By Connie L. Patrick, Director, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
On any given day, there are roughly 7,000 personnel at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) facilities across the nation. Of that number, roughly 3,000 are law enforcement trainees from across the country. A DHS shutdown would have a real impact on our ability to provide training to law enforcement officers and agents across the country to ensure that they have the skills they need to do their jobs, and keep our communities safe and secure.
To be clear, this would not just affect Department of Homeland Security (DHS) personnel. FLETC serves as an interagency law enforcement training organization for 95 agencies across the Federal government, such as the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Capitol Police, Pentagon Force Protection, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Almost 90 percent of FLETC’s partner organizations are non-DHS agencies. In fact, our law enforcement trainees come from every branch of government.
Without funding, we cannot provide the necessary training for state, local, rural, tribal, territorial, and international law enforcement agencies. Many of these agencies are small departments with limited budgets and personnel. They have difficulty acquiring training to meet their local law enforcement accreditation standards. A funding hiatus would prevent the necessary training for their personnel.
Our training centers would all be affected including our headquarters at Glynco, near Brunswick, Georgia, and facilities in Artesia, NM, Charleston, SC and Cheltenham, MD.
For each week that the FLETC remains closed, a projected average of roughly 3,400 officers and agents per week would be affected. All of the students currently residing at FLETC facilities would be sent home or housed off of the FLETC campuses. There would also be lost wages for several thousand local support service contract employees, including food services, custodial and grounds maintenance. This would also be an unnecessary burden on our employees, as well as for these agencies who would have to wait for their officers and agents to get the training they need before beginning their duties.
A delay in training would have impacts on the security of the nation’s borders, aviation security, protecting our nation’s leaders and diplomats, safeguarding the United States Capitol and other federal buildings, and other federal law enforcement activities.
If a budget is not passed, FLETC would be forced to suspend scheduled law enforcement training programs until funding is secured. We would attempt to reschedule all suspended training; however, there may be a point at which the FLETC cannot accommodate all of the training suspended in addition to the training scheduled for Fiscal Year 2015.
FLETC remains hopeful that Congress will pass a budget on time, so that we can continue to train the men and women who risk their lives every day to keep us and our homeland safe and secure.