New recruits to the Bowling Green Police Department will be able to further their education while setting out on a career in law enforcement, thanks to an agreement between the city and Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College signed Friday.

The partnership between the city and SKYCTC will enable BGPD recruits who complete the police department’s law enforcement academy to attain academic credits and complete an associate degree.

Under the arrangement, new BGPD police officers will be awarded 45 technical credit hours for the education and training they have completed upon graduating from the law enforcement academy.

The new recruits can then take five classes at SKyCTC to earn the remaining 15 hours of general education credits needed to complete their associate of applied science degree, with tuition paid by the city.

Tuition for in-state students comes to $179 per credit hour.

SKyCTC President Phil Neal said the college reached out to the BGPD about the partnership as the police department was developing its law enforcement academy, which graduated its first class this month.

The academy was formed to enable BGPD recruits to receive their training in-house from experienced BGPD officers in the community they serve.

Neal said the agreement is a convenient way for officers to meet the education goals often required for advancement to upper-level law enforcement jobs.

“To move up within the ranks of professional development in law enforcement, that requires education and credentialing, and we reached out to (BGPD) as soon as we heard the law enforcement academy was being created,” Neal said. “This is a great opportunity for the city to build a world-class law enforcement workforce and continue their professional development as officers of the law.”

Upon completing the law enforcement academy, new officers completing their associate degree would take classes in the subjects of written communication, heritage and humanities, social and behavioral science, natural science and quantitative reasoning.

“I personally reviewed the curriculum for the Bowling Green Law Enforcement Academy and feel inspired that the new officers will receive such comprehensive, thorough preparation,” said Brooke Justice, SKYCTC vice president of student services.

Of the 11 members of the law enforcement academy’s inaugural graduating class, four plan to continue their education at SKyCTC through the partnership.

BGPD Deputy Chief Lt. Col. Penny Bowles said the opportunity offered through the partnership was “phenomenal, for the cost savings alone” to new officers completing the law enforcement academy.

“We’re really excited for the opportunity to have our recruits continue their secondary education and get an associate degree that they can hopefully transfer and continue their education toward a four-year degree,” Bowles said.

– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.

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