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Photo by Randy Hoeft/Yuma Sun

Law Enforcement Training Academy to graduate cadets from across Arizona

Low tuition costs helping Arizona Western College expand reach to agencies statewide

Yuma, AZ (February 14, 2020) – When Arizona Western College started its new full-time Law Enforcement Training Academy (LETA) last year, the hope was that it would be utilized by both local and out-of-town agencies.

The vision to expand the academy’s reach is already coming to fruition with its second cohort of cadets.

The current class consists of 19 recruits from eight different agencies around Arizona. Two cadets were sent from the Globe Police Department, one from the Kingman Police Department, two from the Colorado River Indian Tribe (CRIT) Police Department, two from CRIT Fish & Game, two from the Quechan Police Department, one from the Somerton Police Department, three from the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, and six from the Yuma Police Department. The group is set to graduate as certified peace officers on Feb. 20.

AWC LETA Director Alfonso Zavala shared that he plans to continue collaborating with local, state, and federal partners to transform the program into the top law enforcement training academy in Arizona. Zavala recently moved into his new role at AWC after almost 20 years of service to the Yuma County Sherriff’s Office. He has over 15 years of experience working with training and education of law enforcement personnel.

Through the program, Zavala and the academy’s dedicated team of instructors strive to change lives and better the quality of life in the communities they serve. One of the ways they accomplish this is by having an open-door policy. Although the academy is taught by local law enforcement, other Arizona agencies are encouraged to send personnel from their departments to help teach classes as well.

“This isn’t just the Yuma way,” said Zavala. “If agencies have their cadets here and want to send their instructors too, absolutely, we want them to be part of this. And if any members of their command staff want to come down, check out the academy, and meet with us, they’re welcome anytime. We want to foster positive working relationship with the agencies we partner with.”

Zavala added that they have been fortunate to receive instructional assistance from all outside agencies that have sent their recruits to be a part of the second cohort of the academy. This is on top of the invaluable support that the program already receives from local law enforcement agencies in Yuma and La Paz counties.

Another factor that makes this academy so unique is that it allows for Arizona agencies to have their cadets trained for a fraction of the cost compared to other out-of-town academies. The AWC LETA costs local agencies about $1,000, plus equipment costs. The cost for out-of-town agencies is less than $5,000, plus equipment costs.

Zavala shared that the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office has already saved about $140,000 by having seven of their recruits go through the local program. The cost of sending a student to a full-time academy in Tucson or Phoenix would cost local agencies close to $15,000 per student, plus another almost $5,000 for equipment costs and living expenses.

He anticipates that the lower tuition costs will continue to attract agencies from around Arizona for future cohorts. Zavala has already received 13 seat requests for the third cohort of the academy which is set to begin on April 13. The enrollment inquiries were made by both local and out-of-town agencies.

Alfonso Zavala
Law Enforcement Training Academy Director
Arizona Western College
(928) 317-7591

(Photo by Randy Hoeft/Yuma Sun)

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