Indian Affairs | Training

Training 

The Indian Police Academy at FLETC

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Office of Law Enforcement Services (OLES), Indian Police Academy (IPA) is the preeminent national law enforcement training academy for Federal and Tribal law enforcement programs in Indian Country. The mission of the IPA is to develop and provide law enforcement training and technical assistance to Federal and Tribal law enforcement organizations and their personnel. All training programs are designed to meet Indian Country law enforcement standards, employee development, and organizational improvement.

The IPA is co-located with the Department of Homeland Security at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Artesia, New Mexico. Academy staff provide basic police, criminal investigation, and detention coursework. In addition, the academy offers numerous advanced training courses such as child abuse investigation procedures, community policing, use of force, firearms instruction, archeological resource protection, police management and supervision, crime scene processing, detention, and dispatcher training courses for both tribal and Bureau law enforcement officers.

All IPA training programs are predicated upon maintaining the highest standards, honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness. These concepts incorporate the community policing elements of developing partnerships, problem solving, and organizational improvement. The IPA is a progressive training organization that promotes innovative adult learning techniques that will allow students to achieve their personal and organizational goals and objectives.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN:    Prior to 1968, availability of police training for tribal officers was extremely limited. While a few state police training academies granted access to BIA and tribal officers, there was a long wait. At the federal level, candidates faced a wait of up to three years for admission to the FBI academy. Consequently, actual job experience and on-the-job training, supplemented with limited formal in-service instruction, were the dominant forms of Indian law enforcement training and education. These limitations precluded effective, professional law enforcement services from reaching the Indian people. The U.S. Indian Police Training and Research Center had its beginning as the U.S. Indian Police Academy established at Roswell, N.M., on the site of a former Air Force base on Dec. 17, 1968. The program was designed for the training of BIA and tribal law enforcement officers, qualified potential Indian Police Officers, and other law enforcement personnel working on or near Indian reservations. The basic program soon expanded to provide specialized training on an “as needed” basis for police officers, supervisors and managers, juvenile officers, criminal investigators, and jail personnel. By 1971, the academy was involved in assisting and/or conducting field in-service training as necessary for specialized subjects through short duration training sessions. 

The academy was operated during this period by the Bureau’s division of Judicial, Prevention and Enforcement Services, through a contract with the Thiokol Chemical Corporation. Fiscal administration was provided by a resident coordinator from the Employment Assistance Division of the Office of Community Services, while Thiokol administered the program with instructional staff drawn from local, state, federal and tribal agencies, as well as universities and private firms. 

In 1973, the functions of the police academy were relocated to the Inter-mountain, Inter-tribal School campus, Brigham City, Utah, as an operation of BIA’s Central Office, Division of Law Enforcement Services. The Division of Law and Order, Research and Statistical Unit, established in 1970 at Pierre, S.D., was also reassigned to the Brigham City campus and the two units were combined as the Center for U.S. Indian Police Training and Research. In 1979, the Center was removed from the Division of Law Enforcement Services and assigned to the Office of Technical Assistance and Training.

On Oct. 15, 1984, the academy opened in Marana, Ariz., under auspices of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC). Then, in January 1993, the BIA OJS became a participating organization of the FLETC and the academy was moved to its present location at the FLETC in Artesia, N.M. Basic Criminal Investigator Training is conducted at the FLETC in Glynco, Georgia. In 2011, OJS recognized the need to expand the IPA to include a satellite office in Albuquerque, N.M., for export and in-service training related to non-FLETC providers like the United States Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice, and other contractual Indian Country specific export training venders. The BIA OJS has also established an additional regional training site in partnership with the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, N.D. This training site is used to conduct advanced and outreach training programs and has a full-time Indian Police Academy training sergeant assigned to the college. Together the three training sites conduct basic training for police, corrections and telecommunications, along with advanced training opportunities for BIA and tribal public safety personnel. (Courtesy of the FLETC Journal and Dr. John Chavers)