Since George Floyd’s killing in Minnesota last May, police budgets in Texas and nationwide have come under fire as Americans across the country demand better accountability from local law enforcement.
And one of biggest items in any city budget is funding for the local police training academy. For example, the city of Dallas’ budget includes about $20 million just for the police academy and related training.
But that one demand among the many suggested to defund the police comes with dire consequences, says Rita Villarreal-Watkins, executive director for the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville.
“If you start looking at trimming training then you start compromising,” Villarreal-Watkins said. “I believe you compromise how that person can better serve that community.”
The practice of sending police officers to training through a local academy began in 1970 in Texas. They started with a 140-hour course. Now police officers undergo 643 hours of training she said. Today there are 114 police academies in Texas.
“By law, every police officer who is an officer in a community has to have attended a police academy,” she said.