DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Law enforcement agencies from all over the Wiregrass gathered for the opening of the new Wiregrass Law Enforcement Academy, which will provide incoming recruits with another place to gain their necessary training for the job.

In just about 6 weeks the inaugural class of the academy will begin their first day of class, a 14-week program so they can become certified as a law enforcement officer.

Law enforcement agencies around the Wiregrass now have the option of sending incoming officers to this academy in their backyard, to the Wiregrass Public Safety Center in Dothan.

“Our core goal is to provide your officers with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their duties effectively while fostering a sense of community and collaboration between our law enforcement agencies,” Dothan Police Chief, Will Benny said.

3500 first responders and civilians have visited the public safety center since it opened its doors from 43 different states and 6 different nations, but now that number will increase as the first class of incoming officers comes in May.

With instructors, the academy staff feels are right for the job.

“This is what we hope to instill in every trainee you send to us,” Director of the Wiregrass Law Enforcement Academy, Col. Jimmy Helms said. “Self-discipline, we believe they should be strong, we want them to be skilled, we want them to smart, we want them to be self-aware, and we want them to be safe.”

The classes for at least the first two groups of incoming officers will take place in the main building of the Wiregrass Public Safety Center, but in January of next year, the academy plan on operating out of another building at the complex.

“We have seen expansion and will continue to see expansion on our campus,” Dothan Police Captain, Rachel David said.

The first class at the Wiregrass Law Enforcement Academy will begin training on May 22nd.

The second class of recruits begins August 21st.

The academy hopes in the coming years to offer 3 classes of trainees per year