Friday, Nov. 02, 2012
County receives law enforcement academy approval
Sheriff’s Office to train cadets for service
By Bethany Bashioum
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office Regional Training Academy is officially open for business.
Sheriff Dwight Diehl and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster marked the opening of the Cass training academy with a ribbon cutting celebration with other local law enforcement agencies Oct. 30 at the Sheriff’s Office in Harrisonville.
“We are very proud of the people who have been putting this together,” Diehl said. “This office has recognized that to better serve the community, we must attract quality people, provide them with the tools they need to perform their tasks, and maintain a high level of training.”
For the past five years Cass County has hosted an academy for the Missouri Sheriff’s Association, taught by deputies from the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.
“Training can provide a greater return for the related expenses. We have positioned ourselves through staffing, acquisition and training to reach this point and are committed to produce a quality product. All of these plans have been undertaken so that we may better meet our goal of quality service to our community,” Diehl said.
Cass County received unanimous approval by the Missouri Police Officers Standards and Training Commission Board to become their own licensed training center Oct. 10.
“What this community has done since the early 1990s is showing what can occur in a county that decides law enforcement is important and invests in the resources, is a lesson that can be learned in almost every other community in the state,” said Koster, who previously served as Cass County’s prosecuting attorney.
Recruitment for the Class of 2013 in now underway, and at least 15 students are expected to enroll in the program.
The Regional Training Academy will conduct one part-time, 624 hour Class A certified training class per year and provide over 270 hours of continuing education to certified law enforcement officers throughout the year.
The comprehensive academy will take about 10 months to complete.
“We believe it is our responsibility to provide accessible training to agencies in our region,” Diehl said. “As part of a rural region, we understand how important it is to provide training that is rural-specific and located within close proximity.”
Classes will be held Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and every other Saturday, to allow cadets to maintain outside employment while in the program.
Courses will be taught by deputies and police officers from around the metropolitan area.
Those successfully completing the program will be qualified for Class A Law Enforcement certification, enabling participants to serve throughout the state of Missouri.
Koster said the academy will spread the Cass County’s positive work ethic throughout the state.
“I’ve pointed to Cass County, time and again, and said ‘Look at what that community did to improve the salary of its sheriff’s deputies, to build a new court system, a new sheriff’s office, a new jail, and a new juvenile justice system,’” Koster said. “With each of these improvements, I think all of us can agree that job satisfaction and recruitment of quality talent in Cass County law enforcement has skyrocketed.”
Cass County becomes the only sheriff’s office in the state approved as a licensed training center.
In February, a committee began an exploratory process of looking into the sheriff’s office becoming a licensed training center.
The initial application received preliminary approval in April from the Missouri POST Commission, and a site review was conducted in August.
“We then began to work on forming a partnership with Columbia College and created an advisory board representing five agencies departments in Cass County,” Diehl said.
The advisory will include members from the Raymore, Archie, Peculiar and Belton Police Department.
Sgt. Craig McMein will serve as director of the academy.
More than 30 deputies of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office are certified instructors.
“For the past several months, our instructors and staff have worked on lesson plan development and began the review and approval for over 600 hours of classroom training materials,” Diehl said
Applicants for the Regional Training Academy must meet the following qualifications:
Be 21 years of age by academy graduation.
Be a natural born or naturalized citizen of the United States.
Possess a high school diploma or GED.
Have limited traffic violations.
Have no felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions involving moral turpitude.
No DWI convictions within the past three years.
Pass a written aptitude test.
Pass a physical agility test.
Pass a director’s interview.
Class sizes are limited to 30 students per term.
By sponsoring the academy, Diehl said it will also give Cass County the ability observe cadets for possible future employment opportunities.
“We always like to hire out of the classes that we teach,” he said. “It gives us the opportunity to watch these people for 10 months. If we got some people who excel, and if we have openings, maybe we’ve got first choice to hire them.”
Kansas City Police Department and the Metropolitan Community College-Blue River are the the only preexisting academies in the area.
For more information about the program, visit the Cass County Sheriff’s Office Regional Academy website at www.cassmosheriff.org\academy.