MCC's police academy sees shrinking class size

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The three officers shot in Clinton, Missouri sheds light on a dismal reality for law enforcement and cadets all over the nation. Policing is a dangerous career and fewer people are willing to do it.

The MCC-Blue River Public Safety Institute started its Police Academy Certificate program in 1995.

Rusty Sullivan is a former police officer and the director of the program. He said they've seen a steady decrease in enrollment.

"We are lucky if we get 10 or 15 in a class," said Sullivan.

Sullivan told 41 Action News they've seen a 50 percent reduction in class size in the past 10 years, and they're not alone. He said law enforcement is becoming less of a desirable career choice due to its high risk and the bad reputation that puts police officers in even greater risk.

Sullivan said in recent years the cadets have learned to enter potentially volatile situations, even if they're acting alone.

"One or two officers get in and they go. If they got pistols, they got pistols. If they got rifles, they got rifles. We've had to teach our recruits to improvise on the fly with the instruments and tools that we have," said Sullivan.

According to 2015 federal data, The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the growth rate for “Police and Detectives” as “slower than average” at 4 percent with the average growth rate at 7 percent for other professions.

MCC's current cadets started in January and will complete their training in May.

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