New reimbursement program encourages longevity in law enforcement careers

In an effort to encourage Utahns working in criminal justice to lengthen their careers, Senator Karen Mayne sponsored legislation during the 2017 Legislative Session to incentivize educational advancements in the criminal justice industry. The Peace Officer Career Advancement Reimbursement program provides up to half of tuition and fees (maximum of $5,000) per qualified student annually.

The reimbursement program is funded by the legislature and administered at no cost by the State Board of Regents for tuition reimbursement for students enrolled in criminal justice related programs at a Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) institution, available for up to eight academic years. If qualified total applicant awards exceed available funding in any given year, awards will be reduced evenly across all qualified applicants, maintaining that the minimum designated amounts for particular rural counties are met. Detailed rules for this program are outlined in Utah Board of Regents Policy R613.

The Legislature appropriated $200,000 annually to the program, prioritizing ongoing $50,000 to 3rd & 4th class counties, $24,000 to 5th & 6th class counties. The Board of Regents may reduce the amount of the award as a result of insufficient legislative appropriations.

Qualified applicants must be:

  • a certified peace officer, currently employed by a Utah law enforcement agency,
  • employed by a Utah law enforcement agency as a certified peace officer for three consecutive years prior to the completion of the academic year for which he or she is seeking reimbursement, and
  • employed by a Utah law enforcement agency as a certified peace officer for one additional year after the completion of that academic year.

The 2017 application will allow for reimbursement to criminal justice students who were enrolled during the 2015-2016 academic year, defined as July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, who meet program requirements. Applicants may submit applications beginning July 1, 2017, after the post-enrollment work component is complete. 2017 applications are due by November 1, 2017 to be considered and must be postmarked or received by the criminal justice department at the institution by the application deadline.