SANTA FE (KRQE) - When cadets arrive at the Law Enforcement Academy in Santa Fe, they really settle in.
Right now each class lasts about six months. LEA Director Jack Jones tells News 13 that is too long.
"Our intent is to do four academies a year at 16 weeks," said Director Jones.
He is already moving in that direction having presented the idea to the LEA Board at its June meeting.
Jones said they can shorten the academy from 22 to 16 weeks by simply streamlining the course materials and eliminating redundancies.
"I don't need to go back and reteach interview and interrogation two or three times during the academy just because it's an accident investigation, domestic violence or it's a murder case," Jones said.
It is a move the departments who send their officers to the LEA are on board with.
"It's going to cut off months of wait time for us," said Santa Fe police Lt. Sean Strahon.
Right now the Santa Fe Police Department is dealing with an officer shortage, but with just two academies a year its hard from them to attract cadets year-round.
"They can't leave their jobs, or they're in between jobs," Strahon continued. "They have to find something till they can go to the academy and I can get them on payroll, so that's an issue for them."
For its part the LEA said cranking out cadets in 16 weeks will not take away from the quality of the officers produced.
In fact, Jones expects the quality to increase because the academy will be more intense and focused.
"We're going to have a more disciplined police officer that comes on the street," Jones said. "They'll understand what the rules are."
The LEA Board will hear public comment on the proposal at its next meeting in September. If all goes well they hope to start the shorter academies in January.
Jones is already running a more hands-on academy will less classroom time and more real-life exercises for cadets.
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