By Geena Martinez
FORT STOCKTON - A new police academy is coming to Fort Stockton and it's the first of it's kind here in the Permian Basin.
They're called to protect and serve.
"We saw a need not only for our department but for surrounding departments who need officers," Lt. Lisa Tarango, with the Fort Stockton Police Dept., said.
And getting enough officers can be a challenge.
"With the oil field like it is right now, a lot of people are working there instead of law enforcement," Lt. Tarango said.
Especially when police academies are limited but that's about to change in Fort Stockton.
The department is teaming up with Sul Ross State University to bring a new academy to town, one that offers night classes.
"That academy will take ten months long because it'll go just four nights a week for four hours a night," Lloyd Dragoo, Director of the University's Law Enforcement Academy, said.
That's a first here in the Permian Basin, Dragoo said their normal academy runs through the day and was only offered once a year.
He's hoping this will attract more applicants who weren't able to apply before.
"The only way for them to attend an academy would be a night academy because Monday through Friday from 8:00-5:00, they're usually in their regular full time jobs. I hope that we'll have on average 60-80 cadets who start the academy," Dragoo said.
Right now, the closest academies in the area are Midland/Odessa and Alpine.
Classes will be held at the local Midland College branch and state agencies along with Fort Stockton officers will be teaching.
Chief Art Fuentes said it brings a level of prestige to the department.
"It puts that officer at a whole different level," Chief Fuentes said. "Now he's an instructor, he has a responsibility to make sure that those cadets are trained right."
Something he said he couldn't be more proud of once classes start in August.
"To have the pride that an officer from our academy goes off somewhere else and Fort Stockton was a part of that success," he said. "How awesome is that?"