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CMU’s Montrose Campus celebrates the second class of WCLEA graduates

On the evening of September 15, The Montrose Pavilion hosted a ceremony filled with pride and achievement. This gathering marked a significant milestone for ten dedicated cadets who completed a rigorous 17-week journey at the Western Colorado Law Enforcement Academy (WCLEA) held at the Montrose campus of Colorado Mesa University. Their relentless dedication and hard work, along with the unwavering support of their instructors and the community, shone brightly on this memorable occasion.

WCLEA 2023 Graduates

Every graduate from this year’s class (pictured above) is going to work for a Colorado law enforcement agency, including the Montrose Police Department, the Montrose Sheriff’s Office, the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office, the Gunnison Police Department, the Gunnison Sheriff’s Office and the Frasier/Winter Park Police Department.

WCLEA Director and Professional Standards Sergeant Courtney Jones has worked hard to grow the program and to ensure the program is continuously improving.

“Since the first year, we have grown from six graduates to 10 and from three sponsoring agencies to six. We have increased the number of hours that involve scenario-based training and hands-on practice and plan to incorporate more of these learning tools in future academies,” said Jones.

Jones continued, “The academy began in mid-May and ran straight through to graduation, meaning cadets worked all summer and spent long days both in the classroom and at times training outside in the heat or those afternoon rainstorms. The heavy academic workload meant students spent many of their summer weekends studying or working on projects. We are the only summer police academy on the West Slope of Colorado giving law enforcement agencies in our region the opportunity to get a recruit through training much quicker than having to wait for the typical fall or spring semester academies.”

The WCLEA academy is made possible thanks to the help of approximately 45 instructors who are working professionals in law enforcement or emergency services. Among the agencies that support the program are the Montrose Police Department, Montrose Sheriff’s Office, Montrose Fire Protection District, 7th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Ouray County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division, Axis Health Systems, Dolphin House Child Advocacy Center and the WestCO Dispatch Center.

CMU Montrose Campus Director Steven Metheny highlighted the vital role that collaboration has played in the success of the WCLEA program.

“The summer academy is made possible by a strong partnership between CMU Tech, the City of Montrose Police Department, Montrose County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Mesa University,” said Metheny. “The WCLEA is a perfect match for some underutilized assets at the Montrose campus during the summer months, and through a strategic partnership with the City of Montrose and Colorado Mesa University, housing is made available to these cadets on campus.”

The Western Colorado Law Enforcement Academy is a State of Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified academy. Graduates from this program are well-prepared to excel in Colorado law enforcement agencies. This intensive one-semester program, which welcomes those aged 21 and above, leads to certification as a Colorado Peace Officer, granting graduates the ability to work in law enforcement anywhere within the state.

In addition, academy graduates earn 31 college credits, which can articulate to either the Associate of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice or a Bachelor of Applied Science in Interdisciplinary Studies at CMU.

The Western Colorado Law Enforcement Academy plays a crucial role in shaping the future of law enforcement in our region. It has produced highly trained and dedicated officers ready to serve their communities with distinction. The WCLEA represents a vital partnership between CMU and local law enforcement agencies, ensuring a safer and more secure future for all residents of western Colorado.

To learn more about the WCLEA, view program requirements or apply for next summer’s program, visit their program page.

Listen to Courtney Jones discuss why policing matters on a previously recorded CMUnow special edition podcast:

Colorado Mesa University · Sergeant Courtney Jones: Why policing matters


Written by Giff Walters