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Dybevick graduates from SPSC class

Worthington Public Safety Director Mike Cumiskey (left) helps Worthington Police Captain Chris Dybevick hold his diploma from SPSC class. Dybevick also holds the textbook from the class.

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington Police Captain Chris Dybevick graduated recently from an intensive course through Northwest University's Center for Public Safety.

The class, School of Public Staff and Command (SPSC), is for upper level management law enforcement, and Dybevick is eager to bring his new knowledge to the Worthington Police Department.

"The course is designed to make me a better administrator," Dybevick said. "It covers the nuts and bolts of running a department, from human resources to leadership concepts."

Dybevick was encouraged to attend the 10-week course by Worthington Public Safety Director Mike Cumiskey, who had taken the course himself in 1997 while working for the Winona Police Department.

"I know what it did for me," Cumiskey stated.

As the leader of the police department, Cumiskey said he wants Dybevick to be ready to fill in for him in necessary. When he was a U.S. Marine, he was required to always know the job of the man above him, and Cumiskey believes that should be true in law enforcement as well.

"I want my captain to know what I do so if I have to be gone, (Dybevick) can step in," he added. "You can't expect people to be leaders if you don't develop them along the way."

For the past 10 months, Dybevick has spent one week a month in Hermantown attending classes during the day and studying at night. During those weeks away, he was also networking and talking with other law enforcement management about their policies, procedures and practices.

"There were 23 people in the class from 14 different departments from around the state and South Dakota," Dybevick said. "The instructors came from around the country -- all very smart people."

Although the course is for law enforcement personnel, it isn't about guns or use of force, but about the leadership and management of a department. The students learned about laws, but in a management sense.

"We learned how to keep and retain people, how to write policy," Dybevick explained. "We learned how to use conceptual tools to get answers."

Going back to a college-level school was a bit tough on Dybevick at first.

"It started out hard because I wasn't used to the extra workload," he stated. "But once I got in the mode and learned how to study again, it got easier."

His constant companion for 10 months was his purple test book, which travelled north and south each month and even visited Mexico when he went on vacation.

"It's dog-eared, filled with highlighted parts and notes in the margin," Dybevick laughed. "I got very well acquainted with my big, purple book."

During the course, Dybevick took two tests a week, did take-home assignments and wrote a study paper to fulfill the requirements of a 22 credit course crammed into 10 weeks.

"They throw so much stuff at you it in unbelievable," he said. "I was apprehensive at first. I had been out of the college setting for a long time."

One of the first things the class did was work on adult learning skills and determine what kind of learner each student was.

"I learn audibly," Dybevick commented with a grin, pointing out the doodles on a book cover.

Even though the schedule was grueling and he is glad to be done, Dybevick is already implementing ideas he picked up from class and from other students.

Cumiskey said he commended Dybevick for attending the class and also appreciates the sacrifices he and his family made to get through the 10 months.

"(Dybevick) is my right-hand man," Cumiskey admitted. "It was hard to have him gone, but developing each person in this department is vital to our organization."