You win some, you lose some, and for the Police and Fire Academies at Yuba College there has been more losing than winning lately. Within the last year the Police Academy has lost their certification by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, commonly known as POST. and both the Fire and Police academy have had an enormous drop in enrollment for the Fall 2011 semester.
According to Rolfe Appel, Director of the Public Safety Center of Yuba College, it all started with the loss of the POST certification,a large part of that loss was due to the dilapidated facilities that the Police Academy was forced to train recruits in. Now that the Police Academy is in a brand new building that was built with Measure J funding it comes back to money, can Yuba College afford to fully bring back the POST program to our campus? Mr. Appel is apprehensive about the college being able to financially afford re-certification because of the costs associated with bringing a full program back, not to mention the process that it takes to get the re-certification in the first place.
Luckily P.O.S.T. has allowed the college to slowly start the program back up. According to the 2010-2011 Academic Program Update for the Administration of Justice Department at Yuba College, POST has allowed the start up of a PC 832 class, an arrest and firearms class and a POST requalification course.
Our Fire Academy is not doing too much better, with surprisingly low numbers of students enrolled in classes.Appel says that he has had to cancel three Fire Tech classes because there was only eight to twelve students registered for a class that must have at least fifteen. Only a few years ago these same classes would have been wait-listed but today they are canceled because of the loss of interested students.
Appel says that the new building is great and makes a huge difference in getting POST back but there needs to be more than a nice new building to bring both of these programs back to Yuba College.The problem is that the Public Safety Center cannot do anything about the layoffs, reduction in pay and benefits, and just the general economy that many firefighters and law enforcement officers have been forced to deal with within their career fields. With these problems looming many of those that would have considered these two careers are now looking elsewhere for careers.
Only time will tell where Yuba College’s Public Safety Center will be in the years to come. Hopefully the economy will return and help jumpstart both programs, bringing Yuba College a respected training facility for both police and firefighters. The building is ready, what is left of the staff is ready and now we just need some students who are ready to fill the seats.
This article appears in the Fall 2011 Prospector in a shorter format because of space restraints.