The Main Stream

Jun 14, 2012 2:07 AM

PCC police academy ends at perfect time

TUCSON - Local law enforcement agencies are finally hiring again, and the timing couldn't be better for some Pima Community College students.

On Wednesday, 13 cadets graduated from the PCC Public Safety Emergency Services Institute and some already have jobs lined up.

The training program is very unique; it's the only one in Southern Arizona.

It's a ten month program, which is extremely tough, with everything from mental and physical tests, to gun training.

To get the certificate after a tough 10 months is a big relief, but that's not the word most of them used on graduation night.

Ralph Luna is one of the 13 graduates. He said, "The only word I can give you right now is excitement."

And with some cash strapped departments finally starting to hire again, the timing couldn't be better.

Luna said, "It felt very hard to get in to a lot of academies. No one was hiring for awhile. It's great knowing that now we're a hot commodity."

And the instructors said this academy makes them even hotter.

Kirk Simmons is the academy training director. He said, "With us they know they're done, know they graduated, they can offer them a job and then they start paying them because they're ready to be put out in the street to work."

It's not so simple at bigger agencies like the Sheriff's Department because it has its own academy. However, deputies said extra training does give them a leg up.

Deputy Tom Peine of the Sheriff's Department said, "At any time it is always a plus and a positive sign if someone has already had some sort of not only exposure, but some additional training in this particular field. That will give them an advantage."

But are these future cops actually ready?

Luna said, "Yeah I feel ready. I want to go out and start working tomorrow if I had a chance."

To start a career many of them have dreamed about since they were young.

Ivan Iniguez is also a graduate. He said, "I wanted to meet with people, try to help people, but also protect the community. Serve and protect."

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