PCC, Pueblo Police Department partnership addresses officer shortage

PUEBLO – A partnership between Pueblo Community College and the Pueblo Police Department is helping place more officers into the community.

The PCC law enforcement academy recently celebrated the graduates of its 18-week spring program. Among the 18 graduates are seven new Pueblo Police Department officers: Marquez Berumen, David Calzadillas-Chavez, Gerardo Cortes-Gonzalez, Joey Hart, Haylee Hook, James Laney and Nathan Sais.

“I believe this partnership not only benefits the police department and the academy, but the citizens of Pueblo,” said Leroy Mora, director of PCC’s academy. “It allows for continuous training throughout the year for new officers, which will expedite filling the ranks of officers protecting our community. I am thankful to Chief (Chris) Noeller for his trust and confidence in our academy staff to train new officers.”

The collaboration long has been a goal of PCC President Patty Erjavec. Due to staffing shortages, the police department had difficulty scheduling its veteran officers to teach the cadets at its own academy. Discussions last year with Noeller and Capt. Zach Ballas, who leads training for the department, resulted in a plan for PCC to train police cadets during the school’s spring and fall academies. The police department will continue to operate its own academy during the summer. 

“The high-quality training provided by the PCC academy … allows us to bring highly trained officers into our department, which is obviously important to us,” Noeller said. “This, combined with Mayor (Heather) Graham’s temporary changes to the civil service process, has already increased the number of officers in our training pipeline to 19. We are at the highest staffing levels we’ve been in recent memory with 186 officers.”

“I am extremely pleased that PCC is able to respond to the police officer shortage in Pueblo by offering a quality law enforcement academy and our new alliance with the city,” said Erjavec. “It is our honor to contribute to this most noble of professions and to the health and safety of our community.” 

Other law enforcement agencies represented among the spring graduates are the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, Huerfano County Sheriff’s Office, Cañon City Police Department and Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office.

Pueblo Law Enforcement Academy Class of 2024


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