Arturo Ramos looks forward to achieving his goal: graduating from The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College Police Academy on March 5.
“This program takes a lot of dedication, a lot of mental discipline and time management,” Ramos said.
“It’s going to make a big difference for me and my family, and I hope to make a difference in my community.”
Since Ramos is currently a full-time Cameron County detention jailer, he chose to attend night classes at the academy.
“The academy has excellent instructors who bring their experience into the classroom. I feel they are preparing me to learn what is necessary, and that I’ll be prepared to pass the TCLEOSE (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education) exam.”
UTB/TSC offers three law enforcement-training classes yearly through the Criminal Justice Institute Police Academy. With a curriculum that includes 704 instruction hours, day classes run for six months and evening classes cover a 10-month period.
“We are proud of our cadets who graduate from the academy,” said Hector
Ramos, CJI program director. “Men and women who enter this profession must have a calling and be dedicated to their training, both mentally and physically, to achieve their goals.”
Successful completion of training and graduation from the academy enables cadets to take the Basic Peace Officer licensing exam. Only after passing the BPO exam and being hired by a municipality or state agency does a person actually become a law enforcement officer.
The minimum age requirement for peace officers is 21, and applicants must meet the “Minimum Standards for Initial Licensure” as specified by TCLEOSE. In addition, applicants must comply with a number of requirements, including successful completion of the Adult Basic Learning Exam (also known as the A.B.L.E exam), a background check, and medical and psychological exams.
For young adults under 21 who are interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice, yet who need to enter the workforce immediately after graduating from high school, one possibility to consider is the Certified Jailer program, considered to be a good training ground for law enforcement.
With an age requirement of 18 and 120 hours of coursework over four weeks, students are prepared to be out in the workforce quickly.
Becoming a peace officer is only one of the many career opportunities in the field of criminal justice. Highly competent law enforcement personnel are always in demand on the city, county and state levels. On the national
level, the federal government needs good candidates for its many agencies, such as the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency and Homeland Security.
The federal agencies employ not only uniformed field agents, but also behind-the-scenes accountants, chemists, psychologists, lawyers, forensics lab technicians and a host of other skilled professionals.
People interested in law enforcement, but not as a uniformed peace officer, may consider a degree in criminal justice, also offered at UTB/TSC. This degree prepares students for careers as parole officers, crime scene investigators and the emerging field of computer forensics.
Steven Sanchez, a mentor for new recruits and assistant to CJI Director Ramos, emphasizes the possibility of advancement in law enforcement.
“A cadet who develops a vision for their future in law enforcement and is willing to work hard toward the Basic Peace Officer certification can have a
promising career,” Sanchez said. “As in any field, taking that next step toward a bachelor’s degree enables an individual to pursue further options within law enforcement.”