LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -A recent bill signed by Governor Stitt will allow some CLEET courses to be taught to high school students enrolled in law enforcement programs at technology center schools.
For 16 years, Law Enforcement Program Instructor Buddy Neasbitt has been trying to add these courses to his curriculum at the Great Plains Technology Center.
“I’ve battled with CLEET, and several other organizations to get this passed,” said Neasbitt. “But they’re saying high school students. They can’t be police officers. But yet we’re not building a reserve ready to become police officers.”
He reached out to Representative Rande Worthen to get help, and from there Senator John Michael Montgomery joined in.
“Representative Worthen asked me to run it, as the Senate author,” said Sen. Montgomery. “For me I looked at it, this is pretty straight forward. This is going to be good for kids, in high school especially to kinda get started on their career path.”
CLEET is the Council of Law Enforcement Education Training for the State of Oklahoma. It’s the academy that all law enforcement officers must go through. CLEET courses are offered through some Universities, but never at Tech schools.
“Currently we’re all teaching different sorts of curriculum,” said Neasbitt. “Mine and several others have gone to a curriculum that was produced by Career Tech, called Law Enforcement I. It’s really based towards security guards, and community policing stuff. This allows us to go back when I first started teaching basic academy stuff.”
These courses will include things like patrol tactics, patrol procedures, law, traffic procedures, accident investigation, crime scene processing and more. They won’t however include defense tactics, firearm qualifications, or law enforcement drivers training.
Students would still have to go through their agency’s CLEET academy once they were hired.
“What this really does for the students,” said Neasbitt. “It gives them a leg up. To be able to when they start an academy, when they walk in for their first interviews, they can bring their portfolio in and say ‘Look, these are the classes I’ve taken and passed, to become a police officer in Oklahoma.
Neasbitt is retiring after this year, so to see this bill finally pass....he says satisfaction doesn’t even begin to describe how he feels.
“This has been my baby,” said Neasbitt. “And it’s kind of hard to walk away. But sometimes, you gotta let the child fly, and that’s what I’m gonna do.”
While Neasbitt is retiring after this year, he says he plans to still help out the law enforcement program. And says they know he will always be a phone call away.
House Bill 1026 was signed into law on Tuesday. It will go into effect, November 1st.