Ivan Bartos, Commander
5601 West Trails End Rd.
Tucson, Arizona 85745
(520) 623-5832



The Arizona Department of Corrections Training Academy (COTA) is located on 40 acres in the western foothills of Tucson, Arizona, west of Interstate 10. Visitors and students can reach the Academy using the I-10 exits at Speedway, Grant or Camino Del Cerro/Ruthrauff. Please connect to the DIRECTIONS link below for directions. COTA provides all pre-service training for Correctional Officers and serves as a state-wide training facility for in-service training including Tactical Services Unit training, Professional Development Program, Caseworker Academy, Sergeant's Leadership Academy, K-9 Academy and other special programs.

COTA is a vital resource at the local, state and national level for the law enforcement and private community, providing classroom and meeting space, as well as lodging. Twice yearly, COTA hosts a nine week K-9 academy. Department staff are experts in the field and train dual purpose canines (drug detection and handler protection) and Officer Handlers for Corrections, Sheriff and Police agencies from all over Arizona. COTA has hosted Spanish Immersion training for law enforcement officers from all over the country. COTA provides facilities for the U.S. Federal Probation Self Defense Training program and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Impact Weapons/Baton, Criminal Investigations Annual Officer Training and their Southern Arizona District Meetings. The past two years we provided classrooms, facilities and lodging available for the Drug Education for Youth (DEFY) camp, a joint initiative of the U.S. Military and local law enforcement agencies.

The COTA Campus

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Guest Rooms

The campus is a fully equipped state wide training center with buildings for educational and residential use.

Recently COTA remodeled 32 rooms to hotel standards. Using inmate labor and a small investment these upgrades have saved substantial state funds. State employees on travel status now stay at COTA at no cost. Guests may also eat at the academy at a much lower cost than daily per diem.

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Computer Learning Center

COTA has an auditorium with a seating capacity of 160. There are seven full sized classrooms, two seminar rooms that can accommodate 40 meeting participants each, and a full sized computer learning center with 14 work stations for students.



Campus Amenities

There is a gymnasium, and exercise facility as well as a one acre grass field and paved running track available for cadets, instructors and lodging guests. Instructors have access to the Internet, and their e-mail, from a Computer center.

COTA also has 195 rooms for residential Cadets and Class Advisors. Each Cadet dorm has a dayroom with TV and seating for group meetings and study. Residents are provided three meals daily in a modern dining facility offering a varied menu that Cadets residing on the campus are housed in student dormitories. They are provided three meals daily in a modern dining facility offering a varied menu that includes a full soup and salad bar.

State-of-the-Art COTA Academy

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Hands-On Training

COTA has a Prison Simulator wing on campus and it continues to expand. It is comprised of a fully furnished 6 bed inmate dorm, a property room, a detention cell and a standard inmate cell. The recent additions include a Main Control room and a sally-port with a walk-through scanner and electric gate. The wing is used for practical hands-on training and role-plays in a realistic prison setting. The Prison Simulator has a sound system that plays recordings made at the Arizona State Prison Complex at Eyman in Florence, Arizona. COTA training staff take on the role of inmates and they wear actual inmate clothing with simulated I.D.'s. This lends to the authenticity of the replicated prison environment.


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A new cadet class starts almost every other Monday at the COTA location.

The Academy also has regional locations operating at the Perryville Prison Complex as well as floating alternate locations. COTA classes typically have 35-45 students.     



COTA Staff

Training Bureau Administrator is located in Florence and manages a total of 56 full time academy and in-service personnel. COTA staff operates both the Tucson and regional academies as well as provides support for in-service training, agency wide departmental meetings and seminars, outside agency training and special initiatives. In-service training staff is located throughout the state at each prison complex, the academy and Phoenix Central Office. Academy staff is comprised of uniformed and non-uniformed specialties that provide classroom teaching, curriculum design and development, administrative support, purchasing, facility and hotel coordination, physical plant maintenance, personnel services, command oversight, instructor scheduling and support, payroll services and health and nursing needs. Inmates from a low custody level facility provide maintenance and hotel cleaning support. This outside work crew is monitored by a full time Correctional Officer. Instructors from ADC facilities around the state provide instruction in the classroom to supplement in-house trainers and bring subject matter expertise as well as a connection to our prison institutions throughout Arizona.

Challenging Courses

The academy is 7 weeks long. Generally, we have up to 8 different academy classes running at any given time, with a new class starting and one graduating every other week. Cadets look forward to educational challenges during their time at COTA as well as a unique opportunity to bond with other Correctional professionals and develop the esprit de corps so important to a team oriented profession like Corrections. We also accept cadets into the program from county jails and detention centers around the state. Cadets are assessed in six primary areas.

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1: Academics

The Academic portion is composed of education and skill building in nine functional areas including Ethics and Professionalism; Inmate Management; Legal Issues; Communication; Officer Safety; Applied Skills; Security, Custody and Control; Conflict and Crisis Management and Medical and Mental Health Issues. Cadets must pass a weekly academic exam with a minimum grade of 70%.



2: Physical Fitness

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Each cadet is required to participate in a physical fitness and wellness program consisting of aerobic, muscular and flexibility conditioning. Cadets must meet the 50th percentile level of physical fitness, as based on the Canadian standard of fitness.

3: Firearms Qualification

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Each cadet must demonstrate their ability to safely and accurately use the 9mm Glock, ADC service shotgun and 37 mm gas gun.

They must complete coursework in firearms use, target identification and discrimination, chemical agents and use of force.
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Each Class participates in several simulated Designated Armed Response Team drill. The academy has a fully outfitted DART locker and cadet's practice techniques using inert weapons against inmate role-players.


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4: Self Defense

Cadets receive instruction in and practice the application of unarmed self-defense techniques. Cadets must demonstrate satisfactory proficiency in this area, per a Standard rater's guide.



Image of Marching Students5: Professional Behavior

Cadets are expected to learn and model professional behavior. Emphasis in placed on exemplary dress, grooming and uniform maintenance as well as a positive attitude and active participation in learning activities. Cadets absorb the professional standards of the department through instruction and role modeling. Their behavior is observed, assessed and guided by staff.



6: Ethical Standards

Cadets are introduced to the ADC Code of Ethics. They learn that cadets (and Correctional Officers) are honest and do not lie or cheat. Cadets are actively encouraged to develop lasting bonds and friendships with their classmates at the Academy because we believe teamwork is so critical to success in Corrections. As part of encouraging this spirit of camaraderie, they are educated about the cultural diversity of the ADC workforce. They learn that ADC values diversity and that there is a zero tolerance for any acts or displays of discrimination.

COTA Graduation Ceremony

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Cadets participate in a formal graduation ceremony upon successful completion of the Academy. They are awarded their badges and sworn to the Correctional Officer pledge:

I do solemnly swear that I will uphold the constitution and laws of the United States of America and the State of Arizona, that I will perform faithfully and honorably the duties of the Correctional Officer and will accept, without reservation, the responsibility and trust placed in me by the Department of Corrections and my fellow corrections professionals.