Entry, Certification & Renewal Requirements
I. ENTRY INTO BASIC TRAINING PROGRAM AT THE CONNECTICUT POLICE ACADEMY
A person who is to become a police officer in Connecticut must first attend a Basic Training Program at either the Connecticut Police Academy or at a Council-approved Academy. A person wanting to do that must first be hired by a law enforcement unit (police department, etc.) within the State of Connecticut. Generally, law enforcement units solicit applicants who are then subjected, by that department, to a series of tests and evaluations prior to being hired.
Upon successful completion of all of the entry-level tests, an individual’s name is generally placed on an eligibility list and the law enforcement unit then hires whom it wants. The department then sends that individual to the next available session of the Police Officer Standards and Training Council (hereinafter POST) Basic Training Program. Six (6) departments in the state periodically conduct basic training programs at their academies under oversight of the POST (these are called satellite academies). The majority (90%) of police recruits go through POST’s program at the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden, Connecticut.
The basic training program at the Connecticut Police Academy is approximately 22 weeks long. Recruit officers reside at the Academy from 8 a.m. on Monday to 6 p.m. Friday each week. Recruits must successfully pass, with a grade of 70% or better, each of 12 different academic areas as well as successfully pass each of a series of different practical skill areas (currently 9). Additionally, recruits must complete a field and departmental training program consisting of a minimum of 400 additional hours.
Upon successful completion of all portions of the program, including the field and departmental training, the recruit officer is issued an initial certification as a police officer in the State of Connecticut.
II. STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS AND COUNCIL POLICIES AND PRACTICES RELATIVE TO ORIGINAL POLICE OFFICER CERTIFICATION AND RECERTIFICATION
A) As created by the legislature, the Police Officer Standards and Training Council is empowered to certify, decertify and regulate the training of police officers pursuant to Chapter 104, Part 1, Section 7-294a-e of the Connecticut General Statutes. As a training agent of municipalities, the Council maintains the following policies and practices:
1. Admission to the Connecticut Police Academy is restricted to either gainfully employed police officers or "probationary candidates" in the position of police officer, who have already been hired as such, and are insured by their employing agency while in attendance.
2. Application for training may be made only by a chief executive officer of a law enforcement unit or a designated representative. Since most training costs are borne by the State of Connecticut in the reasonable anticipation that probationary officers will then return to their employing departments where they will protect the lives and property of Connecticut citizens, the Council does not accept for admission to the Academy any non-police students or other parties who are not included in the above definition or that stipulated in Section 7-294a of the General Statutes and the Council’s regulation 7-294e-1.
3. The Council requires that law enforcement units restrict requests for training to those individuals who have completed all requisite pre-employment criteria or standards within the employing departments before their names are submitted to the POST Council for the next available seat in a basic training session. The Council requires that all probationary candidates enrolled in the basic training program have a "contractual" relationship with their respective employers and that they are bona fide employees of the law enforcement unit.
4. The Council is empowered to grant a police officer certification by means of a certificate of comparative compliance in instances where an applicant in this state has been a fully trained, and experienced police officer in another state, has not had a break in sworn service in excess of two years, and presents evidence of satisfactory completion of a training program equivalent to that which is required in Connecticut. Equivalency may be accomplished by completing a Council-approved selection of programs.
The Council will consider only those requests for comparative certification consideration made by a chief executive officer of a law enforcement unit on behalf of "probationary candidates" holding a position of police officer in the agency.
B) Each person whose empowerment as a police officer in the State of Connecticut is predicated upon the attainment and retention of certification (State Police and a few other small agencies are exempt) is personally responsible for meeting the requirements for such certification.
1. Initial (original) Certification
Initial certification follows the successful completion of a police officer basic training program approved by the Council (or a recognized equivalent) and a supervised field and departmental training experience meeting the Council’s minimum standards.
a. Initial certification must be obtained within one calendar year of the person’s date of hire as a "probationary candidate."
b. Initial certification is granted for three years; police officers are required to obtain the needed number of review training credits during each period of certification to allow the Council to renew the certification for a subsequent three-year period.
c. Each police officer certification issued by the Council is valid for a period of time not to exceed three years.
d. The Council issues a certification card to each certified police officer.
2. Renewal of Certification
Each police officer must renew his/her certification every three years; renewal is predicated upon the satisfactory completion of review training AND continued employment as a police officer.
a. Each police officer’s training record will be reviewed by the Council’s staff.
b. Each police officer found to be in compliance with their review training obligations will receive a renewed certification card with an updated expiration date.
c. Each police officer found to be lacking the review training necessary for renewal of his/her certification will be personally notified of their deficiency. Each deficient officer must comply with the Council’s procedures and schedule for achieving compliance or face refusal by the Council to renew certification and termination by their law enforcement unit.