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Parsons Chosen for a New Regional Criminal Justice Training Site

08/16/2021

Recently executives from throughout Southeast Kansas met to establish a criminal justice training council and to identify a site for a regional training site. The meeting was convened by the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center (KLETC) which is a unit of the University of Kansas and oversees criminal justice training throughout the state. The Parsons Police Department hosted the meeting at the Holiday Inn Express Convention Center.

The SE Kansas KLETC training region encompasses the 16 counties in the region (counties of Lyon, Greenwood, Elk, Chautauqua, Coffey, Woodson, Wilson, Montgomery, Anderson, Allen, Neosho, Labette, Linn, Bourbon, Crawford, and Cherokee). Some 50 law enforcement executives (Chief's and Sheriff's) were invited to discuss training needs.

The meeting was Chaired by KLETC Deputy Executive Director Ron Gould. Also attending the meeting from KLETC was Assistant Director of Professional Development Heather Buller. Both Gould and Buller are based at the KLETC Headquarters in Hutchinson on the Police Safety Campus.

A key topic in the meeting discussions including reviewing a site for KLETC to locate a new regional in-service training site. KLETC is in the process of breaking the state into regional training groups and then locating a site where in-service and on-going criminal justice training would be held. This will help to provide more training in centralized areas to reduce travel costs to agencies.

New regional sites have already been located and opened in Dodge City and in Hays. A presentation supporting the location of the training site in Parsons was made by Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks and Jim Zaleski, Parsons Economic Development Director, with the support of Parsons City Attorney Ross Albertini, Labette Community College Vice-President of Instruction Dr. Jason Sharp, and Executive Director Brad Reams from the Great Plains Industrial Park.

A regional KLETC training site would locate state training personnel to run the local site and then classes would grow to meet the regional need of police and sheriff's, parole and probation, corrections, and dispatchers. At full operation a local training site could include up to three KLETC employees, guest instructors and provide up to 3,000-man days of training annually.

"A KLETC site would be a bonus not just to our 16-county regional," said Spinks, "but, it involves a small number of jobs, and it could bring up to 3,000-man days of training to Parsons which also translates into local purchases of breakfasts, lunches and dinners and some hotel stays. For our agency, the Sheriff's Office, our dispatch/911 staffs it would be a huge resource."

The newly organized KLETC Training Council comprised of the Chiefs and Sheriffs in SE Kansas by unanimous consensus picked Parsons as the site to locate the new KLETC training site. In large part because Parsons is in the design stage for a new Public Safety Campus and Training Facility that offered a future location with a partnership ability that could include Labette Community College's criminal justice and fire science programs to co-locate in an operating public safety center. In the intervening time, KLETC will locate their training site in an existing facility in town.

"I want to thank Labette Sheriff Darren Eichinger and Labette County Attorney Stephen Jones for partnering with our agency in making this proposal," said Spinks, "other local partners included Labette Community College and Great Plains Industrial Park, who have volunteered facilities to support training too."

Parsons Administrative Services Unit Sergeant Jason Ludwig said, "this is a huge step forward for our agency and our region. Training is critical for smaller rural agencies where staff members have to be generalists who have a wide range of abilities from crime response, criminal investigation, crime scene management and core skills from firearms, driving and defensive tactics. Having KLETC here as a new on-site partner is going to help bolster our local efforts by providing even more quality training to our staff and all of the region."

KLETC is hoping to be operating locally within the next 90 days after locating a Site Coordinator and securing a training facility.

 

KLETC History

Established by the Kansas Legislature in 1968, KLETC serves as the central law enforcement training facility for our state and as headquarters for all law enforcement training in Kansas and was established by the Kansas Legislature in 1968.

KLETC, a unit of the University of Kansas Lifelong & Professional Education is located at the former naval air station, which is situated south of the City of Hutchinson and west of the City of Yoder in Reno County, Kansas. Its mission, as expressed in the Law Enforcement Training Act, K.S.A. 74-5601 et. seq. is "the promotion and development of improved law enforcement personnel and procedures throughout the state, and the training center shall offer to qualified applicants such programs and courses of instruction designed to fulfill this end."

KLETC directly trains the overwhelming majority of municipal, county and state law enforcement officers in Kansas, and oversees, supervises, and monitors the training of the remaining officers at eight authorized and certified academy programs operated by local law enforcement agencies and the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Moreover, no municipal, county or state law enforcement agency pays any tuition in connection with the training and/or room and board furnished to their officers by KLETC during the mandated basic training.

Kansas law enforcement officers must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 560 hours of basic law enforcement training to attain their law enforcement certification. Currently, the 560-hour program is conducted in a 14-week format. Additionally, to maintain law enforcement certification each officer must obtain 40-hours of continuing education annually in subjects related directly to law enforcement.

Established by K.S.A. 74-5619, and enabled by K.S.A. 20-362 and 20-362(e), funding for the training center is currently provided from the law enforcement training center fund. The law enforcement training center fund receives $15 from the docket fee charged in criminal and traffic-related cases in state district courts. This level of remittance from the docket fee was set by the legislature in its session of 2006. The fund also receives $11.50 from the docket fee charged in criminal and traffic - related cases in municipal courts. This level of remittance from docket fees also was set by the legislature in its 2006 session. To provide an additional revenue stream with which to operate KLETC, legislators in the 2016 session enacted a new $1.25 surcharge on ALL vehicle registrations beginning July 1, 2016, with the revenue generated from the surcharge to be deposited in the Law Enforcement Training Center fund. No monies from the State General Fund (SGF) is involved in funding KLETC campus operations.

KLETC has an authorized staff of 63 FTE and 3 PTE positions. Additionally, KLETC employs contractual service companies for security, laundry, and cafeteria services. KLETC employees are dedicated and committed to active partnerships with the law enforcement community by providing comprehensive, progressive, quality training and support for Kansas law enforcement.

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