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Options on police academy pondered

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Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2011 12:00 pm

By Sonya Campbell

Killeen Daily Herald

Anyone hoping to become a certified peace officer will no longer be able to get Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education certification through Central Texas College.

The college informed the Central Texas Council of Governments earlier this month that it was cutting the police academy from its list of programs.

A news release from the college noted enrollment figures have declined since the opening of two other police academies.

The college requested a short-term extension to complete classes that are in progress, but the Texas commission rejected the request.

As a result, CTC agreed to renew its license until after the current classes are complete.

Afterward, the college intends to relinquish its license as a regional academy.

CTC provides the only "regional" police academy in the seven counties represented by CTCOG.

By law, only one regional facility is permitted within the area of a COG.

The college was granted a "regional" license by the CTCOG executive committee in the early 1970s. Since then, "local" academies opened in Killeen and Temple.

Killeen City Councilman Ernest Wilkerson said the Killeen academy has closed enrollment.

"We only take and train people we're hiring," he said.

"Our pass rate is one of the highest in the state."

The Temple academy offers open enrollment.

On March 15, the commission on law enforcement officers standards met with CTCOG staff to discuss options for the region.

Possibilities include designating an existing academy as a regional facility or CTCOG could open and operate its own.

The matter also was discussed during Thursday's CTCOG meeting.

Executive Director Jim Reed said with CTC no longer providing its academy in the long term, conversations about the future needed to begin taking place with people in the region.

Placing the topic on the agenda was meant to start a dialogue, he said.

In particular, CTCOG wants to determine what kind of regional academy is desired by law enforcement.

Reed said a meeting with local sheriffs and chiefs of police might take place as early as next week.

The deadline to submit an application to the state commission is April 25. It will then by considered in late May or early June, which leaves about three months to prepare for the next class, officials said.

Once law enforcement is consulted, the CTCOG staff will complete the application materials, and present documentation and staff recommendations to the CTCOG executive committee in April.

Contact Sonya Campbell at sonyas@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7557.

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