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Frequently Asked Questions - Law Enforcement Academy

(Please click on each question to  see the response.)

This information is subject to update as new information emerges.

Pre application considerations

Purpose and Mission

Enrollment / Admission into the Academy

Note: Admission to Doña Ana Community College does not guarantee admission to the Law Enforcement Academy program. Admission to DACC is required before program admission.

General Information

Note: The following categories will eliminate a person from access to training academies, and most criminal justice related jobs:

  1. Arrests for domestic violence, DUI/DWI, drug use & possession, felony & misdemeanor crimes  (agency dependent regarding misdemeanor offenses).
  2. Psychological impairment based on mental illness, drug – alcohol abuse.
  3. False statements on an application or background check.
  4. Violations of laws involving moral turpitude (NMSA 29-7-13 A (3) (b) specific).
  5. Credit history demonstrating lack of responsibility (agency dependent).
  6. Objectionable visible body art, body modifications or piercings (agency dependent).
  7. Failure to pass any job-related testing process to include but not limited to: written examination(s),   oral interview board, assessment center process, physical fitness exam, background check,  polygraph examination, psychological or medical examination.

For Additional Information Contact . . .


ANSWERS

Considerations before applying to the DACC Law Enforcement Academy-

What is the maximum or minimum age for applicants?
There is no maximum age as long as a person is physically fit and can endure the physical training involved. The minimum age is 18 years, however most agencies would consider hiring a slightly older candidate (21+ years). Persons under 21 who are hired would have to be exceptional candidates.

You should keep in mind that the State of New Mexico requires that you must be hired by a law enforcement agency within one year of completion of the academy and successful completion of the certification test. If you are not hired, then you will have to go through an extensive remediation process. Our recommendation is that you wait until you are 20 ½ years of age before beginning the academy creating better odds of being hired within the designated year period.

I am a dual credit student interested in applying and enrolling . . .
There are two limitations on Dual-Credit students: 1) You must be an adult that is at least 18 years of age [recognized age of majority in New Mexico]; 2) You must have completed ALL of your high school requirements first. The academy curriculum is not a part of the recognized dual-credit program and cannot be substituted for required high school courses.

Is there a U. S. Citizenship requirement?
In order for you to be hired by any law enforcement agency in New Mexico, you must be a U. S. Citizen. Your chances of being employed by a law enforcement agency or achieving certification are not possible until this is achieved.

Is there an educational requirement?
You must hold at a minimum a high school diploma or equivalent recognized under New Mexico law. Your chances of being employed by a law enforcement agency or achieving certification are not possible until this is achieved.

Is this a boot camp where I can get into shape?
No. You should be in physical shape to endure the physical training requirements of the academy. The program is by design focused on instilling skill-sets associated with law enforcement duties and not intended as a baseline remedial process creating physical fitness readiness.

What are the physical requirements?
There is no minimum height standard but a person should be tall enough to safely operate a motor vehicle and effectively negotiate an obstacle course. Weight should be proportional to height and as previously mentioned, the applicant should be in sound physical shape to endure the calisthenics, running, defensive tactics and training regimen for a 20-week academy. The wearing of corrective lenses or contacts is not an issue as long as vision is corrected to 20/20 standards. If worn, the corrective lenses must be in frames that will not interfere with protective personal equipment (PPE) and sturdy enough to endure training conditions.

What if I have piercings?
With the exception of conservatively styled stud piercings for earrings limited to two per ear, body jewelry requiring piercings may not be worn. This is a safety hazard and will definitely interfere with student performance in the training environment.

What if I have body art?
Body art, (aka: tattoos) will have to be covered while participating in the academy process. The key issue applied when considering a law enforcement career is – “Think before you ink!”

Doña Ana Community College has a law enforcement academy? Doesn’t the Las Cruces Police Department and Doña Ana Sheriff’s Office operate their own individual academies?  How does this work?
Doña Ana Community college has entered into this process as a result of significant growth within the Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Programs within the last five-years. The Law Enforcement Academy is a natural outgrowth of this process, and in many states across the U. S. law enforcement training is coupled with a community college. The reason DACC did not have a law enforcement program before now is that the Criminal Justice Program did not exist prior to 2003 and local agencies did have to develop their own academy processes. 

Our goal is not to replace the existing LCPD and DASO academies, but to provide an additional pathway for students interested in getting into the law enforcement field, and a training/development resource available to any law enforcement agency in the state. We have a positive relationship with LCPD and DASO in this regard and are working toward future collaborative efforts. Recruiters for any interested agencies will be invited to the academy while in session to recruit students interesting in joining the various agencies.

What is the purpose of the Academy?
The DACC Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) is focused on preparing the student to qualify for certification as a law enforcement officer in the State of New Mexico. Students participating in the course will be prepared to take the state tests. Certification as a law enforcement officer may only occur if a person is currently employed by a law enforcement agency within the State of New Mexico.We are gathering information for students who are interested and will notify you of pre-academy workshops and  final course developments.

Is this academy state-certified?
The DACC Law Enforcement Academy is pending certification with the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board. The process still has to be reviewed with a required site/facilities visit to our East Mesa Campus. We are working  to achieve certification and no basic academy training or classes will take place until certification is obtained.

Who may enroll in the Law Enforcement Academy?
The DACC LEA is considered an open academy where anyone may apply for admission. You do not have to be currently employed by a law enforcement agency. This is a competitive admission process requiring successful completion of the following:

  • An application package
  • A written exam (unless waived)
  • The Basic Police Physical Fitness Assessment
  • An oral Board Interview 
  • A background screening.
  • A New Mexico state-approved Psychological Assessment
  • A medical screening
  • Individuals currently employed by a law enforcement agency may also attend if their agency sponsors them through the process.

Enrollment:

Note: Admission to Doña Ana Community College does not guarantee admission to the Law Enforcement Academy program. Admission to DACC is required before program admission.

Can I just enroll into the program using the MyNMSU interface? Can my advisor override the restrictions?
No. Any student may apply for admission into the program but they must complete a testing process and meet state/federal criteria for law enforcement training.

What is the Admission Process?
Every applicant will have to complete the process to include but not limited to:
• Complete an Application Package.
• Achieve a passing score on the Basic Physical Fitness test (NMLEA Fitness Standards).
• Achieve a passing score on the Law Enforcement Academy Written Exam or achieve an effective score based on the Academic Review Criteria for students with college experience. (The written test is waived for those having completed an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science  Degree or above from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning; Veterans with a verified MOS/Rating identifier for Military Police,  Security Police or Master – at –Arms, CID, AFOSI, NCIS service on their DD  form 214; or verifiable  service as a peace officer in another state.)
• Achieve a passing score within the Oral Board review process.
• Complete the Background Package and receive a clear background review.
• Successfully complete state required Psychological / Medical screenings.


How long does the Law Enforcement Academy admission process take?
Because of the state/Federal requirements, the Academy Admission process may take anywhere from three to six months. (See - Admission Process)

I noticed there is a firearms and driving courses and they look interesting. Is it possible to just take those courses without going through the whole academy?
No. The Law Enforcement Academy is a cohort-based process and the LAWE courses associated with the program are not offered individually.

How long is the Law Enforcement Academy?
T
he state requirement is for 849 hours of training (minimum standards but may include more). This process takes place during a regular 16-week based semester back-to-back with an additional 8-week mini-semester. Training involves a combined time of 20 weeks.

What is the “academic review” process talked about in the admissions process?
Law enforcement agencies have historically used a written screening examination to examine four areas: Reading /Writing performance and Problem-solving/Reasoning skills. The Academic Review process does the same thing by examining a combination of COMPASS/ACT scores and the courses students have already taken. The primary premise in this process is that if a person has taken and effectively passed these courses they have demonstrated effective reading, writing and reasoning and problem solving skills. Additionally, having attended college courses also demonstrates additional desirable skills of self-discipline, time management and a desire to better oneself through lifelong learning. The courses and assessments considered for review include:


COMPASS/ACT scores:

Writing: COMPASS – 75 or above ACT – 15 or above
Reading:
COMPASS – 80 or above
ACT – 20 or above
ESL Reading: COMPASS – 92 or above   
 

Courses (five courses selected from the following areas combined to a GPA of 2.0 based upon 15-16 credits assessed).


CCDE 110N – Grade of B or above*
ENGL 111G / ENGL 203G / ENGL 211G/ ENGL 218G – Grade of C or above*
CCDR 110N – Grade of B or above
CEP 110N – Grade of C or above
CEP 210N – Grade of C or above
CJ 101 / CJ 205/ CJ 221 / CJ 210/ CJ 250 – Grade of C or above (two can be used from this group)
COMM 253G / 265G – Grade of C or above
CCDM 114N – Grade of B or above
MATH 120 / 121G / MATH 142G / MATH 210G – Grade of C or above
GOVT 100G – Grade of C or above
HIST 202G – Grade of C or above
LAWE 201 / 202 / 203/ 204 / 205 / 233 – Grade of C or above (two from this group may be used)

Lab-based courses such as ASTR 110G /BIOL 101G / 221G / 221GL/ 225 / CHEM 110G / 111G / 112G / PHYS 110G / 211G / GEOL 111G – Grade of C or above.
PSY 201G – Grade of C or above
SOC 101G – Grade of C or above


Background Check

What does the background check involve?
Every student focusing on law enforcement, Homeland Security, private security, corrections, parole or probation career field will at some point be subject to a background and criminal history check. The law enforcement academy requires a specific background check to meet both State and Federal standards.

A background check requires that a student complete a multi-part background questionnaire identifying most of the following:
• All names and aliases used; marriages and divorces.
• Previous home and work address history, names of employers, teachers and schools including dates of work and attendance and or a transcript.
• Medical history including any mental health or drug use.
• Credit history.
• Criminal history to include arrests, traffic and infraction tickets. Juvenile arrest histories may not be shielded from background checks even if the juvenile record has been sealed.
• Military service record.
• Driving record, suspensions, tickets and possession of a current driver’s license.
• Citizenship and/or immigration status to include birth certificate and valid social security number.
• And any other background informational requirements unique to each agency.
• Current and past Internet Social networking information, profiles, postings and email addresses.


What can I do to prepare for the background check?
This should be an opportunity to organize your personal history in such a way that you can successfully provide all of the required information. Suggested materials you should organize include but are not limited to: Birth Certificate / Naturalization documents (if applicable), driver’s license / passport /or State Identifications;  listings and contact information  for the last ten years for previous employers, residences, schools attended, military service; credit information /bankruptcies (if applicable); names and addresses of near relatives and references; marriage/divorce information; information regarding misdemeanor arrests, etc.

Note: The following categories will eliminate a person from access to training academies, and most criminal justice related jobs:
• Arrests for domestic violence, DUI/DWI, drug use & possession, felony & misdemeanor crimes (misdemeanor offenses may be agency dependent).
• Psychological impairment based on mental illness, drug – alcohol abuse.
• False statements on an application or background check.
• Violations of laws involving moral turpitude (NMSA 29-7-13 A (3) (b) specific).
• Credit history demonstrating lack of responsibility (agency dependent).
• Objectionable visible body art, body modifications or piercings (agency dependent).
• Failure to pass any job-related testing process to include but not limited to: written examination(s), oral interview board, assessment center process, physical fitness exam, background check, polygraph examination, psychological or medical examination.


What is the physical fitness exam? What do I have to do to qualify?
The New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Commission has established standards for all entering a certified law enforcement academy in the state. The Basic Peace Officer Training Physical Fitness (BPOT) Exam standards are setup and maintained by the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board in compliance with the NMLEA standards established under NMSA (1978) 29-7-6. (NMLEA Fitness Standards).

The test consists of the following physical assessments:
• Aerobic Power – 1.5 mile run.
• Anaerobic Power – 300 meter sprint.
• Muscular Endurance – Maximum Sit-ups in a minute.
• Upper Body Strength – Maximum pushups in a minute.
• Flexibility Sit & Reach – A flexibility assessment from a seated position.


What if I’m pregnant or plan to become pregnant?
The law enforcement academy program involves physical fitness defensive tactics and scenario-based training. The defensive tactics and scenario-based training will include throws, unexpected falls to the ground, handcuffing/takedowns and being struck by simulated kinetic impact devices. Participants will also be subjected to OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) spray, TASER and other forms of less than lethal devices during training. Additionally participants will have to engage in rigorous physical testing to include lifting and dragging a 180 dummy.  There is no exemption for this training.

Any health condition that may interfere with performance during the academy will require written permission from the attending physician to continue.   Students who are or who become pregnant during the program must have a release from the care provider managing the pregnancy stating that there are no restrictions on performance in order for the student to remain in the program.  Failure to report pregnancy or a health condition that could influence safe performance in the academy setting as soon as the condition is identified can result in dismissal from the program.  If the pregnancy has progressed to the point where the student cannot safely participate, they will be recycled for the next class or advised to enroll after the pregnancy is completed.            

Veterans

Is any consideration given to veterans’ status?
Yes, veterans have received training and experience in the areas of leadership, problem solving and weapons discipline. These individuals are typically preferred by law enforcement agencies for hiring and have historically been provided incentives to enter the law enforcement field.To this end, the written test is waived for veterans with a verified MOS/Rating identifier for Military Police, Security Police or Master–at–Arms, AFOSI, Army MPIS/CID, NCIS service on their DD form 214. Additionally veterans in general receive a step-ahead consideration for admission into the academy.


Will veteran’s education benefits pay for this training?

Yes, G. I. Bill benefits will cover the cost of the academy.  See your benefits coordinator for details.

How much does it cost to attend the academy?
As a student, you will have to seek admission to DACC and also pay tuition and credit fees generally associated with college courses. There are 33 college credits granted as a result of completing this program.

Costs are estimated as follows:

Pre-enrollment Costs  
Background Check $80.00
Psychological Assessment $300.00
Sub-total $380.00   


Pre-enrollment screenings are required to comply with New Mexico State and Federal standards associated with access to firearms. These costs are incurred by the applicant are not refundable.         

Estimated Direct Costs - Enrolled

Uniform / PT Gear $500.00
Track-Car / Driving Course1 
$155.00
Firearm   $530.00
Firearm Training Ammunition
$525.00
Application Fee $20.00
Tuition 4    
$1,536.00
Total:
$3,266.00
1 / 2 – Cost may vary based on marketplace or actual cost from vendor; firearms may not be covered by financial aid.
3 – Cost may fluctuate due to market demand and actual cost from vendor.
4 – Based on current (2012) rate of $64.00 per unit for in-district tuition .

If you have any additional questions please contact:

Richard DeRouen
Assistant Professor
Law Enforcement Academy Director
Doña Ana Community College
PO Box 30001 [3400 South Espina Street]
Las Cruces, New Mexico 33003-8001
(575) 528-7247
rderouen@nmsu.edu