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SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Potential police cadets will have a second training option in the Maritimes in 2019 and its impact will be felt at the Atlantic Police Academy in Summerside.
Halifax Regional Police are offering an accredited police sciences course at their training facility in Dartmouth, N.S., beginning Jan. 21.
It will be training on par with the P.E.I. program and at a lower cost.
“A large group of our students do come from Nova Scotia, so we’ve seen our numbers go down,” said Atlantic Police Academy executive director Forrest Spencer.
Around 44 students are expected to attend the January session in P.E.I., down from more than 60 in the previous year. There were more than 100 applicants for the 2019 P.E.I. session.
After an ambitious recruitment around Nova Scotia, Halifax Regional Police received more than 1,100 applications for 24 spots.
The level of interest is likely due to the fact it’s a rare offering. The Halifax Regional Police have only offered 11 courses since 1996 and there is no date set for the next Nova Scotia course.
The Atlantic Police Academy has been training police officers since 1971.
“We’re constantly trying to improve, constantly trying to innovate,” said Spencer.
“We want to be reflective of our community, so we want a broad range of applicants – young and old, from diverse racial communities, diverse religious communities, you name it. We want the broadest variety of applicants we can attract.”
-Insp. Reid McCoombs
The academy in Slemon Park takes students through 24 weeks of classroom learning, followed by 10 weeks of on-the-job training and one last week at the college.
“We want to be reflective of our community, so we want a broad range of applicants – young and old, from diverse racial communities, diverse religious communities, you name it. We want the broadest variety of applicants we can attract,” said Spencer.
It’s not a lack of suitable graduates behind this recruitment drive in Nova Scotia, it’s about attracting a different cohort of officers who want to train and work close to home, who maybe can’t leave the province for training.
“We want to be reflective of our community, so we want a broad range of applicants – young and old, from diverse racial communities, diverse religious communities, you name it. We want the broadest variety of applicants we can attract,” said Insp. Reid McCoombs from Halifax.
But Halifax Regional Police also plans to continue hiring graduates from P.E.I. Ten officers from Atlantic Police Academy were hired last week and started Monday, said McCoombs.
The 35-week Halifax course costs around one-third of the course on P.E.I. at $10,000, but that’s just tuition. The $31,000 paid to the Atlantic Police Academy will get students tuition and room and board on P.E.I.
The academy supplies officers to almost every police service in the Maritimes. Graduates are now accepted directly into the RCMP – they can skip the six-month training, said Spencer.
He figures the training in Halifax will be will be comparable to P.E.I.
“I think the curriculums are going to be very similar. Many of the people working in Halifax were trained by the Atlantic Police Academy.”
Spencer reminds anyone who doesn’t get accepted to the Halifax course to consider P.E.I
“The Atlantic Police Academy is still an accredited, recognized institution that’s providing excellent training.”