It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-year police officer or public safety dispatcher or you’re at the mid-point of your career, it’s never too late to look at a career path.
But getting ready to take that first step can look daunting on the surface when one looks at the various hours, educational points and courses a law enforcement officer or public safety dispatcher can take.
Joe Boldt, program coordinator with the Office of Kentucky Law Enforcement Council Support, said there is no reason for apprehension as the OKLECS’s Career Development Program helps eliminate the guesswork.
Boldt said people like to have goals and look ahead to see where they are going. The CDP tracks gives them a road map to help them achieve their career goals.
“It’s a building block-program,” Boldt said. “There are three requirements for all certificates — training, education and experience.”
Training and experience are obvious, training would include basic and in-service training, whereas experience equates to time on the [job].
Education, however, varies, as some people have college degrees while others do not.
“Education can be either college or educational points,” Boldt said. “The reason we did the point system is that not everyone has a degree. We had to find another way to qualify educationally to get these certificates.”
Education points can be obtained two ways:
- Through the training transcript at the rate of one educational point for every 15 hours of training. This includes academy training hours, so as the officer or dispatcher comes out of the academy, they already have 61 points as an officer and 13 points for a dispatcher.
- Through college hours at the rate of one educational point per one-semester hour completed. So if a person has 25 college semester hours that equates to 25 educational points.
The points from a person’s training transcript and from college can be added together for a points total. Then, as long as the individual has enough points to match their years of full-time experience, they are good.
“Remember that meeting the educational requirement with points is only necessary if one does not have a degree,” Boldt pointed out.
Boldt said the way the system is set up encourages people to obtain college degrees while at the same time providing an achievable means to further their career.
Using the Intermediate Public Safety Dispatcher as an example, dispatchers must have a minimum of three years full-time experience and 30 educational points under their belts before they can earn this certificate.
“It’s almost impossible without some college to get 30 points in three years,” Boldt said.
“(The program) provides an incentive to get into college,” Boldt said. “Even a three-hour online course will get you three education points, and you’ve completed the three-hour online course while you’re working.”
Law enforcement officers can earn educational points the same way, Boldt said.
Boldt said degrees such as associate’s and bachelor’s streamlines the process in meeting the educational points requirement in the CDP.
“It does speed things up,” he said. “If you’re hired by an agency and already have a degree, that degree, no matter what level, would count toward your educational hours. As long as it’s from an accredited college, it will be accepted. A copy of the official college transcript is required.”
Boldt said unlike the OKLECS-approved courses – which cannot be used more than once to satisfy the training requirement – degrees and points are reusable.
“When one uses a course to satisfy the training requirement for one certificate, that course cannot be used again for any subsequent certificate,” Boldt said. “To use a college analogy, colleges aren’t going to allow you to take basket weaving 10 times to earn your degree; you take it one time and it’s done. Degrees or educational points can be used repeatedly for all certificates to satisfy the educational requirement.”
Using the tried and true methods of the career development program, Boldt said the means of obtaining certification is not complicated.
He said if law enforcement officers and public safety dispatchers follow the plan, then their journey toward certifications can been a seamless experience.