In the State of Idaho, all Police Officers must complete or challenge the POST Basic Patrol Officer Certification course within a year of being hired with a law enforcement agency. In 2019, the Meridian Police Department and Nampa Police Department collaborated to conduct the first Meridian-Nampa Joint Patrol Academy at the Public Safety Training Center in Meridian. Conducting a Joint Patrol Academy allows both agencies to structure the training cycle to align with both departments' cultures and policies, while also ensuring new officers learn the necessary skills and knowledge it takes to become a certified Police Officer in the State of Idaho. 

At the Meridian Police Department, all new officers - both entry level and lateral - are required to attend the Joint Patrol Academy. Entry level officers will attend the full 17-week academy, whereas lateral officers may attend the modified 10-week academy (depending on previous training and experience). 

The Meridian-Nampa Joint Patrol Academy is conducted with a focus on education, and is not conducted as a military style, stress-discipline academy. During the academy, new officers will spend time in the classroom learning about criminal law and department policy, receive firearms and Less than Lethal weapons system training, learn Defensive Tactics skills, participate in physical training, and be evaluated on their application of learned material through written examinations and practical scenarios.



Tara Smith

Sergeant Tara Smith joined the Meridian Police Department in 2004 after receiving a degree in Education from Utah State University. She initially worked in the Patrol Division, where she was a Field Training Officer for several years. In 2012, Sergeant Smith was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division as a General Crimes Detective. In 2016, she was promoted to Sergeant and returned to the Patrol Division until 2019, when she was given the opportunity to assist with the creation of the Meridian-Nampa Joint Patrol Academy. Sergeant Smith currently serves as the Academy Coordinator for Meridian, as well as manages the day-to-day training needs of the department. 

Training Officer
James Case

Training Officer James Case has been with the Nampa Police Department since 2006 and has an associate degree from Elizabethtown Community College in Kentucky.  During his law enforcement career, Officer Case has worked in Patrol, Special Investigations and most recently, the Training Division.  Officer Case was the primary Nampa specialist in the creation and coordination of the Meridian-Nampa Joint Patrol Academy in 2019.  Today, Officer Case serves as the Academy Coordinator for Nampa.

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Brian Lueddeke

Jason Cantrell

Sgt. Jason Cantrell has 22 years of Law Enforcement experience, 21 of them have been with the Nampa Police Department.  Sgt. Cantrell's previous assignments have included Patrol, Field Training Officer, Narcotics Investigator, and gang investigator for 14 years, Patrol Supervisor and School Resource Officer Supervisor.  Sgt. Cantrell has been an entry team member on the Tactical Response Team for 19 years and is currently assigned as the Tactical Team Commander.  Sgt. Cantrell is currently assigned as the Training Division Supervisor.

Corporal Lueddeke attended San Jose State University through 1993 and majored in Criminal Justice.  He has worked for the Meridian Police Department since 2003 with his current assignment as a corporal in the Office of Professional Standards. Having been a Field Training Officer for 13 years, Corporal Lueddeke now serves as part of the Meridian-Nampa Joint Patrol Academy cadre.  Corporal Lueddeke joined the training academy with 16 years of SWAT experience, 8 of which as a sniper.  Corporal Lueddeke is a master instructor for Excited Delirium and In Custody Death Prevention.  Corporal Lueddeke also instructs Sniper Marksmanship and Tactics, Firearms, Defensive Tactics, Carotid Control Hold, Building Searches and Active Shooters.  


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Training Officer
Justin Northway

Training Officer
Tavita Messenger

In 2007, Officer Northway joined the Meridian Police Department. For the first ten years of his law enforcement career, he worked as a Patrol Officer and Field Training Officer. As a Field Training Officer, he enjoyed teaching and instructing new police officers. In 2017, Officer Northway became a Detective and served in the Criminal Investigations Division for approximately two years. In 2019, he had the privilege of being selected to become our department’s first Training Officer, where he currently works and assists with department wide training and instructing at the Meridian-Nampa Joint Police Academy.

Officer Messenger joined the Meridian Police Department in 2016 with 2 years of prior law enforcement experience with the Twin Falls Police Department.  Officer Messenger worked as a Patrol Officer and was later selected to be a Field Training Officer and Meridian Police Department Instructor.  He has a passion and aptitude for raising up the next generation of officers which made for a seamless transition to the Meridian-Nampa Joint Patrol Academy as a Training Officer in September of 2021.  Officer Messenger also serves on the Recruiting Team searching for quality individuals with a desire to serve in the Meridian community.







MONDAY-FRIDAY:  7:00 AM - 5:00 PM