Although Cecil County has taken on training their own corrections deputies, they don't plan to train their own patrol deputies.
"We're not going to do that," said Chief Deputy Gerald Widdoes. He said there are no plans to train patrol deputies or host an academy in Cecil.
The first contingent of new corrections deputies graduated from Cecil's new academy on January 17.
But getting to that point was a process.
According to Deputy Chief Widdoes, as the agency continues to progress, it has been the goal to create an academy at the Cecil County Correctional Facility. The goal of starting the academy came to fruition last April when the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission approved that Cecil County would operate an onsite training academy.
"A continuum of training for Correctional Officers is essential to maintaining an efficiently run facility," said Widdoes. "This should save us money in the long run. And this is more tailored to our agency."
To send a Correctional Officer to Sykesville for training costs $300 per officer. But travel expenses and lodging add an additional $1,200 per officer. Outfitting a corrections deputy costs $4,015.
The chief deputy said that the instructors in Cecil's Corrections Academy are current employees who take on the role of instructors in addition to performing their existing duties.
"It is more advantageous for us to hold our own academy. We do not have to send officers to Carroll County (a 90 minute drive each way). We also get the advantage of teaching specifically to our policies and procedures in our own facility. Our supervisors get to interact with the students and all parties get to know each other better in a training type setting," said Widdoes.
This academy will continue to ensure each newly hired correctional officer completes the mandated course for correctional officers within the required time frame as we have in years past. In the past, Cecil's correctional officers attended the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission at the Public Safety Education and Training Center in Sykesville.
"We do plan on opening up future academies to outside agencies and charge a minimal fee to cover expenses. We have to be audited by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission after our first academy but expect no issues based on conversations with the commission," said Widdoes. He also said he received an email from the training commission's deputy director complimenting Cecil's Corrections Academy.
Widdoes said a team of several people worked diligently to bring the academy plan to fruition. That included a training coordinator, recruiter/standards coordinator, and the operations commander, all of whom are employed at the correctional facility.
In 2010, the Cecil County Correctional Facility, underwent a renovation and expansion providing adequate classroom and program space. During this time, the staff allocations were expanded which allowed for a full time training coordinator position and a training team. The training team consists of general instructors as well as others who specialize in the areas of defensive tactics, first aid, CPR, and firearms.
"We still have openings for Correctional Officers and those interested can apply by going to the Cecil County government website," said Widdoes.