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Pierce Co. jail officer completes academy training

Pierce County Sheriff’s Department Jail Officer Jeremy Lewis receives his certificate and congratulations from CVTC Law Enforcement Academy Director Eric Anderson at the Academy graduation in Eau Claire Dec. 17. Lewis is now certified as a law enforcement officer in Wisconsin, a step toward qualifying for patrol work for the Sheriff’s Department. Submitted photo

EAU CLAIRE — Jeremy Lewis has not yet spent an evening patrolling the highways and responding to calls for the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, but there's every reason to believe he can handle the stress of law enforcement patrol duty.

Lewis, a jail officer for the department for about four years, just completed training through the Law Enforcement Academy at Chippewa Valley Technical College. Prior to that, he served 13 years in active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, having tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and Southeast Asia. He left with the rank of gunnery sergeant.

Being a law enforcement officer in Wisconsin takes a great deal of training. The Academy graduates need to complete 60 hours of college credits to qualify. Many go through CVTC's two-year Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement program, or through a university or other technical college.

CVTC Associate Dean of Emergency Services Eric Anderson said the 720-hour academy instructs the recruits in six areas: policing in America, tactical skills, patrol procedures, legal context, relational skills and investigations. Completion of training at a Law Enforcement Academy is required to become certified as a law enforcement officer in Wisconsin. However, officers can start work with a department before completing the training.

The Academy was Lewis' second experience at CVTC. He previously completed CVTC's Jail Academy, becoming qualified as a jail officer.

"I just thought law enforcement work fit my background," Lewis said. "And I like giving back to the community."

The Sheriff's Department sponsored Lewis' attendance at the Academy. That's a prized position to be in for an Academy student. Most students enroll on their own, and at their own expense. Those sponsored by an agency not only have their employer pay, but have a job waiting for them when they finish.

"A lot of people start in the jail and move to patrol. It's kind of a natural progression," said Lewis, who is originally from Hammond and now lives in Ellsworth with his wife and three children.

Lewis is not necessarily moving into a patrol position immediately. He has to wait for an opening, but is now licensed as a law enforcement officer and ready for the department's internal patrol training program.