AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice.

– Law Enforcement Code of Ethics

By Lieutenant Tory Kornblum

Interested in a challenging and exciting career serving your community as a peace officer? The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Law Enforcement Training Center Basic Academy (LETC) is a 26-week law enforcement academy. Started in 1946, the LETC is the longest running regional training program in California and has been in partnership with Los Medanos College (LMC) since the College opened in 1974. Over the years, the program was managed by several agencies and institutions. In 2002, the Office of the Sheriff took over full management of the training center. The recruits accepted into the Basic Academy are either hired by a law enforcement agency or selected as a “non-affiliated recruit” or student. A non-affiliated recruit is chosen by the academy staff based upon the results of a written test (PELLET-B) and an oral interview. Non-affiliated recruits are responsible for their own tuition and other associated costs.

Once accepted into the Basic Academy, recruits are expected to consistently perform at the standards set by the academy staff. Recruits are given four written exams on 42 learning domains, from California laws to ethics and community relations. Minimum passing scores range from 80% to 84%.

The academy recruits are required to participate in a rigorous Lifetime Fitness program that pushes them to improve and maintain their physical and mental fitness throughout their law enforcement careers. Recruits should enter the academy with a high level of physical fitness. The paradigm of physical fitness training at the LETC is functional and job-relevant. The dominant training modality at the academy is High-Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.).

In addition to mental and physical tests, the recruits will be expected to master the technical skills of firearms operation, defensive tactics, and emergency vehicle operation. An experienced staff of firearms instructors educates the recruits on manipulation, safety practices, and the firing of handguns and shotguns. Defensive tactics instructors train the recruits in the art of control holds, handcuffing techniques, gun take-away and retention, electronic weapons, and baton strikes. The instruction is physically demanding and requires the recruits to demonstrate mastery of each technique during a test.
At the end of the 26 weeks, provided the standards have been met and all of the required tests passed, the recruit will graduate with a Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Basic Academy Certificate. Through the partnership with LMC, each recruit will also earn 25 transferable college credits. The LETC is considered one of the finest law enforcement training academies in the nation. By employing excellent instructors and placing an emphasis on the success of the recruits, the Basic Academy at the Contra Costa County Law Enforcement Training Center produces graduates and professionals that are second to none!

Additional information about California Peace Officer employment opportunities and hiring standards is available on the California P.O.S.T. website at   Information about the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Law Enforcement Training Center is available at or at