New Florida police officers are required to undergo 770 hours of training at a police academy while barbers who want to be licensed in the Sunshine State are required to take 1,200 hours of coursework, according to a local media outlet.
Now, as the article points out, that is a minimum requirement and some Florida police departments require much more training than the minimum state rule. For instance, the St. Petersburg Police Department puts new recruits through an additional eight-week, 320-hour post academy course followed by a minimum 14-20 weeks of field training before they’re ever on their own.
This raises a more serious problem-the disparity in the quality of training police recruits receive. St. Pete officers may receive a lot of training but what about the training programs for officers in smaller towns and municipalities across the state? This training disparity means that officers in one town or city are better trained than other officers in smaller, more rural communities. How is that a good idea for the officers or the residents?
Since most of us don’t know how much training a particular department has received, it like Russian Roulette-you never know what you’re going to get.
Sgt. J.D. Lofton, who trains many of the St. Petersburg officers after they graduate from police academy spoke to WTSP reporters for the article and noted, “The guy that just goes through the academy and gets thrown on the street – that’s a huge disservice, and I think that’s why you see a lot of places have better cops than others. It all boils down to training.”
That’s a huge problem in quantity and quality of training. If we know all Florida barbers receive the same mandatory training in terms of quantity and quality, why can’t we expect the same with Florida law enforcement? This is a public safety issue that needs to be addressed immediately.