Officers in training soon to graduate

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AT ATTENTION: Members of the Delta College Basic Peace Officer Academy’s first Intensive Program, which operates during the day, are shown in morning formation. PHOTO COURTESY OF DELTA COLLEGE BASIC PEACE OFFICER ACADEMY
AT ATTENTION: Members of the Delta College Basic Peace Officer Academy’s first Intensive Program, which operates during the day, are shown in morning formation. PHOTO COURTESY OF DELTA COLLEGE BASIC PEACE OFFICER ACADEMY
AT ATTENTION: Members of the Delta College Basic Peace Officer Academy’s first Intensive Program, which operates during the day, are shown in morning formation. PHOTO COURTESY OF DELTA COLLEGE BASIC PEACE OFFICER ACADEMY

In Nov. 2013, voters approved a ¾-cent sales tax increase to fund the Stockton Police Department’s expansion from 365 to 485 officers by June 2017.

With a solid reputation for providing well-rounded officers to local and regional departments, the Delta College Basic Peace Officer Academy is poised to play a pivotal role in meeting this increased demand.

The Extended Academy, a nine-month program began in 1981 after achieving certification by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.

Last September the Intensive Academy launched, offering the same 960 hours of training in a six-month day program.

The selection process is competitive and the range of classes in ethics and law require students to achieve a
B grade or higher in order to advance to the final phase.

Simulated emergency and non-emergency scenarios reinforce decision-making skills to prepare students to react rationally in unexpected situations.

“Watching these situations on TV seems easy, but being in it is much more stressful,” said Carl Carlson, an Intensive Academy student.

A holistic approach to physical fitness emphasizes a lifetime of healthy eating and regular exercise preparing trainees to keep mind and body in peak condition for a long career.

The academy coordinators Bruce Able and Kim Castro also prioritize community service, strengthening a cadet’s ability to work directly with citizens.

“They care about the students above and beyond, which shows in the end product,” said David Main, chief of the campus police department.

Main said many of his officers are POST program graduates who chose to invest their careers at the college.

Unlike other vocational programs, graduates don’t simply take a written exam to obtain a certificate and qualify for positions at any police department.

They must undergo a thorough background check, psychological and physical testing, and an oral exam that tests candidates’ knowledge and ability to communicate.

Police organizations sponsor some of the youth who have participated in junior cadet programs, and other outstanding applicants, by hiring them and paying for tuition and supplies.

After graduation, aspiring officers must participate in six months of field training with their prospective departments, spending one month with each of six officers and must pass the board before becoming a solo beat officer.

Officer Joseph Silva said the Stockton Police Department is sponsoring 16 students at this time and he is enthusiastic about the upcoming March 25 graduation of the first Intensive Academy trainees.

“The POST academy is positive for the city because it is cost effective and we want home grown officers,” said Silva.