College works to increase peace officer ranks

There is a crunch for peace officers on the Western Slope.

Through their Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) program, Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) is helping students find the fast track into the law enforcement field.
"People from any walk of life desiring to serve and protect the public can complete fast-track training in less than a year and find work," CNCC Public Information Officer Mary Morris said.
Morris said employment opportunities in the field don't stop at the police department. She includes working at national or state parks, sheriff departments or the Division of Wildlife as options for POST graduates.
At CNCC, POST is a 16-week academy held at both the residential campus in Rangely and in Craig. The two-semester program in Craig meets Tuesday and Thursday evenings and on Saturdays.
Graduates of the academy and those who pass the POST certification exam become part of a group of people with the highest job placement rates.
Former CNCC academy graduates work in national parks, sheriff departments, police departments and state parks throughout the United States from the Virgin Islands to Hilton Head, North Carolina; as well as Englewood, Douglas County, Routt County and Grand Junction.
George Fortunato, POST Academy Director, is a retired police office with 25 years of service on the Denver Police Department, a master's degree, and a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice.
Fortunato is pleased about the high placement rate for men and women graduates of the program and their job satisfaction.
To qualify for the POST academy, students must be United States citizens 21 years of age or older, have a G.E.D. or high school diploma and have no felonies, domestic violence convictions, or serious misdemeanors.
Fortunato will meet with community members interested in becoming peace officers at the CNCC Bell Tower Building from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. For additional information contact Fortunato at 675-3331 or e-mail him at gfortunato@cncc.cc.co.us.

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