The City of Bishop stands to save money and its police officers stand to save time through an expanded partnership Cerro Coso Community College.
Police Chief Chris Carter proposed the collaboration as a way to save the city money on police department travel, lodging and overtime expenses related to Peace Officers Standards and Training, a state-mandated professional development program, which all police officers must attend. On March 10, City Council approved Carter’s request to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Kern Community College District, which includes the three Cerro Coso Community College campuses.
The MOU, which requires signatures by Carter, Bishop Mayor Jim Ellis and KCCD Chief Financial Officer Thomas J. Burke, will be in effect until November 2018. Inyo and Mono county law enforcement agencies will review similar agreements “with the hopes that each will have their own specific MOU for training,” Carter said.
The partnership could potentially save the cities of Bishop and Mammoth thousands of dollars, Carter said, and “would allow us to pool our personnel together to meet enrollment requirements … It also has the potential to bring other law enforcement executive personnel from outside agencies to our area to attend training.” In addition to those savings, both the college and law enforcement agencies will benefit from state Full-time Equivalency monies, Cerro Coso Community College Director of Administration of Justice Dept and Director of Public Services Jarrod Bowen said.
There are POST advantages as well. The trainings will include domestic violence, racial profiling, firearms and defensive drive and other topics, Carter explained. Bowen added that police officers must earn a certain number of college credits in order to be promoted and the Cerro Coso POST classes will be for-credit. Furthermore, “this MOU would allow us to offer classes that officers need for mandatory professional development and perishable skills training in areas such as firearms and sexual assault.” These kinds of areas change rapidly and this training will enhance police performance and safety for both officers and citizens, he explained.
In the past, POST has necessitated out-of-area travel, as far as the San Francisco Bay Area, Bowen said. “POST mandates approved, certified training in many areas,” Carter explained. “We’ve tried to certify our own training to alleviate this inconvenience and expense, however POST will only certify a certain number of agencies in the state to present the required training.” POST places none of these restrictions on community colleges, he said. Recently, Cerro Coso College, Bishop and Mammoth police departments and Inyo and Mono county sheriff’s department representatives met with Bowen to establish and offer POST on the Bishop, Mammoth or Ridgecrest campuses. “Class content will dictate which campuses the trainings are held on,” Bowen said.
Director Eastern Sierra College Center Director Deanna Ing Campbell explained that although the endeavor has been several years in the doing, it really hasn’t taken very long all things considered. “It takes a long time to develop the programs, to get enough qualified instructors, to get certified as a site” and so on.
“None of this would be possible without Chief Carter. He has been the driving force, not just in Bishop, but in the entire Eastern Sierra,” Bowen said.
“The initial program started with our two Administration of Justice POST modular academy levels two and three which started in 2013 (for non-police officers). It was very well attended and has paved way for doing more with law enforcement agencies locally,” Campbell added. Several level two and three graduates have already been hired by local law enforcement, she said. “We’re very excited for our community because it will allow more law enforcement training programs locally.”