ECC Partners With PCSD in Law Enforcement Training Program

April 5, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

A new partnership at East Central College will offer law enforcement training in the Rolla area that fits students’ schedules and provides the opportunity for financial aid and services.

The inaugural basic training class of the ECC Phelps Law Enforcement Training Center (LETC) will begin in August. It was developed through a collaboration between the College and the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD).

ECC Rolla Director Christina Ayres said the one-year certificate program combines theory, experiential learning, and practical applications to prepare students for a career as a peace officer. Students who successfully complete this Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) approved program are eligible to take the Missouri Peace Officer License Exam (MPOLE) to become a licensed peace officer.

Students also have the option to take additional general education coursework to complete an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Law Enforcement degree.

Courses will be taught in the evenings and Saturdays during the fall, spring and summer semesters at ECC in Rolla, with breaks in between. That allows students to continue their employment while attending training.

Applications are due June 1 for the sessions that begin Aug. 21. There is a selective admission process utilized for students who apply for the program. For more information about the program, visit, or contact or 573-202-6960.

Local Program

Ayres has been working with Phelps County Sheriff Mike Kirn and Rolla Police Capt. Will Loughridge since August 2021 in preparation for this new program. She explained that a basic law enforcement training program in Rolla alleviates barriers for employers and future officers.

“Local agencies have seen a gap in the employment pipeline,” she said. “This partnership will provide a local training option reducing additional costs for travel and lodging out of the area.”

“The location of the basic training academy in Rolla will reduce lengthy commutes,” Loughridge added. “It will allow people in our community to attend training close to home, while still allowing them to work and take care of their families until they transition to a career with a police organization.”

Kirn said that a local program will bolster the ranks of the PCSD and police agencies in the Phelps County area.

“This academy will allow local law enforcement agencies access to quality candidates from our area. Young people who were raised here will take more interest in their community,” he said. “People raised here and trained here will stay here.”

“This academy will give us a chance to witness the student’s drive, integrity and work ethic,” Kirn added. “Having this knowledge will allow us to make better decisions when hiring.”

Ayres noted that LETC students will have access to federal financial aid, scholarships and services, including tutoring and advising, that all ECC students are provided.

“This is what we do — we have services and resources already in place to support student learning,” she said.

The state requires 600 training hours for a basic training program. The ECC Phelps LETC basic training program exceeds state requirements by providing 700 contact hours to further enhance the skills and knowledge of students.


The “theory” and classroom segments of the curriculum will be taught at ECC Rolla North, located at 2303 North Bishop, and the hands-on “experiential learning” will utilize facilities and equipment provided by the PCSD.

“Partnering with the sheriff’s department is a perfect example of carrying out our mission of empowering students and enriching our communities through education.” Ayres said. “By addressing this need together, we have the opportunity to maximize each other’s strengths — delivering quality education and support services with highly-trained faculty in well-equipped facilities.”

Students who take general education courses, along with electives, to complete an AAS in Law Enforcement have the option to transfer for a bachelor’s degree. An associate degree in law enforcement provides a foundation for a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, pre-law, public administration, emergency management and more.

The degree program could have a remarkable impact on law enforcement in the region, according to Loughridge.

“The college degree path offered through the ECC Phelps LETC is a significant benefit to attendees and future employers,” he said. “Research shows officers with a college degree often have less use of force incidents and less complaints, which limits liability to the organization.”

Loughridge added that the ECC Phelps LETC will assist in keeping law enforcement officers in the community as a pipeline for agencies, such as the Rolla Police Department.

“There is a potential to have nearly all new officers coming out of the academy with an associate degree and their law enforcement certificate,” he said.