Funds sought for law enforcement training

CORINTH – A desire to train Northeast Mississippi’s law enforcement officers closer to home could become a reality if two grants are awarded for the project.
Four entities – the Corinth Police Department, Alcorn County Sheriff’s Office, Farmington Police Department and Northeast Mississippi Community College – are pursuing funding that would create a law enforcement training program at Corinth’s Northeast campus.
“Everything is still in the planning stages,” said Corinth Police Chief David Lancaster. “We are looking at an academy for part-time officers, jailer training and a communications training course, the basic requirements for state certification.”
The department has applied for a $40,211 Justice Assistance Grant under the federal recovery act as well as a $305,000 rural law enforcement grant to fund the program.
In anticipation of receiving the grants, the city and county have signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing that the $40,211 grant will be used for the “Corinth/Alcorn County Law Enforcement Training Project.”
“We’ve still got a ways to go before we have everything in place, but it will be a tremendous help for us to do training right here in Corinth,” said Alcorn County Sheriff Charles Rinehart.
The two grants would fund a program director, assistant director and clerical position for two years, Lancaster said. Officers now might travel to Meridian, Jackson, Southaven or anywhere appropriate training is available.
“We think it’s a wonderful prospect,” said Northeast President Johnny Allen. “We’ve been involved with law enforcement training on a limited basis at our Booneville campus for about four years. What they’re talking about now is having comprehensive law enforcement training in Corinth – what we’ve already been doing and adding to it.”
The programs also would be available to all agencies throughout Northeast Mississippi, Lancaster said.
“Police officers are required under Mississippi law to have 24 hours of training each year,” Lancaster said. Officers accredited by the American Correctional Association must have 40 hours of training each year to retain their certification, and the forthcoming opening of a regional jail in Corinth will create a high demand for training, he added.

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal