The Carter County Commission on Monday approved a contract between the Sheriff’s Department and International Academy of Public Safety to provide continuing education to the 65 people working for the department. According to the contract, curriculum will be made available by the end of October.

“You can never receive enough training,” said Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant, who asked commissioners to approve the $10,000 contract that can be extended annually for up to nine years with no additional cost.

IAPS is a North Carolina-based company that provides public safety agencies with continuing education in law enforcement, forensic sciences, and fire and rescue, according to its website. Bryant said he met the company’s founder and CEO at a recent Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association gathering and learned about the company and its education program.

After Cleveland County, Carter County is only the second county in Oklahoma to contract with IAPS to provide additional training, according to Bryant. He said the new curriculum will be in addition to training currently provided by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training .

The training to be provided is for all employees, including the department’s support staff, and will be personalized to the individual’s job title. “Everyone from my maintenance side all the way through the detention side, my office staff all the way up to my field deputy side, will be able to receive training,” Bryant said.

According to a copy of the contract approved by commissioners, IAPS will implement 183 hours of online education and will provide textbooks for employees to use. Bryant said the lessons received by his staff will be a mix of computer-based and classroom-based lessons. The curriculum is also accredited, meaning those who successfully complete training may receive college credits.

If the program proves effective, Bryant said he would like to see the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association endorse it for the remaining 75 counties across the state. 

Along with the new training contract, Bryant said his staff is also receiving additional mental health training. CLEET requirements include two hours of mental health training each year, but Bryant wants to ramp up the number of hours. “We try to pinpoint exactly what side of mental health we need to work on, so we’re working with DHS and behavioral medicine to try to figure out what we can do,” Bryant said. 

In other business, the commission:

• approved 11 crossings for Select Energy Services;

• approved advertising bids for five county properties.