East Texas city hosts first police academy

Watch KLTV 7 News at 10.
Published: May. 15, 2020 at 10:31 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - The pandemic shutdown not only closed businesses, it also halted training of the next generation of East Texas law enforcement.

But through the effort of the East Texas Council of Governments, that critical training has resumed.

Training at Hudson Pep in Longview is the result of the East Texas Council of Government appealing to the governors office.

“This is a basic peace officers class. Due to restrictions we had to have a little bigger room than the officers training room, and Hudson Pep offered their cafeteria. Very critical to what could be the beginning of a very long career,” says Longview police PIO Brandon Thornton.

"Unfortunately because of Covid-19 it kind of put a damper, hindered police academies in this area," says Longview police sergeant Sean Pendleton.

With academies closed, the council got approval from the governors office to authorize a 19-week basic peace officers course. No driving or firearms. Classroom only.

"It can't wait. There's police agencies all over the state all the time that are losing officers for different reasons," Pendleton says.

8 cadets from Longview, 5 from Jacksonville, observing social distancing along with other protocol.

LPD has had academy status since 1986, but this will be the first academy they'll put on.

"Longview has now started their first police academy," Thornton says.

ETCOG will reimburse the city for the course and pay 1-thousand dollars per officer up to 15-thousand dollars.

“There was a time many years ago when a police chief would hire and officer and say ‘you look like a big strong guy. Here’s a badge, report to work on Monday.’ We don’t do that anymore. All new peace officers have a 696 hour basic peace officers course. You carry all this with you for your entire career,” says Pendleton.

Training on patrol car driving and firearms, will be held at a later date after the students have completed this course.

The partnership allows for training to continue until the academy is able to reopen.

Copyright 2020 KLTV. All rights reserved.