Clark worked with federal agents to develop the program.

“They decided we need to do something here. We have a lot of people to protect on campus,” Short said.

Short expressed interest and he took part in the first “train the trainer” program in Fall 2002. He began teaching classes last January and has already taught eight classes and a total of 136 students.

“Since January, I really hit the road to teach this thing,” he said. “I wanted to do some type of teaching and with this I’m kind of able to fuse both of my passions.”

Short was recently recognized for his work by the Academy for Counter-Terrorist Education at Louisiana State University, which coordinates the training program.

Woody Tircuit, associate director for the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training at LSU, said Short stood out as a trainer both in the number and quality of the courses he teaches. He was one of five people to be recognized. The Academy for Counter-Terrorist Education is part of the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training.

“The course is a really new course. He jumped on the bandwagon and really got going quickly,” Tircuit said. “This is significant because we’re trying to get this thing out and get people learning it.”

Tircuit said Short is repeatedly requested by students to teach courses.

Short estimated that he spends between 15 and 20 hours each week on the program, and it’s all on a volunteer basis.

“I’m not making any additional money, I’m just doing it because it needs to be taught,” he said. “People are getting online and seeing that these classes are out there.”

While Short still does street work with the University Police, he said the department covers for him when it’s necessary so that he can work on his training duties.

“The department gives me that opportunity and freedom to do it,” Short said. “They know that this is a priority.”