Officers of the Salina Police Department will begin teaching classes at Salina South High School during the 2018-19 school year, under an agreement signed this week between the city of Salina and Salina Area Technical College.

Under the terms of the agreement, the city will provide two on-duty officers who will each teach five hours of classes weekly during the 2018-19 school year. Salina Tech will pay the city $3,600 per semester.

The police science classes the officers will teach are part of a new Public Safety Pathway being offered to juniors and seniors in the Salina school district. Students in this pathway also have the option of focusing on fire science, which will be taught by Salina firefighters.

While the classes are taught at South High, they are open to Central High students as well.

Students who complete the pathway will have earned at least 24 college credit hours through Salina Tech, as well as elective credits that count towards their high school graduation requirements.

The state will pay the students’ tuition for most of the classes through the Kansas Excel in Career and Technical Education programs. Under an agreement signed with the Salina School District in October, Salina Tech agreed to waive tuition for classes not covered by the Excel in CTE program.

Upon graduating from high school, students who pursue the Fire Science option and are 18 years of age will be eligible to take the state’s fire science certification test. Upon passing the test, they’ll be eligible to be hired as firefighters in Salina and elsewhere around the state.

Kansas requires law enforcement officers be at least 21, but graduates of the Police Science option will be able to work in other capacities, such as corrections officers. They will also be able to continue their education at Salina Tech, earning an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Police Science, which Johns-Hines expects the college to offer beginning in the spring of 2018.