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County supervisors temporarily shutter law enforcement academy

POSTED January 16, 2010 12:35 a.m.
Citing a continued budget shortfall and recession induced layoffs, the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to suspend the basic law enforcement academy training at the Ray Simon Training Center.
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said the suspension is temporary and that the advanced training courses for veteran officers will continue as scheduled.
“We know that revenue is going to be down and this was a better option than making further cuts to service,” Christianson said. “The temporary suspension is a pro-active approach to protect the jobs of the men and women who work for the sheriff’s department.”
Christianson said he is hopeful the basic training academy will be resumed in the next fiscal year or the year after, but that it’s all dependent on funding and the demand for new officers.
“Right now, no law enforcement agencies are hiring,” Christianson said. “If anything, they’re laying them off.”
The decrease in overall hiring of law enforcement officers is evident in the number of agency sponsored cadets going through the academy. From 2007 to 2008, the graduating classes were averaging 30 cadets who were leaving the academy with a job already lined up. In the two classes held in 2009, there were 13 and 11 cadets leaving with jobs. On Jan. 6 of this year the academy graduated the last class until the suspension is lifted and only one of the 21 graduates had an awaiting job.
There are currently six full-time positions assigned to the academy, but only two of those were actually filled. The salaries for both positions — a lieutenant and a sergeant — will be transferred over to the operations budget, with the sergeant remaining at the academy to oversee the mandatory advanced training courses.
The Ray Simon Training Center operated on a budget of a little more that $1.5 million with a major portion of the funding coming from San Joaquin Delta College’s instructional service agreement with the county. Through the agreement the training center received $3,493 for each full-time equivalent student, but because of program cuts at the college, they could no longer guarantee those funds.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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