When Criminal Justice graduates are hired by city police departments, county sheriffs’ offices and security agencies, they are required to attend the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 10 weeks. Students now can make themselves more marketable to law enforcement agencies by completing this training at Rend Lake College prior to employment.
“This is a unique, state-wide program. It is similar to PTI, but it is geared for students who have not already been hired as police officers,” said Jim Hull, Vice President of Instruction at RLC. “The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board has approved this program as training for pre-service officers.”
The basic training students will receive in this program is the same as what they would receive at the Police Training Institute, and the result is graduates who are more appealing to potential employers. It can cost a law enforcement agency an estimated $7,000 to send a new hire to PTI, plus the officer receives pay during that time and is not available to work for 10 weeks.
Employers can look at graduates of RLC’s new program and know they will not have to make that expenditure and they will have an officer who can start patrolling immediately. The Illinois Law Enforcement Academy at RLC provides all the necessary training required by the ILETSB.
According to the ILETSB Web site, “This is a unique opportunity to attend a state law enforcement academy and receive the same training that sworn police officers receive. There is no other program like it in the state.”
“This is a credit-bearing certificate program. Cadets will graduate with a certificate and will be certified by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board,” said Hull. RLC currently is working with the ILETSB to schedule the first session.
“This is a state-wide program for Rend Lake College,” Hull said, meaning students from anywhere in Illinois are eligible to sign up. Instructors will be provided by the ILETSB. RLC’s standard tuition rate of $65 per credit hour will apply and the program is eligible for financial aid. There will be fees associated with the 10-week program, but these have not yet been determined.
The Illinois Law Enforcement Academy is a residential program. Housing will be made available for students who do not live in the area. Most classes will be held on the RLC campus, including any physical activity-oriented training, which will be conducted in the gymnasium.
In order to be eligible for the program, students must: meet the minimum criteria set by the ILETSB; be at least 21 years old; have a valid Illinois driver’s license; obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification card; meet the board’s physical fitness standards; complete the testing process; have no convictions for felony offenses or other crimes involving moral turpitude; and be of good character.
This program does not apply to those seeking positions with the Illinois State Police or as correctional officers. These particular positions have separate training programs.