Flagstaff police recruits to train locally at new High Country Training Academy
For the first time in decades, Flagstaff law enforcement recruits will attend a local police academy instead of traveling to other parts of the state. The move is aimed at helping regional agencies save money.
Previously, new recruits with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and both the Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University police departments would spend months away from home to get their basic training. For some, this meant traveling as far as Yuma.
Starting Monday, they’ll train a little closer to home at Coconino Community College. Law enforcement leaders are optimistic the new High Country Training Academy will be a major turning point as far as overall costs related to police training.
"It's going to save taxpayer dollars, we believe," Flagstaff police Chief Dan Musselman said. "Currently, it costs us $10,000 and upwards to send a recruit to an academy elsewhere between tuition, food, housing, etc.
Musselman says tuition will be significantly less at the new academy, costing approximately $4,000 per recruit. He says training locally will help new officers better prepare for situations they will likely face on the job in Flagstaff, like search-and-rescue training and cultural sensitivity.
The first class of 13 recruits will train for 21 weeks. Musselman says they may soon open the academy to other Northern Arizona agencies.