The SEMO Law Enforcement Academy will offer a nine-month, 720-hour program for Kennett residents who are interested in becoming a Class A Missouri Peace Officer.
Kennett chief of police Barry Tate said the program provides an opportunity for "so many people in the area who want to go to the Law Enforcement Academy", but do not have the time or money to travel to Cape Girardeau where the program is based. "It's a 100-mile drive," he said.
"I have a lot of people come in the office just asking what they have to do, what they need to do to get in law enforcement, and I tell them, and in Missouri you have to have the training before you can be hired."
Chief Tate said tuition is about $4,000, and it covers class instruction, books, uniforms, ammunition, and testing.
Accounting and business law student Jared Folkes sees the potential of having the new program at the SEMO Kennett campus if job opportunities are available in the city when the academy students graduate.
"There's more people needing jobs, and less job opportunities here," Folkes said.
Chief Tate cannot guarantee a job within his department, but he is glad to have first dibs on the batch of officers who will graduate from the program in May 2013. "We've had quite a few people from the Bootheel area that want to be in law enforcement and go to the academy. So, we're really excited about it, and we can also monitor this and hopefully get some good prospects out of it if we have any openings here."
Upon graduation, the Class A license students receive could serve as a ticket for an opportunity somewhere else. "Class A would mean that they could work anywhere in the state of Missouri except for St. Louis, Kansas City and the Missouri Highway Patrol."
Classes begin August 17 at the SEMO Kennett campus, located at 1230 First Street. Classes are on Friday evenings, 6-10 p.m., all day Saturdays and Sundays.
SEMO hosted information meetings about the classes in Kennett at 2 and 6 p.m. Wednesday.
For more information about the program, call the Law Enforcement Academy at (573) 290-5110.