LIVESTOCK EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATION FOR AGRICULTURAL LAW ENFORCEMENT (LECALE)
Stice, B., UF/IFAS Extension Polk County, Bartow, FL; Easterly, R., UF/IFAS Agricultural Education and Communication, Gainesville, FL; Hersom, M., UF/IFAS Animal Sciences Gainesville, FL; Jennings, E., UF/IFAS Extension Pasco County, Dade City, FL; Myers, B., UF/IFAS Agricultural Education and Communication, Gainesville, FL; Shuffit, J.M., UF/IFAS Extension Marion County, Ocala, FL; Weir, J., UF/IFAS Animal Sciences, Gainesville, FL; Wickens, C., UF/IFAS Animal Sciences, Gainesville, FL.
Situation: Many law enforcement agencies in Florida have dedicated law enforcement officers (LEOs) who respond to crime in agricultural areas, urban/rural interface issues, and potential livestock neglect cases. These LEOs have presented themselves as potential Extension clients with educational needs. Objectives: To develop and implement a training and certification program for Florida LEOs in the field of animal science to better prepare them to do their jobs. Methods: Participants are taught using a combination of classroom work and experiential learning sessions utilizing applicable equipment and live animals. Results: A pilot program was taught to a group of veteran LEOs in July 2014. Utilizing survey and focus group data obtained from pilot participants, the program was modified and taught in courses offered to a total of 60 participants in three deliveries of the program in 2015 and 2016. 94% of the participants passed the certification requirements of the program and overall knowledge was increased by 36%. Conclusion: Utilization of the LECALE program by Florida LEOs could result in a savings of nearly $2,500 per client compared to other national certifying services. The LECALE training program addresses Florida specific conditions and it will enable LEOs to do their jobs more efficiently and uniformly. The training will also equip LEOs with the ability to be vigilant for threats to our food supply system by natural and man-made causes. The accompanying certification program will add to the credibility of this clientele group when they present their testimony in a court of law and make difficult decisions in cases.
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