Joe Marble (left) and Michael Austin, SFSC Criminal Justice coordinators, with the Meritorious Award.

Joe Marble (left) and Michael Austin, Criminal Justice coordinators, with the Meritorious Award.

AVON PARK, Fla. – March 1, 2023 – South Florida State College’s (SFSC) Criminal Justice Academy was recognized for achieving a perfect audit through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) Criminal Justice Standards & Training Commission (CJSTC). As a result, Dr. John McLaughlin, director of SFSC’s Criminal Justice Academy, accepted a Meritorious Award on behalf of the College at the CJSTC annual meeting on Feb. 15 in Lake Mary, Fla.

SFSC was one of two training academies out of 42 in Florida that were recognized this year for a perfect audit. SFSC is now certified as a criminal justice training school through June 30, 2025.

“What the award means is that the SFSC Criminal Justice Academy has been recognized by the State of Florida as being one of the top academies in Florida,” Dr. McLaughlin said. “All of our instructors, facilities, and curricula go above and beyond the minimum standards set by the FDLE.”

FDLE auditors visited SFSC on three occasions during the 2021-23 academic years. “The auditors look at all of our files and financial records to ensure we are in accordance with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,” Dr. McLaughlin said. “They also check our equipment, classrooms, and training locations. They check our instructors’ training files and audit some of our classes.”

“We came through this audit with flying colors because of the efforts of the Criminal Justice team, which included Joe Marble, Criminal Justice coordinator; Michael Austin, Criminal Justice coordinator; and Shawn Haralson, Criminal Justice records specialist,” Dr. McLaughlin said.

Training facilities that do not meet minimum standards are given remedial steps to improve their facilities. Facilities that fail to make improvements are closed and can no longer run training academies.

SFSC offers programs in Criminal Justice Technology, Law Enforcement, Correctional Officer, and 9-1-1 Emergency Dispatcher. The College provides academy training for police certification and advanced training. It also trains officers who come to Florida from other states, allowing them to earn their Florida certifications.

For more information about SFSC’s Criminal Justice Academy programs, call 863-784-7280 or visit