A total of 18 students composed the inaugural class of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Law Enforcement Academy. The Academy got underway at the Nature Coast Technical High School on Nov. 8.
Approved by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission in August, the Academy was developed in partnership with the Hernando County School District and Suncoast Technical Education Center — a division of Hernando Adult Education to serve those in Hernando County who are interested in pursuing a law enforcement career.
Previously they had to attend classes either at Withlacoochee Technical College in Inverness or the Dade City campus of Pasco/Hernando State College.
According to Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis, the local law enforcement academy enhances the agency’s ability to recruit new members from the Hernando County community.
“Whether it is a young person starting out, or someone who wants to change careers, this will allow us to continue to employ the best of the best,” Nienhuis said when the Academy’s approval was announced.
Currently employed by the HCSO as Public Service Technicians (PST) or as a member of the agency’s Civilian Mounted Unit, members of the Academy’s initial class who complete Academy curriculum become prospective deputies with the agency, said HCSO Capt. John Cameron.
“Upon successful completion of the academy and state exam, every member will be eligible to apply for a deputy sheriff position within the agency,” Cameron said. “They will still have to go through a hiring process, for deputy sheriff, and successfully pass a rigorous field training program.”
For more information, contact the Suncoast Technical Education Center at 352-797-7018.