Lower revenues from South Carolina traffic fines affecting police academy training budget

S.C. Criminal Justice Academy (WCIV)

You get stopped for speeding, go to court and pay a fine.

Do you know where your money is going?

ABC News 4 has learned that part of your fine pays for police training and fewer dollars are coming in at a time officials want to expand training to keep up with other states.

The South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy provided us with these numbers.

For fiscal year 2017, the criminal justice academy took in just over $6.7 million in fees and fines.

But in 2008 that number was over 9.2 million, a drop of over 27 percent in 9 years.

We wanted to find out why.

Director Jackie Swindler says one reason is officers are writing less tickets.

Last year a 5 dollar fee was phased out, as well. The state stepped in with 3.4 million to offset the loss. But Swindler says that's still not enough.

"I don't whine and I don't complain. I don't care to argue or debate, I need it to be stable," says Swindler.

Swindler says 61% of of the SCCJA's funding comes from fees and fines from citations. With that money down, Swindler is tightening his belt.

"I-Pads is something we would like to try we just don't have funding for it", says Florence McCants, of the SC Criminal Justice Academy

People hoping to become officers go through a 12 week training at the academy. Swindler wants that extended to 15 weeks, but says without the funding, the odds are low.

"The national average is 18 weeks for an academy, so we are a little bit less." says Swindler.

But Swindler says he's taking one more shot and asking the state for money to expand training.

State Rep. Wendell Gilliard (D-Charleston) says funding should be a priority and that officers should be well trained and equipped.

But right now Gilliard says there is nothing on the table to change funding.

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