The state agency that trains law enforcement officers on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus will now allow recruits going through basic training to earn an associate’s degree at no charge.
The Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training, also known as DOCJT, graduates about 300 basic training recruits every year, according to its website. The “Educating Heroes” initiative will allow recruits going through the department’s 20-week basic training academy to take an additional 15 hours of online classes during the program for free. Participants graduate with an associate’s degree.
While some agencies in Kentucky have their own training academies, the DOCJT program trains officers from police departments and sheriff’s offices around the state.
The new initiative is part of a partnership with the Bluegrass Community & Technical College through which recruits will earn 45 hours of credit via the existing basic training curriculum, and an optional 15 hours of credit through additional online classes, according to the department.
DOCJT Commissioner Alex Payne said at a press conference Tuesday that it’s tough to recruit for law enforcement careers, and that the department was looking for ways to get people looking at the jobs and training they had to offer.
“We will be sending back better educated young men and women to the communities they come from,” Payne said in a release. “We see a bright future for this program.”
The initiative will begin on Sept. 22 with basic training class 508, according to the department.

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