Continuing its commitment to assisting law enforcement officers reach their goals, Columbia College has teamed up with the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association (MSA) as a preferred education partner for candidates advancing through police academy with the MSA.

“Columbia College offers students in law enforcement many avenues to pursue an education, and we’re proud to partner with the MSA,” said Patty Anderson, associate director of business development in the Columbia College Marketing office.

In order to become a police officer after graduating from the MSA academy, many law enforcement agencies require applicants to have completed at least 60 credit hours from an accredited college, or 30 or more credit hours along with two years of service as a federal active duty military member or as a full-time certified peace officer. As part of this new partnership, the MSA recommends its cadets attend Columbia College during their time in the academy, while the college offers a quality education at an affordable price, along with perks such as the Partners in Law Enforcement (PILE) program.

“Well-trained and educated individuals tend to be better law enforcement officers,” said Kevin Merritt, training director with the MSA. “We are excited about our partnership and the ability to offer our academy graduates a true career path to success.”

The PILE program awards up to 24 hours of academic credit for students who have completed a qualifying police academy such as the MSA’s, which provides for a quicker path to a degree and could help save thousands of dollars in tuition. Columbia College’s Criminal Justice Administration and Human Services Department allows students to pursue an education in criminal justice administration, forensic science and human services, offering such concentrations as corrections, counseling, law enforcement and more.