The only Law Enforcement Regional Training Academy (LERTA) – commonly known as a “police academy” — in Genesee County is located at Mott Community College’s Fenton location at 2100 West Thompson Road in Fenton. The academy provides a 15-week, intensive training program that prepares students for the Law Enforcement Licensing Exam.
Retired Trooper Dan Thomas, a 25-year veteran of the Michigan State Police, is an advisor to MCC’s LERTA in Fenton. Thomas explained, “Anyone who wants to be a police officer in the State of Michigan has to go through the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) training; it’s a standard set by the State.” MCC’s LERTA is authorized to provide that MCOLES training.
To enter the LERTA program, a person has to satisfy one of these three requirements:
Be employed and then sponsored by a law enforcement agency,
Have a college degree (associate or bachelor) and be willing to pay your own costs, or
Be a Criminal Justice student at Mott College. Successful completion of the Academy gives the student 15 credits towards the 62 credits they need for an associate degree in Criminal Justice at MCC.
If a student is not sponsored by a law enforcement agency, then it is their responsibility to pay for the program, however, a person can pay for most or the entire academy through Pell grants, loans and/or scholarships. Information on grants, loans and scholarships are available through MCC’s LERTA.
The Academy is a fulltime Monday through Friday program lasting 16 weeks. The schedule varies and can include early mornings, evenings and weekends. The length of a particular day can be between 8 to 12 hours but is typically 7:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.
According to Thomas, “Ideally you should begin to consider starting the process well before the start of the academy. There are many steps to getting into the academy. But, don’t worry as long as you continue to seek help you will be guided through the process.”
The next LERTA class will start on August 26, so those interested should contract Dan Thomas as soon as possible. Call (810) 762-0331 to talk with him.
Thomas had some words of caution for people considering entering the academy. “You can’t have a felony conviction and almost every police department requires applicants be 21 to be hired as police officers, so it doesn’t help to complete the academy before you are near 21. A year after completion of the Academy, if not hired by a department, you would have to undergo refresher training and two years later you would have to repeat the Academy.”
“The job prospects for police officers are very good,” Thomas stated. “Different departments throughout Michigan are hiring and time working as an officer inside the jail systems counts as part of your professional time.”
Interested potential students should call Dan Thomas at (810) 762-0331