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Law enforcement classes suspended

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Law enforcement training at Delta-Montrose Technical College is on hold pending Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) review.

To serve as a law enforcement officer in Colorado, an individual must successfully complete training through a POST-approved academy.

POST withdrew that approval from Delta-Montrose Technical College (DMTC) several weeks ago over questions related to instructor qualifications. Kurt Clay, assistant superintendent of Delta County Joint School District #50, said efforts are being made to fix compliance issues as quickly as possible. "All local chiefs and sheriffs will be part of the solution," Clay said. Four of those law enforcement officials serve on a law enforcement academy advisory council.

The first step is to hire a new program director. William Carlson is currently serving as acting director. Michael Klouser, DMTC's new director, said interviews will be conducted this Thursday.

He added that a driving test was re-administered to the most recent graduating class, and all cadets passed with flying colors.

He said DMTC and the advisory council are hopeful a class can be offered later this fall.

DPD Chief Luke Fedler views the academy as "vitally important" to his department's recruitment efforts.

"If we didn't have the law enforcement academy, it would be extremely difficult to recruit officers for this area," he said. He estimates 90 percent of the Delta Police Department's sworn officers are graduates of the law enforcement academy at DMTC. He counts himself among them.

The same holds true for the sheriff's office. "A large percentage of the certified personnel here at the sheriff's office have graduated from DMTC," Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee said. "The academy has always turned out quality graduates. We've been very pleased with the program."

The academy has also provided an opportunity for certified officers to pick up extra income as instructional staff. A major step in reinstating POST certification is ensuring those staff members are qualified to teach in their specialized skill area. As a result, all instructors have been asked to re-apply for instructional positions. The sheriff, who teaches cadets how to handle civil disputes, is polishing up his résumé, as well.

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