Police May Lose Spot at Training HQ

Posted May 30, 2003 at 1:57pm

In an attempt to cope with the mounting pressure of educating officers for 75 federal security agencies, the Georgia-based Federal Law Enforcement Training Center may realign several of its programs, possibly relocating a Capitol Police training program.

FLETC officials expect to make a decision by August about which of the 12 programs it runs will remain at its Glynco, Ga., headquarters and which will be farmed out to its facilities in Artesia, N.M., and Cheltenham, Md.

“This coming fiscal year, we are seeing another increase in the request for officers and agents to be trained,” said Peggy Dixon, an FLETC spokeswoman. To accommodate more officers, the center has tried a variety of options, including moving to a six-day training week.

“As we have in the past, we are considering all FLETC sites as possible locations for basic training — our biggest workload — but we’re still in the discussion phase,” Dixon said. “We’ve made no firm decision on which of the options we’ll pursue to best provide the increased training needed for our client agencies, and we want to discuss the options with them before making a final decision.”

The Glynco training center works with a variety of federal agencies, including the Secret Service and Border Patrol, but can also provide space to state, local and international law-enforcement organizations.

At a May 20 hearing of the House Appropriations subcommittee on the legislative branch, Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said he had spoken with FLETC officials and that “it is quite likely” Capitol Police officers will no longer complete basic training at the Georgia headquarters.

Capitol Police recruits typically spend between eight and 10 weeks in basic law- enforcement training, and then move to the Cheltenham FLETC to complete 10 weeks of agency-specific training.

“All federal agencies train in Glynco and then go home for agency-specific training,” said Capitol Police spokeswoman Jessica Gissubel. She added that the Cheltenham campus, which opened in 2002, was never meant to replace the Glynco facility.

The Capitol Police are preparing to send 360 trainees to Glynco this year, Gainer said.

In discussing recruitment of new officers at various Appropriations hearings this year, Gainer has noted that one of the primary obstacles in swearing in new officers is the availability of space at FLETC. “The only thing we have to slow down for is FLETC to accommodate them,” he said.

The department now has nearly 1,400 sworn officers and another 227 civilian staff members, and expects to expand to 1,569 sworn officers by the end of fiscal 2003.

Gainer has requested funds that will allow the force to grow to 1,833 officers by the end of fiscal 2004.

While the Congressional law-enforcement agency awaits a final decision, Gainer has raised concerns about four officers who were recently assigned to serve as instructors at the Glynco training center.

For now, the officers, several of whom have sold their homes or otherwise uprooted their families, are moving ahead with plans to take up residence in Georgia, Gissubel said.