Kent State University hopes to address the police officer shortage by expanding its police academy to Twinsburg, Ohio, this fall. Kent State’s Basic Peace Officer Training Academy, designated a STAR Academy by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, offers basic Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) training along with unique methods for pursuing a career as a police officer or corrections officer.

Kent State University Police Academy cadets practice defensive driving. “This is a great time to expand our training opportunities in Northeast Ohio,” said Jim Willock, director of the Kent State Police Academy. “Because of the dire need, departments are doing whatever they can to fill positions. The career opportunities, pay and incentives offered to cadets today were unheard of when I started in the 1990s.”

According to Willock, most cadets secure jobs by the time they complete their training and start out earning more than $70,000 a year. Some are reimbursed for their tuition and hired or sponsored while in the academy. The Kent State Police Academy offers undergraduate college credit in addition to state accreditation.

In a recent report, the Police Executive Research Forum found that retirements and resignations are putting pressure on staffing levels all over the country. From 2020 to 2021, officer staffing levels decreased by 3.48%, and resignations increased by 42.7% from 2019.

“We need good officers,” Willock said. “We hope that with a second location, we can double our efforts to help departments fill these positions.”

Kent State University Police Academy cadets learn defensive driving techniques.To become a police officer in Ohio, candidates must have a high school diploma or a GED diploma; possess a valid Ohio driver’s license; have no felony convictions (including felony convictions that have been sealed or expunged); and pass a drug screen, background check and physical fitness standards.

Fall part-time and full-time classes begin Aug. 19 at the university’s Trumbull Campus in Warren and a Twinsburg location at 1612 Enterprise Parkway, Twinsburg, near Kent State’s Twinsburg Academic Center. The application deadline for the fall semester is July 1, and the final physical training test is July 11. Spring classes begin Jan. 13, 2025.

If qualified, potential cadets can access federal student aid (by completing the FAFSA form) and scholarship opportunities.

For more information about the Kent State Police Academy, visit or call 330-675-7666.

To get started as a cadet apply today at