Cop training gets an upgrade at LTCC |

Cop training gets an upgrade at LTCC

Beginning winter quarter, Lake Tahoe Community College is offering a program for people interested in becoming reserve police officers.

The program, around since 2001, has recently been accredited and updated from Module III to Module II Academy.

“This means that students will be able to obtain two-thirds of a police academy,” said Virginia Boyar, director of vocational education at LTCC. “Many agencies will hire Module III and II trained people and sponsor them for attendance at the last module. The closest agency that offers Module I is the Sacramento Police Safety Center.”

Boyar said Module III trained students would be assigned to limited support duties such as traffic control, event security, report writing and other duties that don’t include arrests.

Module II graduates will be able to ride along with sworn police officers and make arrests.

Students who complete a Module I program can function as independent reserve officers.

A police academy has all three module levels.

“Basically, a level two graduate is the second officer at the scene,” said El Dorado County sheriff’s Lt. Les Lovell, the lead instructor for the program.

Twenty-two years ago, Lovell graduated from LTCC’s module program. He received a reserve position with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, rose in the ranks and currently is the head of the jail.

“Back in those days you needed 400 hours of ride along time with a sworn officer before you could be by yourself,” Lovell said. “The hours of education and commitment are huge now compared to what they used to be.”

Three college quarters of a full-time schedule is needed to graduate from Module III and II.

Module III requires 172 hours of lecture and lab that includes ethics, courts, investigations, shooting principles and range qualifications.

Module II mandates 262 hours of training which will be split across two quarters, Boyar said. Topics include types of crime, baton training, laws of arrest, and search and seizure techniques.

The program got accreditation primarily through the efforts of Leona Allen, a South Lake Tahoe police dispatcher and reserve officer.

Allen took three months to write the certificate packet. She envisions a future with a police academy at the college. Officers from the police and sheriff’s department as well as the California Highway Patrol were tapped as instructors.

“To me, the most important aspects of this program are it fills a need in our educational program and fills a need in law enforcement,” said Allen, an instructor for the program. “It allows our law enforcement folks, who have an incredible amount of knowledge, to act as instructors and teach what they know.”

Lovell said the efforts of Allen are “huge.”

“It’s just a golden opportunity if someone is thinking about a career in law enforcement to get their feet wet in a controlled environment and discuss the job with people who are doing the job every day,” Lovell said.

Since the program opened in 2001, more than 20 students have graduated and most received paid positions in law enforcement, Boyar said.

The South Lake Tahoe Police Department has six reserve officers while the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department has one. The numbers are larger on the West Slope, where the sheriff’s department has nearly 20 reserve officers, Lovell said.

The college is looking into a possible partnership with the Sacramento Public Safety Center to offer Module I training. The program would consist of an additional 344 hours of training and include high speed driving.

— Contact William Ferchland at

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