Old Academy picture
The First Academy
The South Carolina Police Academy was created in 1968 when a $30,000 LEAP (Law Enforcement Assistance Program) grant was awarded to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).  Training at this new police academy was voluntary, devoid of monetary fees, four weeks in length, and held at SLED.  In order to attend this training, the candidate must have already been employed by a law enforcement agency.  The first class graduated from the South Carolina Police Academy in September of 1968.
New Academy picture
Present Day Academy
Old Driving Range picture
Driving Range Circa 1974
In 1972, classes began at the Academy’s present site.  There were only 186 beds and 260 classroom seats available at the Academy.  A 1.3 mile precision driving range was added in 1974.  In 1976 a log cabin bank was donated to the Academy and placed on the range.  During 1977/78, additions to the range included a repair garage and a classroom.  Also in the late 1970’s, several buildings were donated to the Academy by Ft. Jackson and were utilized as a practical problems village.

Practical Problems Village picture
The Practical Problems Village
Garage picture


In 1974, legislation facilitated the creation of the Criminal Justice Academy’s Hall of Fame.  In 1980, the Academy opened the doors of the Hall of Fame, which serves as a law enforcement museum.  After closing for renovation in 1999, a refurbished (and re-named) Hall of Fame opened in January 2001 as The Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame picture
Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame

Additional Dorm picture
Additional Dorm
In 1979, additions to the Academy facilities included a three-story dormitory wing and two-story office building.  The two-story office building contained a library and a teaching courtroom.  In the early 1980’s the Academy firearms range was completed, to include a shotgun range, rifle deck, and covered firing points with electronically controlled targets for handgun training.  Also, in order to accommodate the needs of purchasing, printing, and graphic arts operations, a 5,000 square foot pre-engineered maintenance support building was erected in 1983.
Firing Range picture
Indoor Firearms Range


The first Law Enforcement Task Analysis was developed and implemented in 1985 and subsequent task analyses have been based on this first initiative.  Job-Task Analyses for mandated training were conducted and completed by the Instructional Standards and Support Section.  These analyses included those for Basic Law Enforcement Certification Training, Basic Jail Certification training and E-911 Emergency Telecommunications Operator Training.  It should be noted that the E-911 Emergency Telecommunications Operator Training job-task analysis was the first of its type ever conducted in the State of South Carolina.  All three analyses were delivered to the Academy Administration on June 30, 2005.  The next series of mandated training job-task analyses are due June 30, 2010.
Several changes to the physical facilities of the Academy were implemented between 1987 and 1989.  Another 5,000 square foot pre-engineered building was constructed to house purchasing, printing and graphic arts operations, the dining area was increased by 4,000 square feet; a studio, microwave tower, and equipment building were built, as well as an Automobile Accident Reconstruction Building, which was later converted into a DATA Center for the Academy in 1991-92.
In FY 1988-89, revisions to the Training Act enacted a mandatory continued training provision whereby officers’ certification cards expire every three years and a specific number of in-service training hours are required during the three-year certification cycle.  In 1989-90, the Academy constructed a microwave tower and a television studio and equipment building to offer teleconferencing classes to facilitate continuous specialized and in-service training through ETV and DIRM Micro-wave systems.
In 1991 the Department of Youth Services donated additional land to the Criminal Justice Academy to begin the first phase of a parking lot that would eventually accommodate approximately 300 vehicles.
On January 1, 1992, the Criminal Justice Academy was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Occupational Education Institute which ultimately gave way to and was replaced by accreditation by CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Academies) in 1998.

Skid Pad picture
The Skid Pad

In 1993-94, Government Re-structuring was implemented and the Academy became a Division of the new Department of Public Safety.  In 1996 Data Master Certification and Recertification was assumed by CJA (from SLED) to train/certify over 4,000 officers at the time.  A skid pad and the Firearms Training Systems (FATS) were added to the range complex.

Data Master Machine picture
DataMaster Classroom
FATS picture


The CJA web page was developed and made available on-line in FY 1999-2000, entrance standards were developed for pre-employment assessment and a computer lab was equipped and networked to assess web-based training, on-line registration and self-paced training.



In FY 2000-2001, the Academy was awarded a grant for Advanced Drug Enforcement Distance Learning which enabled establishment of two interactive distance learning classrooms and computer labs to initiate the beginning of optional distance learning training delivery.  Upstate and Low country regional training sites were established at Greenville Tech and Horry/Georgetown Tech, which would later expand to include York County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, Mt. Pleasant Police Department, Myrtle Beach Police Department, &_Laurens Police Department.  A new disciplinary action procedure was developed for officers terminated for misconduct.  Also in 2000-2001, installation of a security system was initiated and ultimately activated in 2002-2003.  The Target System on Weapons Range #1 was replaced; to be followed by renovation and rewiring of the target systems on Range #4 and Range #2, respectively, in 2003-2004.

Distance Learning Lab picture
The Distance Learning Lab



In FY 2003-2004 a new Basic Law Enforcement Student Manual was developed and the Physical Abilities Test (PAT) procedure was approved and implemented.  Research, data collection and proposal for an alternative funding source was initiated.
In FY 2004-2005 Distance Learning Satellite Site Assessments were conducted at 5 locations: Piedmont Technical College, Mount Pleasant PD, Newberry County PD, Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and Charleston County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center.
In FY 2006, Regional training sites continued to be researched and implemented to accommodate and expand advanced and specialized training opportunities, and legislation was introduced and passed to separate the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy from the Department of Public Safety and to re-establish it as a separate agency.  In 2007, the Law Enforcement Training Council was appointed, re-established and oversight implemented.  A thorough, complete and detailed vision plan was developed and adopted by anticipation of the increasing current and future training needs to include classrooms, dormitories, and food service facilities.


The Village picture
The Village



FY 2008 involved a detailed review, evaluation and re-focusing of priorities and re-organization of programs, staffing, delivery and facilities to support the great demand for training.  Capital projects were again established as priority and special ear-marked funding approved.



FY 2009 kicked off as a landmark year and one of transition in the history and evolution of the Criminal Justice Academy.  Plans to construct a “Village Complex” with facilities to exclusively support and facilitate all Basic Law Enforcement classes were completed, staffing initiated and implementation begun as a result of the approved funding.  FY 2010 continued the momentum started in the previous year as ground was broken in February and construction began on the new “Village Complex”.  Simultaneously other capital improvement projects got underway to begin roof replacement and office renovation within the main building of the current facility.  Planning and development began in the expansion and upgrade of the Basic Law Enforcement Training program to 12 weeks (from 9) to hopefully coincide with the opening of the Village Complex in anticipation of an early completion in December 2010.  On-going effort in the transition and conversion to an upgraded law enforcement training automation system, implemented in 2008, was refocused and prioritized after being delayed by budget and technology issues encountered as CJA technology was separated from the Department Public Safety.  Ironically, budget cuts continued to be a reality in the state, at CJA and at the local law enforcement agencies as law enforcement jobs declined or were not filled and the demand for training eased in this period of economic recession.