COS Police Academy
Training for 50 Years
Director, Police Academy and Training Programs
The Tulare-Kings County Police Academy is now celebrating its 50th year of operation as a state-certified police training program. The Police Academy graduated its first class in December of 1962. At that time, 29 students, all full-time law enforcement officers, attended a several week course in the basement of the Tulare County Sheriff's Department. Most of those officers had been working as officers for 12-18 months before attending the training....a whole different world then today.
In fact, in 1962, police officers had a very different life. In many agencies, officers typically had no formal training before putting on the uniform and would spend only a few days in on-the-job-training before working alone. Most new officers had military experience, so they were familiar with weapons and hand-to-hand combat, but they had to rely on common sense and a fair amount of luck. Of course, there were fewer laws to learn, less equipment to manage (a gun, handcuffs, and a nightstick) and few formal procedures to follow...many people just got hand-cuffed to a tree until they sobered up.
Today's officer has an entirely different experience. The range of knowledge required of today's police officer is vast...criminal statutes, mandated reporting requirements, crime scene investi
gation, case law, defensive tactics, chemical agents, vehicle operations, ethics, technology and life time fitness to name just a few. Candidates must undergo almost 1,000 hours of basic training and an average of 16-weeks of Field Training with an agency before they can work alone. The job is difficult, and qualified candidates are in demand.
To meet those needs, the Tulare-Kings Counties Police Academy, now in its 50th year of training, has just begun the 129th Basic Academy Class. On Monday, August 6th, 51 cade
Cadets at Inspection
ts began the 25-week course, which is held in the Public Safety Building at the Hanford Education Center. They will train an average 40 hours each week. They will take dozens of written tests, undergo exercise testing (firearms / defensive tactics) and participate in graded scenarios (handling realistic situation). They will write almost 50 reports, do several thousand push-ups and sit-ups, and learn to wear their uniform with pride. Once their training is complete, they will have a certificate that allows them to work as a peace officer anywhere in the state...and they will have earned it.
In addition to the Police Academy, COS offers other short-term police training on the Hanford Campus. As a regional perishable skills training center for the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), active officers from Kings and Tulare County agencies undergo bi-annual training on driving (simulators / skidcar), defensive tactics and force options. Other courses include a wide variety of law enforcement professional training and an Adult Correctional Officer Core Academy.