In the Lake area, there has been a subsequent surge in efforts by departments to provide more local education opportunities to meet the growing trend to require more training for officers and as well as local entry-level training to get new officers out on the streets.

As law enforcement has come under a microscope in recent years due to controversial police shootings, new, more enhanced training has been one of the topics that has risen to the forefront of discussion, including use-of-force training, de-escalation techniques and continuing education.
In the Lake area, there has been a subsequent surge in efforts by departments to provide more local education opportunities to meet the growing trend to require more training for officers and as well as local entry-level training to get new officers out on the streets.
Osage Beach and Linn Creek police departments have brought in special interactive use-of-force training over the year, and now the city of Camdenton and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office are working to open local part-time police academies among other things.
After sealing a deal last year to contract with Mid County Fire Protection District for fire service, the city is renovating its now-defunct fire station into a public safety training center. Camdenton is nearing an agreement with Missouri State University to provide community emergency services personnel training and college course work - for law enforcement as well as fire service and emergency medical responders - at the site.
The facility will include two large classrooms with a seating capacity of 35 to 45 students as well as one small classroom for 20 students. For law enforcement, the center will provide the 24-hour POST continuing education requirement, unlimited basic and advanced training hours to contract partners, specifically requested courses and higher-education options.
While originally partnering with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office is also now stepping out on its own to start a part-time police academy to provide a local opportunity for job training in this unique field. The part-time training is a 10-month process held during evening hours and on weekends to allow recruits to continue working other jobs while they train to become law enforcement officers. Full-time academies are four months long, but meet five days a week.
New recruits recently attended an orientation meeting at the sheriff’s office in Versailles to get more information about the academy which will begin Aug. 8 and running through June 2018.
Around seven to eight recruits attended with students coming from the Lake area as well as Tipton and California, Mo.
At least 15 recruits are needed to hold the academy. According to academy organizer Sgt. Skyler Viebrock, they should have plenty to meet the minimum requirement with some students transferring from an upcoming full-time academy in Jefferson City that was cancelled, but more are encouraged to sign up. The application due date is June 1.
Experienced officers from multiple jurisdictions in the region will be instructors for the classes which also qualify for between 14-18 hours of college credit hours through MSU. The academy includes 700 hours of training, basic requirements for POST certification increasing not just over the last few years but over the last couple of decades.
In addition to the basic hours for initial POST certification, recruits will be taking more advanced classes in this academy to help make these potential new officers “ready to hit the road,” according to Viebrock. From traffic stops and accident investigations taught by a state trooper to active shooter scenarios to defensive tactics, students will experience a wide range of training. An emergency vehicle operators course will be set up in the Versailles area, and recruits will be pepper-sprayed.
Cost is $5,000, but financial aid is available through MSU for college credits. Students also have to equip themselves with boots, pants, laptops and handguns.
As standard, recruits will be tested on each segment - only one fail is allowed.
“It’s going to be a very strenuous, long course, but it will be the best time of your lives. We’re going to put you guys through the ringer,” Viebrock told potential recruits. “The instructors here are full time officers active in the field. So they’ll be working all day, then teaching here. You’ll hear what it’s like and hear stories you’ve never in your life heard. And you’ll get the most up-to-date training.”

The Morgan County academy is being conducted in conjunction with the Missouri Sheriff's Association.