On May 3, 1999, the Division of Probation and Parole hosted its first Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Academy. Under the leadership of Academy Director Bill Corkern and Assistant Director David Miller, P&P Academy staff dedicated many hours to the training and personal attention of our officers and graduated 34 from their very first class. Since that time the division has seen 25 successful academy classes, graduating approximately 690 “seasoned” and new officers.
The task of the Probation and Parole Officers is not only to protect society by enforcing the conditions of probation and/or parole, but also to enforce the law and keep the peace. These officers must demonstrate not only courage and physical skills, but must also possess a solid working knowledge of state and local law. They must also know enough of medicine and psychology to provide emergency assistance. Today’s Probation and Parole Officer is called upon to deal not only with crime, but with virtually all of our communities problems, including drug abuse, domestic violence issues, poverty, and homelessness to name just a few. On numerous occasions our officers are called upon to assist their local law enforcement agencies during warrant round ups and other raids. It is through the training they receive at the P.O.S.T. Academy and the local district office that they are prepared and equipped with the knowledge they need to perform virtually any task.
While in the Academy, trainees are required to complete 420 hours of Peace Officer training. They must complete a specific number of hours in each of the following fields: Orientation to Criminal Justice, Legal Aspects, First Aid & CPR, Firearms, Investigations, Report Writing, Traffic Services, Patrol Activities, Specialized Activities, Officer Survival, Becoming a Professional Peace Officer and electives of our choice. Trainees will also participate in 80 hours of firearms training and must shoot a qualifying score on the P.O.S.T. firearms course in order to continue in the academy. They are then sent through 40 hours of training on Pressure Point Control Tactics (PPCT). Again, they must pass a written exam and show proficiency in the techniques to proceed. The trainees must participate in a physical fitness program daily which consists of aerobic and anaerobic exercises. At the end of the 12th week, the trainees must pass a cumulative P.O.S.T. test administered by the P.O.S.T. council in order to graduate and be sworn in as Probation and Parole Officers. Upon graduation, trainees return for an additional 40 hours of training in Probation and Parole topics such as: Investigations, Preliminary Hearings, Supervision, Case Management and CAJUN to name just a few.
Through the continued support of Director Genie Powers and Program Manager Cecil Goudeau, the Academy continues to make improvements in training. In 2008, instructors once again introduced Physical Standards. The trainees are required to pass an initial physical fitness test and score at least 20% overall in the three exercises performed to be accepted into the academy. Prior to completing the Academy, they must pass a final fitness assessment scoring at least 30% overall in the three areas in order to graduate.
The Probation and Parole P.O.S.T. Academy would not be as successful as it is without the support of its many instructors both within our agency and those who so graciously give of their time who are outside of our department. We have some of the best firearms, defensive tactics and classroom instructors any Department could ask for. Many of these instructors carry a full investigative and working caseload, yet they always find time to help.