UHD's Criminal Justice Training Center to Prepare Hundreds of HCSO Cadets
The Harris County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) partnered this week with the University of Houston-Downtown's (UHD) Criminal Justice Training Center to prepare potential employees for hundreds of new law enforcement roles and to fill positions vacated by retiring staff.
Under the agreement, HCSO will pay $1,600 per cadet interested in completing the basic peace officer certification course. In the process, cadets will earn six hours of college credit, which can be applied toward the 30 hours of training needed for employment with HCSO. To qualify for the Sheriff's Office Training Cadet Program (SOTC), students must be U.S. citizens who commit to work for HCSO for at least two years following their graduation from the Criminal Justice Training Center.
Through the SOTC, certified Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) instructors at UHD's Criminal Justice Training Center will provide cadets with 700 hours of basic peace officer training, thereby qualifying them for the Texas Peace Officer License Exam following graduation.
"This partnership is a win for HCSO employees, a win for UHD and - most importantly - a win for the citizens of Harris County," said Rex White, director of the Criminal Justice Training Center at UHD. "We look forward to working with HCSO in providing high quality training to the 500 future patrol deputies, bailiffs and detention officers Sheriff Garcia aims to hire."
The cadets are trained by experienced criminal justice officers who are highly schooled in the craft and best-suited to prepare students for the TCOLE, Texas' peace officer licensing exam. In fact, UHD's Criminal Justice Training Center boasts one of the state's highest passing averages on this exam.
"We are looking for the best of the best to join the Sheriff's Office family and so it made perfect sense to turn to the best - UHD. UHD runs one of the largest criminal justice training programs in the state, and it happens to be across Buffalo Bayou and our jail," said Sheriff Adrian Garcia. "We continue to recruit from within our own community and so I'm excited about this partnership and the opportunities it brings."
The HCSO cadets will complete the program in four months if taken full time, and in eight months if taken on a part-time basis. The program also opens the door for cadets to complete a bachelor's degree in criminal justice at UHD, if they so choose.
Since the Criminal Justice Training Center's inception nearly 40 years ago, approximately 14,000 cadets - primarily detention officers and certified jailers - have become certified peace officers through the program. The Center has trained nearly 1,100 peace officers in the last three years alone.
Individuals interested in applying for employment with HCSO can visit the organization's website at www.hcsojobs.com for more information and to apply for open positions.
"Our goal at the Center is to equip future law enforcement personnel with the best possible training and foundation in the field," said White. "Graduates of the SOTC will leave the Center with the tools and field experience they need for a rewarding public service career protecting the citizens of Harris County."