Piedmont Tech Offers Tuition-Free Certificate Through Historic Partnership with SC Criminal Justice Academy

To address training needs and workforce shortages in law enforcement in the state, a progressive partnership announced earlier this year includes Piedmont Technical College (PTC) and 15 other of the state’s technical colleges to assist the Academy by offering a new pre-Academy certificate. PTC will start offering the new training in January 2022.

The partnership establishes a new career pathway in law enforcement, the Police Pre-Academy Training Certificate, a 14-week program offered through PTC and the state’s other technical colleges. Candidates who apply for the program learn basic introductory law enforcement tactics and procedures to better qualify them for police employment and increased training success at the Academy.

“I think it’s going to be great,” said John Sloan, Criminal Justice Program director at PTC. “There’s no doubt that it should bolster and improve the academic qualifications of law enforcement candidates.”

Support from the state’s Lottery Tuition Assistance and SC WINS Scholarship programs covers full tuition for students in the new pathway program. Candidates are expected to secure employment with a SC law enforcement agency within one year of completing the program. Once employed, they are assessed for entry into the Academy. The measure is particularly timely as communities across the country re-evaluate their police training standards.

To offer perspective, Sloan noted that, while South Carolina requires a minimum of only 8 weeks of police training, many other states require significantly more. For example, New Jersey requires its police officers to complete 6 months (24 weeks) of training before they are hired.

“If the community colleges can help, why not do it?” he said. “The partnership couples the 14-week Police Pre-Academy Training Certificate with the 8 weeks of intense Policy Academy training for a total of 22 weeks of education and training. This is certainly a mutual benefit for all entities.”

After more than 30 years in law enforcement, Sloan has seen a need for modifications to law enforcement training due to the changing expectations of society. “Improved hiring standards and the new pathway certificate comprise a step in the right direction,” he said.

For information about PTC’s Criminal Justice Program, visit www.ptc.edu/justice.

 

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PHOTO: John Sloan, director of the PTC Criminal Justice Program