FRCC Brings Law Enforcement Academy to Northern Colorado

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After much planning and collaboration, Front Range Community College will open a Law Enforcement Academy in January.

This academy gives northern Colorado law-enforcement agencies and individuals wanting a law-enforcement career an option for Colorado POST training. POST stands for Peace Officer Standards Training, the gateway to employment as a peace officer in Colorado. You can’t become an officer without POST certification.

Academy Training Meets POST Standards

The training in FRCC’s academy conforms to the Colorado POST standards and state certification requirements and gives the basic skills and knowledge necessary to perform the entry-level duties of a peace officer.

“We are excited about the advancement to police training the Law Enforcement Academy at Front Range Community College represents,” said Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith. “Professional officers entering policing today need a tremendous base of knowledge and skills when they come in the door. This collaboration between FRCC and the police agencies throughout Larimer County will prepare students for that challenge.”

Some law-enforcement agencies plan to send vetted officer candidates and pay for the training. This is how the academy developed its first cohort. Other agencies require potential officers to complete such training before submitting an application, so the student would be responsible for costs. Either way – with the first way being the better route – FRCC is ready with newly redesigned classroom space at our Prospect Center site, 1501 Academy Court, Fort Collins.

There are minimum standards to meet before admission – 21 years old or older being one. And, of course, there are certain disqualifying acts in a person’s background, mostly involving convictions for any felony and a number of misdemeanors and military disciplinary actions. The Colorado POST website has all the information.

Based on current tuition and fees, the academy costs $7,728. This compares favorably with other community college programs in Colorado – in fact, as much as $950 less. Students also are responsible for books, uniforms, and supplies.

Complete Training in 17 Weeks

It’s intense training – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week for 17 weeks, plus some weekend and nighttime hours for such things as law-enforcement driving and DUI operations.

The academy opens Jan. 8. Most of the instructors are law-enforcement officers and supervisors from Fort Collins Police, Greeley Police, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, and the Loveland Police Department. These agencies also helped with the planning of the academy and its curriculum.

A second cohort is scheduled to start in mid-August 2018. Be on the lookout for application announcements in late April.

Laura Manuel, Ph.D., director of the FRCC Criminal Justice Program and a retired police officer with more than 20 years experience, is the academy director.

Pursue Further Studies in Criminal Justice

One additional option to successful completers of the academy is to continue on for an Associate of Applied Science in criminal justice. Many law-enforcement agencies also require an academic degree in addition to POST certification. The Law Enforcement Academy itself is 39 academic credit hours, so an additional 21 credit hours in prescribed coursework, which could take as little as two semesters, completes the degree.

If you are interested in other public-safety areas, consider the Public Safety Dispatch certificate or the transferable Associate of Arts in criminal justice, which transfer to any of six Colorado colleges or universities.

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John Feeley is director of public relations at Front Range Community College.