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 12-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. 


Justin Northway

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


Upon graduation from the Meridian-Nampa Joint Academy, new officers will be assigned to the Field Training Program. All entry-level officers will spend a minimum of 14-weeks in the Field Training Program, whereas the amount of time a lateral officer will spend in the Field Training Program is dependent upon their previous training and experience. During the Field Training Program, officers will gain hands-on experience under the guidance of a Field Training Officer. 

After successfully completing the Field Training Program, Police Officers will be assigned to the Patrol Division.







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