COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The State Law Enforcement Training Council denied a proposal that would have allowed Trident Technical College to train new law enforcement hires.
The proposal was created to help fix the backlog problem at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.
When the city of North Charleston asked Trident Technical College for solutions to fix the long wait, Shawn Livingston and others came up with an academic approach to the problem. Livingston is the Department Chair for Criminal Justice and Homeland Security Management at the school. “Based on our numbers, we could do a whole lot more and they could certify up to 3,000 officers per year. Now, they’re certifying about 1100,” he said.
The proposal would allow a technical college, like Trident Tech, to offer 11 weeks of basic law enforcement training during their spring, fall and summer semesters for 60 students per semester. Then they would send the new hires to the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia for the rest of their training. The council rejected the plan but proponents say they’re willing to work with the Academy and other law enforcement to find a way to alleviate the backlog problem.
Attrition rates in South Carolina are well above to the national average according to Trident Tech. North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess said the long wait for training plays a role in this. “When you have to sit around and you’re not able to get out and serve and help people. It brings your self-esteem down.”
The council says tuition costs and the possibility of differences in training concerns them.
Earlier this year, the Criminal Justice Academy announced a new 4-week video training program for new hires. They’ll be able to watch those lectures at the agencies they were hired at or a location near them and then come to the academy for 8 weeks of training. They believe this will help increase the number of graduates per year.