Moore deputies trained at no cost to local taxpayers thanks to state cost-share program

New Metro Moore County Sheriff’s Deputy Russell Dodson (center) poses with (from left to right) Sergeant Douglas Carson, Sheriff Tyler Hatfield, Captain Shane Taylor, and Lieutenant Dustin White during a recent academy graduation ceremony. Dodson attended the state law enforcement academy at no cost to local taxpayers thanks to a state cost share program. (Photo Provided)

It’s about to be budget season here in Metro Moore County and as any Metro department head, Metro Budget Committee member, or local taxpayer will tell you, every dollar counts.

Recently, one Metro Moore County Sheriff’s Department deputy graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy (TLETA) and a second will attend this April at no cost to local taxpayers thanks to a new state cost sharing program. Local deputy Russell Dodson graduated from the Academy last year and cadet Andrew Fly will attend in April.

“We saved local taxpayers around $3,800 per deputy by utilizing the program,” said Moore County Sheriff Tyler Hatfield. “Both deputies were trained in the current budget cycles so that’s $7,400 in the current fiscal year.”

TN taxpayers invest more than $24 million in law enforcement

The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) recently announced the graduation of more than 600 cadets statewide from the Academy at no cost to local law enforcement agencies through the cost-sharing grant.  

Announced in 2022 as part of the state’s $24 million Law Enforcement Hiring, Training, and Recruitment Program, this cost-sharing program covers the local share of training costs for new officers at TLETA, which is more than $3,000 per new officer. That cost includes tuition for 12 weeks of training at TLETA, training uniforms, and additional professional development expenses.  

TLETA graduated the first class of officers through the program on September 30, 2022, including 110 officers from 61 agencies. A total of 627 cadets have been trained at no cost to local governments thus far.  

“Thanks in part to state taxpayer’s investment of $24 million in local law enforcement, TLETA is on track to fulfill his vision of adding 1,000 new law enforcement officers annually in Tennessee,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “The high quality, no cost training for local law enforcement offered at TLETA is a critical tool for ensuring that local communities are served and protected by our best and brightest. I encourage local departments to apply for this program.” 

As a part of the cost-sharing grant, local police departments and sheriffs’ offices are eligible for additional funding to cover expenses related to the hiring and initial training of their officers, upon the trainees’ graduation from TLETA. This financial assistance is based on economic factors for each city and county, ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 per graduate for the communities with the greatest need.  

In total, more than $4.5 million has been provided for tuition and the critical assistance associated with tuition, representing an historic investment in the training of local officers. •

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