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Criminal Justice Training Academy Brings Back Civilian Program - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Criminal Justice Training Academy Brings Back Civilian Program

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -

People looking to break in to the law enforcement field can now gain a competitive edge against the other applicants. The Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Academy is revitalizing its civilian program.

Law enforcement from agencies across the commonwealth attends the academy for essential training, and now, civilians can work alongside them as they progress through the 18-week course.

After years of administrative work, Karolyn Sumner is preparing to leap into the world of law enforcement by investing in her new career. She eventually hopes to join her husband at the University of Virginia for her new calling.

"It's hard work. It really is. You really have to get your mind set into it, and be ready and be prepared for that hard work,” Sumner said.

She trains with dozens of other deputies and officers in Weyers Cave to gain skills in handling firearms, defensive tactics, legal matters and traffic duties.

"I'm looking forward to helping my community. I know it is very community-oriented. I'm a people person, so I enjoy getting out there and working with the public. So, I know that there will be challenges, but also rewards that come with this job as well,” Sumner said.

The goal is to help people like Sumner become more marketable to agencies when the time comes to apply. Andy McNally, who helps lead the program, says this would also save jurisdictions taxpayer dollars because the buck can be passed on to up-and-coming officers.

"So when they get out, most law enforcement agencies will grab those guys and hire them, because it's less money they have to pay because the training is already done,” McNally said.

From the militaristic and discipline-oriented style of instruction to the coursework and hands-on work, Sumner and others feel they're evolving.

"This is your opportunity to make that one step, go forward," she said.

The tuition costs several thousand dollars, so it is an investment. There are housing options on site for those admitted.

The next training period begins in July, so prospective members are encouraged to begin applying soon.

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