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December 16, 2018

More than 2,000 officers have completed law enforcement training at JCCC since 1972

Since its first class 46 years ago, the Johnson County Regional Police Academy at JCCC has trained 2,186 officers employed by law enforcement agencies across Johnson County. Ken Sissom, Police Academy Director, believes the Academy has graduated some of the best officers around.

“Our law enforcement officers leave the Academy well equipped to serve residents. It’s a great service JCCC provides to the community.” – Ken Sissom, Police Academy Director

“What we teach – the topics and number of hours – is specified by the state,” Sissom said. “But we make the content applicable to Johnson County issues and needs, which means we’re graduating officers who are prepared to handle whatever they might encounter in their future jobs in the field.”

New way to serve the community

Cody Morse has been both a middle school and high school teacher. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwest Missouri State University in vocal music education. But the call to join law enforcement – a career that runs in his family – finally nudged him to leave his job and seek employment as an officer with the City of Leawood.

Now he is one of 30 recruits to graduate in the Academy’s 125th class. While he looks forward to building relationships with the community every day as a Leawood police officer, some day he would like to return to the school environment as a school resource officer. “SROs serve a really important purpose,” Morse said. “It’s a daily opportunity for students to interact with an adult other than their teacher and for me to be a positive role model.”

After graduating from the Academy, Morse will have several months of “on-the-road” training with his department to learn how to handle different calls. Including their four months at the Academy, officers can receive up to a year of training before they are ready to take calls on their own. Morse also looks forward to defensive driving training, where officers are taught to deal with atypical driving situations and where, in Morse’s words, “You get to go fast.”

The best game in town

“I look forward to being back in the school and building relationships with students as a school resource officer.” – Cody Morse, Police Academy 125th class graduate and former teacher

Throughout their 17-week Academy training, recruits learn the basics so they’re ready for their employers’ more intensive on-the-job training. They also receive training specific to Johnson County, such as information from:

  • The district attorney about prosecuting cases
  • Crime lab staff about processing evidence
  • Law enforcement officials across the region

According to Sissom, the Regional Police Academy is the only training game in town. Although there is a program in Hutchinson that agencies from the rest of the state use, it’s more basic and caters to smaller and rural agencies with non-degreed officers.

“Not only is that program not specific to Johnson County,” he said, “but class sizes are twice as big as ours.”

In addition to weapons and tactical training, the Academy curriculum includes:

  • Ethics
  • Constitutional law
  • The criminal code
  • Policing methods
  • Written and verbal communications skill building
  • Techniques for investigating, collecting evidence, interrogating and providing testimony

Sissom said the Academy has recently added training for working alongside medical and fire personnel on a mass casualty situation with an active shooter.

Big investment; big pay-off

It’s a big investment to train a law enforcement officer. Agencies spend between $30,000 and $50,000 per person, and that’s in addition to salary and benefits. In the state of Kansas, a portion of all ticket fines go toward officer basic training, which help offset the Academy’s equipment costs.

If you think you might have what it takes to be a law enforcement officer, set up a time to talk with Ken Sissom at 913-469-8500, ext. 3171, about your next steps. As a JCCC student, Police Academy recruits are eligible to receive 12 credit hours within the Administration of Justice curriculum.