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State questions value of program
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In recent years, Kansas Board of Regents has been working on a process called "alignment," to standardize vocational and technical education courses across the state to fit the needs of employers. The Technical Education Authority makes recommendations on this statewide coordination.

Barton Community College administrators don’t always agree with TEA recommendations, and the Criminal Justice program is a case in point. Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said officials at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center don’t support the development of Criminal Justice courses at community colleges, unless they transfer on to a four-year bachelor’s degree program. "They want to do away with all non-transfer courses."

In Kansas, a person must be hired to a law enforcement job first to be eligible to attend KLETC’s 14-week basic training program. KLETC also offers continuing education and specialized training.

But Barton officials and those at other community colleges with Criminal Justice programs say their courses are also filling a need, by preparing potential officers before they are hired. Their own advisory boards, made up of area employers, tell them this is so.

"Three Barton Community College graduates work for me right now," Pawnee County Sheriff Scott King said last week.

Barton County Sheriff Greg Armstrong said a person becomes a certified law enforcement officer after completion of KLETC training, but receiving training first at the college "really puts them ahead of their game."