The future of the Rio Hondo College Police Academy is in limbo as of Oct. 4.
The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) has placed an alert on the academy as allegations of cadets cheating on state exams have been revealed.
As it stands, the Rio Hondo Regional Police Academy’s official certification by the POST has been suspended.
All Police training programs including the extended and the reserve police academies, as well as re-qualification courses have been affected. The only program not under inquiry is the in-service training module.
The suspension of police academy activity will continue as long as the investigation is in effect by POST.
Rio Hondo President Dr. Ted Martinez Jr. notified the affected students in person on Tuesday.
In addition to the classes currently in session, the suspension is slated to affect Class #196 originally expected to begin on Oct. 18 and all scheduled classes going forward until a resolution is created.
The indefinite ban on academy activities will not involve basic Administration of Justice courses at Rio Hondo, nor will it impinge on the Rio Hondo Fire Academy.
Dr. Martinez said in an e-mailed statement circulated campus wide on Oct. 5, “We recognize the serious nature of the suspension, regret the impact on our students, and are working diligently with POST to resolve the issues.”
According to a report on KFI radio in Los Angeles, a cadet from the academy reported that at least one study guide question, given by a staff member, was identical to an official test question.
In his e-mail, Dr. Martinez apologized to surrounding law enforcement agencies for the “temporary interruption of police academy classes.”
He also noted, “It is important to assure regional public safety agencies that Rio Hondo College is committed to integrity in all facets of law enforcement training and preparation.”
The POST was created in by the state legislature in 1959, for the sole purpose of creating a set selection and training standards for law enforcement in the state of California.
Over 600 separate entities ranging from state colleges, private policing agencies to public safety centers utilize the POST’s services.
Since its creation in the 1960′s, the Rio Hondo Basic Police Academy has prided itself on being, “one of the premier training academies in the nation,” according to their website. The program usually runs about four classes a year and each section runs for about five months.
The academy consists of a rigorous physical training regimen that is designed to instill in each cadet, “pride, respect and discipline necessary to succeed in law enforcement,” according to their website.
The police academy curriculum also consists of an intricate series of 26 domain examinations that include basic law enforcement, fire arms training, search and seizure, evidence gathering as well as pursuit driver instruction.
Upon successful completion of the Rio Hondo College Police Academy, cadets become eligible to apply for jobs with law enforcement agencies statewide.