JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - For the first time, the Jonesboro Police Department will not send their newly hired officers in training to BRTC's Law Enforcement Training Academy.
Instead, they'll conduct their own .
"We're gonna get the same product out, we're just doing it a little quicker," JPD Sgt. Lyle Waterworth told Region 8 News.
Sgt. Waterworth said not only will it save the city money; it will also get those officers out on the streets faster.
Normally, a new hire would go through eight weeks of in-house training. After that, they would go to Law Enforcement Training Academy, or LETA, at Black River Technical College for 13 more weeks of training.
Once a Jonesboro police officer graduates from LETA, they must still go through nearly two months of field training.
In total, a JPD officer undergoes roughly six months of training before they can hit the streets on their own.
This time though, that process will be cut nearly two months by not sending them to LETA.
"We do a redundant training," Waterworth said. "LETA gets the content and we teach the method."
Sgt. Waterworth said this way, the training will be more concise and they will focus more on the specific policies and procedures of the Jonesboro Police Department.
"Not that what they teach at LETA isn't high caliber, but not everybody uses the Relativity Police System report writing system or the accident report writing system that we use," Sgt. Waterworth said.
As for taxpayer dollars, while academy training is state funded, the fuel to drive back and forth to BRTC in Pocahontas isn't so money will be saved from less drive time.
There are savings in salary as well since new hires are paid during their training period and that training period is now cut by eight weeks.
However, the real bonus for JPD is getting these officers patrolling the streets sooner.
"We want to make this set of candidates come out on the road quicker to alleviate the manpower level that we're at at this time," Sgt. Waterworth said. "We're not in an emergency on manpower. The citizens aren't going to see anything shortened or any services changed. What they are going to see is a quicker turnaround."
Instead of being done with training and ready to hit the road in May, Sgt. Waterworth explained that they'll be ready to patrol Jonesboro streets in March.
"They will be six weeks through training when LETA begins their first week," Sgt. Waterworth said. "This LETA class will start the second week of January."
Sgt. Waterworth said one drawback to sending these new officers through their own academy is that they won't get the networking that they'd have at LETA.
JPD does plan on using LETA again in the future, Sgt. Waterworth said they were simply in a situation where they needed officers trained faster.
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