Deputy sheriff training program welcomes state’s 50th class in May

April 29, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For more than 15 years, county sheriffs from Pennsylvania’s 67 counties have turned to the Penn State Justice and Safety Institute (JASI) for providing the necessary skills and training for newly hired deputy sheriffs.

Penn State JASI will welcome the 34 members of its 50th class of deputy sheriffs for the start of the 19-week Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff Education and Training Program beginning on Tuesday, May 2. The residency program, held in State College, provides expertise in several law enforcement areas, including Pennsylvania crimes codes and civil procedures, cultural diversity, ethics, firearms, first responder/first aid, defensive tactics, courtroom security and physical training.

Steve Shelow, Penn State JASI director, said the 50th class of cadets highlights the program’s ability, under the direction of Bob Stonis, longtime associate director of law enforcement training programs, to deliver quality training.

“When the academy began 15 years ago we wanted to ensure we were delivering the type of product you would expect with the Penn State name being associated with it,” said Shelow. “There was gradual recognition that deputy sheriffs needed to have more focused training to do their jobs well. JASI provides that expertise structured within a higher education environment with tough academic rigor.”

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) selected JASI to administer the training in 2000 and, since that time, JASI has graduated more than 3,000 cadets from its basic, 19-week program and its two-week waiver program. JASI contracts approximately 50 part-time instructors — law enforcement officers, judges, industry professionals — for the four-month program, and newly hired deputy sheriffs must satisfactorily complete the training before beginning active duty.

Don Numer, the commission’s training supervisor for the sheriff and deputy sheriff training program, says Penn State JASI provides the state with an invaluable resource.

“JASI has shown great commitment to the program and is always seeking ways to improve the curriculum,” said Numer. “The training focuses on deputy sheriffs keeping themselves and other people safe as they deal with potentially serious incidents and consequences. JASI’s commitment to curriculum and presenting information in the most retainable ways has been critical.”

Centre County Sheriff Bryan Sampsel, an alumnus of the program, says the training program helps cadets prepare for their daily responsibilities.

“The facilities and training are fantastic, and I’ve learned a lot from the civil and criminal aspects of it,” said Sampsel, who graduated from the training in 2004. “You can see the transformations in deputies from when they start to when they finish the program. I’ve seen a 100 percent change in their confidence and abilities to do their jobs.”

For more information on Penn State JASI, which partners with Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Public Affairs, visit

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 29, 2016