Police dog standing next to his handler

A K9 police officer with his dog.

The Colorado House and Senate last week approved a bill to establish a scholarship fund for rural and small jurisdictions to fund police academy attendance and training for their recruits.

A $1 fee on vehicle registrations generates revenue for the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board to support law enforcement training. In fiscal year 2018-2019, there was $5.2 million raised.

“Right now there are too many small-town programs that are struggling,” said Sen. Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village, one of House Bill 1229’s sponsors. “No matter their ZIP code, those who are dedicating their lives to protecting our safety need to be invested in.”

The POST Board currently awards training grants that cover tuition, lodging, travel, instructor fees, supplies and equipment. The money may also go toward simulators and ammunition for use during training.

Existing grant programs award funds by region or by department. The new grant program, subject to available money, would require officers who received tuition funding to work at a small or rural agency for three years.

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