Peace Officers Academy

The Western Colorado Peace Officers Academy (WCPOA) is a State of Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified academy. Our academy prepares the student to pass all the required state examinations to become a Certified Colorado Peace Officer. This certification allows the graduate to work for a law enforcement agency anywhere in the state of Colorado.

peace officers

Upon completion of this rigorous one semester program, the graduate is awarded 31 college credits. Students may combine those credits with other Colorado Mesa University curriculum to earn an Associates of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice or a Bachelor of Applied Science Criminal Justice (POST Academy).

The WCPOA prepares individuals for careers as police officers, deputy sheriffs, parole officers, corrections officers, wildlife managers, probations officers, as well as careers in Federal and State of Colorado law enforcement agencies. One of Colorado's best academies, it was jointly founded by the Grand Junction Police Department, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office and the 21st Judicial District Attorney's Office. Each academy has up to 90 different instructors.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Illustrate communication and writing skills that are formal and professional in nature. (Communication Fluency)
  2. Apply mathematical concepts required of entry level law enforcement and criminal justice professionals. (Quantitative Fluency)
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking skills by evaluating and analyzing contemporary issues in law enforcement and criminal justice using knowledge of criminal justice concepts, terminology, and theories. (Critical Thinking)
  4. Demonstrate specialized and holistic knowledge of the Criminal Justice system and the law enforcement profession. (Specialized Knowledge)
  5. Demonstrate proficiency in basic skills required for entry level law enforcement and criminal justice professionals. (Applied Learning)
  6. Examine ethical standards and practices, specific to law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. (Specialized Knowledge)

Program Strengths and Student Outcome Data

  • Sixteen-week certificate program
  • Graduates are Certified Colorado Peace Officers eligible for hire anywhere in Colorado after passing POST exam
  • Academy graduates earn 31 college credits
  • This is the only academy in Colorado that articulates to AAS degree in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Applied Science Criminal Justice (POST Academy), and Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Safety/Public Administration
  • Exceeds the requirements set by Colorado Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST)
  • Utilizes adult learning models emphasizing real-world policing scenarios
  • For the past five years our students in the Western Colorado Peace Officers Academy (POST Program) have had a pass rate of over 98% on the final State certification exam. This final exam is administrated by Colorado Peace Officers Standards and Training, Attorney General's Office, State of Colorado. 

A Message from the Director

Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Approved


WCPOA Dates and Deadlines

WCPOA Application

Employment Opportunities

Fall 2018 Tuition and Fees

Decertifying Misdemeanors

Contact Information

John Piatanesi, Academy Director

Please also see more information about our Public Safety Diving program.

Emphasis/Degree Options


Peace Officer Standards and Training Program Sheet

»Associate of Applied Science

Criminal Justice Program Sheet
(31 credit hours earned)

»Bachelor of Applied Science

Criminal Justice (POST Academy) Program Sheet


Career Pathways

Career pathway programs prepare students for employment in industries while also providing a stepping stone to an associate degree, bachelor’s degree and beyond. Learn more about career pathways.

Career Pathways Certificate Length of Program
Police Officer Academy 1 semester (31 credits)

Gainful Employment

Criminal Justice (POST)- 43.0107

Career Options

Police and sheriff departments
State enforcement
Parole officer
Liquor enforcement
Wildlife enforcement