Build It They Will Come
Dr. Robert Posey a lieutenant of the Kentucky State Police had a dream. He felt it a travesty that that there was little to no training for police officers for the state other than the Kentucky State Police. Dr. Posey had approached all the major colleges in the state with a proposal to establish a collegiate-based program for police officers. Every college turned him down with the exception of Eastern Kentucky University. Dr. Robert Martin and Dr. John Rowlett said yes and the College of Justice and Safety was created in 1965. After getting this program up and running, he turned his sights on police basic training.
Kentucky Law Enforcement Council Established
Police basic training during the 1960’s consisted of handing a newly hired officer a badge and a gun and turning them loose on the streets in their cruiser. The Kentucky Peace Officer’s Standards and Training Council was established on September 1, 1967 with a grant from the Office of Law Enforcement Assistance in the amount of $36,844. Dr. Robert Posey was responsible for obtaining this grant. At this time Posey choose Robert C. Stone as the Director of the Council. The council name was then changed to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council.
The first business of the Council was to determine whether or not police officers needed formal training. Their first course was a one week class to introduce chiefs, sheriffs and mayors to the curriculum and encourage them to send their officers to the training. The next course was a three week basic training course but chiefs and sheriffs did not send their officers because they said they could not afford them to be gone for a three week period. In 1968, Director Stone proposed new legislation to the General Assembly to establish mandatory basic training for Kentucky officers. Chiefs, sheriffs and mayors fought this legislation and it failed passage in the General Assembly. Director Stone changed the legislation to make it voluntary. In 1972 because of the nature of this voluntary training, this allowed the beginning of KLEFPF, the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund. The training was voluntary so the new legislation gave officers additional money to attend annual training in the amount of 15% of the officer’s pay. This was funded from the state via a surcharge on automobile insurance policies. The stipend changed in 1982 to a fixed dollar amount of $2,500 and then after sixteen years to $3,100. The last raise was to $4,000 on July 1, 2018 by Governor Matt Bevin. KLEFPF required basic training and annual in-service training to be mandatory. Basic training went from the 3 week basic to 10 weeks to 16 weeks to 23 weeks and now back to 20 weeks.
Functions and Duties of the Council
The functions and duties of the Council are to prescribe standards for training academies, law enforcement instructors, curriculum, qualifications for attendance and expulsion, voluntary career development programs, monitor the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund and certify police officers, telecommunicators and court security officers. The Council is run daily by a support staff of ten but the Governor appoints the voting body of the Council to four-year terms. The seats for the voting body of the Council are the Attorney General, the Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police, the Director of the Southern Police Institute, the Dean of the College of Justice & Safety of Eastern Kentucky University, the President of the Kentucky Peace Officers’ Association, the President of the Kentucky Association of Chiefs’ of Police, the President of the Fraternal Order of Police, the President of the Kentucky Sheriffs’ Association, the United States Attorney for East and West Districts, a Mayor, a County Judge Executive, three Sheriffs, a member of the State Bar Association, five Chiefs of Police and a Citizen at large.
Historical Legislation for Law Enforcement
Some historical legislation since the inception of the Council is the Peace Officer Professional Standards law that passed on December 1, 1998. This legislation made it mandatory for all officers hired after this date to complete seventeen standards of pre-employment testing prior to being hired and then complete basic training within one year of their hire date and then forty hours of in-service training annually after basic is completed. In 2003, the Career Development Program legislation was passed creating a voluntary career track program to assist officers and public safety dispatchers in meeting specific standards within training, education and experience as they move forward in their career. In 2005, the Kentucky Institute for Polygraph Studies was created by Polygraph Examiner Pam Shaw in conjunction with the Kentucky State Police and lasted until 2010. Pam left the office to pursue a private career in polygraph training in 2010 and continues to train Kentucky’s polygraph examiners as well as others nationwide and worldwide. On July 15, 2006, the Telecommunications Professional Standards law was passed making it mandatory for all full time public safety dispatchers hired after this date to complete a basic training academy and eight pre-employment standards prior to attending the academy. They are required to complete eight hours annually under this legislation. On June 26, 2007, the Court Security Officer Professional Standards legislation passed in the General Assembly making it mandatory for all currently working court security officers to be required to complete fourteen pre-employment standards and all newly hired court security officers after this date to complete the fourteen pre-employment standards. They then must complete an eighty-hour Court Security Officer Basic Training course within one year of their hire date.
The Kentucky Law Enforcement Council makes it its mission to maintain professional relationships with all law enforcement agencies and law enforcement training academies throughout the state as well as other states’ Peace Officer Standards of Training Offices. Our mission statement is “Assist law enforcement agencies in hiring the best qualified applicants available at the least cost with the least inconvenience in a timely manner understanding throughout that agency pre-employment needs vary greatly by the size of the agency.” It is our pleasure to serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Kentucky Law Enforcement Council Directors:
Robert C. Stone July 1968 – 1973
William Thomas 1977 – 197?
John Hiten 197? – May 14, 1982
Robert Bird May 15, 1982 – February 1983
Jack Lancaster February 1983 – August 1986
Douglas True September 1986 – October 1986
Wendy Frockt October 1986 – 1988
Ray Pait August 1, 1989 – November 1993
Tim Hockensmith Short tenure in 1994
Dennis Mills August 16, 1995 – June 15, 2002
Larry Ball June 16, 2002 – August 1, 2013
Leslie Gannon November 4, 2013 – April 1, 2014
Ken Schwendeman April 1, 2014 – April 25, 2016
Dr. Frank Kubala June 6, 2016 – August 31, 2016
Fran Root September 1, 2016 - Present