New era for Yuba College Police Academy
December 2, 2013
YUBA CITY — Hopeful cadets will soon be able to train locally.
The Yuba Community College Police Academy has would-be cadets on a waiting list and is planning to start training in January, in a fresh start after state officials shut down the academy more than four years ago.
"We're back on track," said Michael Kime, interim director of Public Safety for Yuba Community College.
The academy was shut down in September 2009 by the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training due to issues in test security and citations for inadequate facilities.
Kime, who recently retired as Madera's police chief, entered into a contract with Yuba College in November 2012 to help reinstate the academy.
He said POST has very strict regulations for testing facilities, curriculum and staff, and he understood what POST was looking for.
Yuba County Sheriff Steve Durfor, a member of an advisory board to the academy, said it's a benefit to the community.
"It certainly provides a venue in which local residents in Yuba-Sutter and the surrounding region have an opportunity, right here, to further their career choice in law enforcement," Durfor said.
Seventy-five people — mostly from Yuba, Sutter, Butte or Placer counties — are on the waiting list for the program, which has room for 40 cadets, according to Kime.
The first of three modules of what is essentially a yearlong program will begin Jan. 11 and will meet two nights a week and on Saturdays.
"You can still work, pay your bills and be involved. It's real hard, but you can do it," Kime said.
Those who complete the program will be certified to be employed by law enforcement agencies in the state.
Local agencies are also looking forward to the academy offering training for current deputies and officers.
"Having an active academy saves drastically on our costs, like per diem, etc.," said Sutter County Sheriff J. Paul Parker. "Whatever they offer locally, we'll take advantage of."
The college used $20 million in voter-approved Measure J bond money to build a new facility in August 2011.
The public safety building was used by students of administration of justice, the Fire Academy and the nursing program.
In March 2012, people expressed frustration at a board of trustees' meeting that the program had not been reinstated and that a contract with program director Rolfe Appel was terminated.
At that time, Chancellor Douglas Houston said he had received a new set of criteria from POST to use in a "needs assessment" the college would conduct to help determine the future of the academy, according to Appeal-Democrat archives.
Kime has been extensively involved in collecting data to determine a need for the academy.
He said that as the economy is recovering, law enforcement is recovering.
"Sacramento and Placer counties are on a hiring frenzy," Kime said. Stockton is going to hire 120 officers in the next three years, he added.
Durfor and Parker said they like to hire locally and will have openings next year.
"In my experience, when you hire (people) from the local community, they have a far greater vested interest in the welfare and safety of their home communities. And they tend to stay put. It's their hometown, and it's their connection," Durfor said.
Vaughan is a reporter for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat.
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