Legislature To Study Statewide Uniform Police Training

Monday, July 27th 2020, 6:37 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

The state Legislature will be conducting more than a hundred interim studies in the next few months. One deals with standard training for all Oklahoma police officers. 

Most Oklahoma police agencies require cadets to go through the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, or CLEET, to become police officers. 

The study would look into ways of making continuing education for police officers more uniform.  

“What’s the best way we can do it. How can we support law enforcement but make sure everybody in the state of Oklahoma is treated equal?” said Appropriations Chairman, Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah.

Thompson said the study is not in response to police protests seen nationwide, but this is something lawmakers will consider.

“If you remember last year, we started talking about CLEET and moving to into our career tech system so that everyone gets those same courses all over the state, also make it more economical," Thompson said. "Then this year, all the events that have taken place, certainly support the police force a thousand percent. We want them to have the best training they can have.”

Thompson said he would like to see an increased focus on mental health and substance abuse training.

“And so a lot of our small towns right now, they have to hire somebody, then send them off to CLEET, pay for that. Let's get them the training before they get there, just make sure that have the continuing education training that they need,” he said.

“You have to be CLEET certified and so they mandate all of the training. Some of the departments go above. Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Edmond, a few others have their own academy. Obviously, the state troopers have their own state academy, but there is a standard that CLEET sets, so if that’s what they’re looking at, we have no issue with that,” said Mark Nelson, Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police vice president.

“It’s a different world than I grew up in out there and we have to meet the demands of the world today,” Thompson said.

Those interim studies begin the first week of August at the state Capitol.