INA, IL (KFVS) - Since the beginning of January, officers-in-training from across Southern Illinois have been making the trip to Rend Lake College every weekend to clock more hours at the Part-Time Police Academy.
The training is the result of a new partnership between RLC and the Southern Illinois Criminal Justice Training Program Mobile Team Unit 15.
MTU 15 Director Chuck Doan said, "Our region covers 27 counties, everything south of Effingham, excluding parts of the Metro East. Rend Lake College is almost the geographic center of that region when looking at it from north to south. I felt like, if we could do it nearer the geographic center, it would be best for all parties involved."
The Part-Time Police Academy meets in the Coal Mine Training Center on the west side of campus to utilize both classroom space and open areas for any practical hands-on training.
Trainees can also use the mock mine for low-light situations, the RLC Shooting Range for weapons training, and Waugh Gymnasium and the track for various needs.
The 9-month program requires the officers-in-training to do online work during the week and meet on RLC's campus for an 8-hour day to cover hands-on, practical tactics.
In the end, all officers will complete 560 hours in the academy.
Ron Meek, Criminal Justice Professor at RLC said "It's a benefit for the college, as well as for (the officers) because we get to use their specialized equipment while providing the space. They've hired some of our adjunct professors and other law enforcement professionals in the area to be instructors for them."
Meek said much of the credit for the partnership lands at the feet of RLC President Terry Wilkerson who gave the green light nearly six months ago.