This month, a program used statewide to train law enforcement officers celebrated 50 years. On December 7, the founders of the Northeast Alabama Law Enforcement Academy gathered to celebrate.

The program was established in 1972, a year after the Alabama Legislature created the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training (APOST) commission. The APOST joined with JSU to create a police academy, and the first class graduated on Dec. 6, 1972. Just this year, the academy held its 187th graduation ceremony.

The academy is located alongside JSU's Center for Applied Forensics on a former property of Fort McClellan. The academy has grown tremendously throughout the years and has added classes such as the Investigator Academy and the Center for Best Practices in Law Enforcement.

"Jacksonville State University wants to be known as the training capitol of law enforcement for the State of Alabama," said JSU President Don C. Killingsworth, Jr. "We acknowledge the need for initial and continued training for law enforcement, which is why we are investing in law enforcement training opportunities here at our university. JSU is proud to have served with the academy for the past half-century, and we look forward to another half-century."

Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett and the executive secretary of APOST Chief R. Alan Benefield, also joined in on the 50th-anniversary celebration.

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