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History of the Justice Academy


The North Carolina Justice Academy is a division of the North Carolina Department of Justice. Created in 1973, the Academy’s enabling legislation establishes its duties as providing training programs for criminal justice personnel, providing technical assistance upon request to criminal justice agencies to aid them in the discharge of their responsibilities and developing, publishing and distributing educational and training materials. Program areas for these services are defined through the five centers of the Training Division: Legal; Law Enforcement Leadership; Commission/In-service; Tactical/Traffic; and Investigations. In addition, the Support Division operates the Learning Resource Center, conducts research, produces video and other graphic and printing services, coordinates institutional development and supports the campuses as a training environment for Academy courses as well as those of other state and local agencies.

The Academy’s eastern campus in Salemburg is situated on a site with a long educational history. Established in 1875 as Salem Academy, the campus has subsequently functioned as Pineland School for Girls, Pineland Junior College, Edwards Military Institute and finally Southwood College. The campus still utilizes the Blanchard Learning Resource Center, the Royal Classroom Building, the Jones Auditorium, a cafeteria and an office building from the Southwood campus. Added over the years have been a new classroom building and learning resource center, dormitories, an administration building, a support services building, a maintenance building, a new state-of-the art gymnasium, classroom additions, firearms ranges, a driving track and other practical exercise areas.

In September 1998, the Academy’s western campus opened in Edneyville. Later, in 2004, it was named the Larry T. Justus Western Justice Academy in honor of Representative Larry T. Justus. The western campus in Edneyville is located on the former site of the Edneyville High School complex. Renovations have resulted in modern classrooms, office space, a gymnasium, dormitory and cafeteria. A state-of-the-art indoor firearms range opened on campus in 2011. Both campuses have wireless Internet access and onsite computers for student usage.

In 2017, the Western Regional Crime Laboratory in Asheville moved into a new $15 million facility at the Edneyville campus. The crime lab performs blood-alcohol and toxicology tests, firearm analysis, DNA tests, and other services for western North Carolina law enforcement agencies.

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