COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The Criminal Justice Academy rolled out new training to speed up the process for an officer to apply for a job and put the officer on the streets.
The program is an attempt to decrease the backlog many law enforcement departments across the state are seeing to fill vacancies quicker.
Before this program rolled out, future law enforcement officers were required to spend 12 weeks at the Criminal Justice Academy—but now that time is cut down to eight weeks.
Law enforcement departments across the state are having trouble recruiting and retaining officers. But even when a department finds a candidate, it still would take the recruit an average of 106 days to enter the police academy.
That’s because the Criminal Justice Academy was only able to offer 16 12-week classes a year with a capacity of about 1,100 future officers.
Now, the academy is dividing that 12 weeks up into 4 weeks at the hiring department and then 8 weeks of training in Columbia.
“The students do four weeks at home of videos we have produced. They take a test every week, then they come here and take a cumulative test,” said director Jackie Swindler, SC Criminal Justice Academy.
“We had to do something to get those numbers through and we had to do something to get people trained quicker,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster.
Before this program, the academy was only able to offer 16 classes a year, but with this they’re able to increase that number to 24.
So, with the eight extra training classes, the academy will now be able to offer, that’s potentially an additional 560 new officers each year for the state.