Hoping to train police officers for longer, SC Academy asks for more funding

(WIS) - Teaching the tactics to keep you safe, trainers at South Carolina's police academy want their students to learn for longer.

The Criminal Justice Academy (CJA) is looking to lawmakers to pay for it, hoping they will send more tax dollars for three extra weeks of class for future officers.

The price tag for three more weeks of training is $992,260. CJA Director Jackie Swindler says it could pay for more training opportunities for future officers. That's so far, only been partly funded by legislators in next year's state budget.

"This is a stressful job, and officers have to be ready to deal with these types of situations, so we're trying to implement a lot of training to help them," said Swindler.

The new training regimen would add three extra weeks to students' now 12-week curriculum. The funding is tricky.

The CJA makes more than half its budget from things like traffic tickets officers across the state write, which is becoming fewer and fewer each year, according to the CJA. According to their reports, they've received about 30 percent fewer dollars from citations since 2009; that means a near $3 million loss.

With a 15 week program, firearms instructor George Douglas Curry says, "we could teach them more use of force. We could teach them how to use their secondary weapons before they have to resort to a firearm. If the students had a chance to wear their gear more at the academy, they'd be more familiar with it."

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