Volusia County sheriff pushing to create his own training academy

A Central Florida sheriff wants to take charge of training his own deputies. He says it's to make sure they're being trained the right way.

Like so many law enforcement agencies, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office uses videos like these to recruit deputies. But Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood says the old model doesn't work anymore, which is why he wants to create his own Volusia Sheriff Training Academy.

"My argument is why can’t we take the state curriculum and then infuse the things that important to us here at Volusia County in the Sheriff’s office?" said Sheriff Chitwood.

Currently recruits complete 770 hours of training at Daytona State College. If hired by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, they go through another 800 hours of training. Sheriff Chitwood is proposing cutting out the middle man and adding a focus from the beginning on skills he says are increasingly important in the light of the Black Lives Matter movement.

"There’s so much more that needs to be done. There is no de-escalation training. There is not implicit bias training. there is no cultural diversity training. There is no race and police training," said Sheriff Chitwood.

He says his office already has a state-certified range, driving course, classrooms, defensive tactics lab, and instructors. A regional board already approved the proposal unanimously.

"We can teach you all the other stuff but we want good people and we want to be able to evaluate them ourselves to be able to know if they’re going to make the grade. I think the timing is right. I think the time is right to turn the model over."

The Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission should have a decision about the new academy in February.