OTTUMWA-- Indian Hills Community College has been named an Iowa Post Reserve Program training site to train reserve law enforcement officers in the Indian Hills 10-county region as well as throughout southern Iowa. The reserve officer training program will be taught by Indian Hills Criminal Justice faculty as well as several adjunct instructors. The training will utilize locations at both the Ottumwa Main and North Campuses.
The program, which includes 80 training hours and the completion of six modules, had previously been taught by local sheriffs or police departments. However, staffing shortages and a lack of qualified instructors led to local departments reaching out to Indian Hills to fill training needs. Indian Hills Criminal Justice Program Director, Tim King, stated, “Prior to Indian Hills offering the reserve training program, officers had to complete the training in Des Moines or wait until a qualified instructor was available to teach the courses. This led to a shortage of trained reserve officers and overworked officers and deputies. The new training center will ensure that all officers receive the same training and are qualified and equipped to begin work as a reserve officer upon completion of the program.”
Indian Hills plans to welcome the first group of officers into the training program in June and registration for the program will be facilitated through the Indian Hills Continuing Education Department. Indian Hills President, Dr. Matt Thompson, noted, “The community college system is designed to be responsive to the needs of the community and specifically the workforce. Local sheriff and police departments approached Tim about training reserve officers at Indian Hills and we were able to not only train 300 officers during the pandemic, but also apply for and receive approval to be an Iowa Post Reserve training site. We are proud to work with local law enforcement to meet the needs of those who take the oath to protect and serve southern Iowa.”
The decision to pursue approval as a reserve training site came from a request made by the Criminal Justice Program Advisory Committee. The committee, consisting of local and regional law enforcement personnel, noted that the current process of trying to train their own reserves or sending them to a reserve training site elsewhere in the state was no longer feasible due to cost and time constraints. “Indian Hills has always been responsive to our needs and has done a great job of training and retraining our deputies and reserve officers. The addition of the reserve training program to the Indian Hills campus will ensure that our reserve officers receive quality training while staying close to home,” stated Wapello County Sheriff, Don Phillips.