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The twelve-week model of the traditional police academy is a prevailing subject of reform debate, cited as an inadequate model of training which lacks sufficient education on modern-day policing. In response to the growing need for change in law enforcement training, the University of North Georgia’s Public Safety Academy (PSA) was founded in 2015 as the United States’ first-ever, four-year police academy where individuals earn basic law enforcement certification concurrent with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. In its seventh year of operation, the PSA stands as a trailblazer for a new age of police training. Since the program’s inception, law enforcement agencies and universities across the United States have reached out with interest in beginning four-year police academies at their institutions. However, the PSA recognizes a new challenge not previously seen by traditional academies: a pattern in withdrawal rates during the first two years of PSA membership. Because the PSA is the first academy of its kind, no established research exists on identifying specific attrition factors unique to the four-year police academy. This research project establishes preliminary research and data on PSA recruit-initiated withdrawal rates by collecting survey responses and identifying methods for retaining its current members over four years. It also forms the basis of a continuing project and future steps towards addressing those factors that specifically contribute to PSA attrition rates. Findings indicate the potential existence of PSA-specific attrition factors, which may affect its lower graduation rates compared to traditional academies. The results also highlight possible solutions to address the attrition factors of community and engagement, supported by data from students who have voluntarily withdrawn from the program, current students, and graduates of the PSA program.


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  • Alternative title
    • The Four-Year Police Academy

  • Thesis grantor
    • University of North Georgia Honors Program

  • Date submitted

    21 August 2023

  • Qualification level
    • Honor's/Undergraduate

  • Keywords