Eight Cadets Graduate from SGTC Law Enforcement Academy
Class 19-02 of the South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) recently completed 18 weeks of intensive training to earn their POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certification. The eight cadets in the class were awarded their certifications in a ceremony on the Americus campus of SGTC in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center. A large crowd of family, friends, law enforcement officials and others were on hand to show their support.
Class 19-02 consists of Andrew Tyler Emmons of Perry, Dillon Tyler Hanners of Perry, Jalen Lynn Johnson of Leesburg, Kevin Letravious Kendrick and Kevon Detravious Kendrick of Leesburg, Monteze Edward McCall of Bainbridge, Samantha Cherie Smith of Columbus, and John Robert Webb of Andersonville.
For the cadets, the ceremony marks the end of their basic training and the beginning of their professional careers in law enforcement.
SGTC President Dr. John Watford welcomed the cadets and attendees, and stressed the importance of the occasion and the value of law enforcement in American society. “The only thing that stands between everything we hold dear and total chaos is law enforcement,” Watford said. “When we celebrate and honor these men and women today, it’s a serious thing. It’s sobering that they choose their profession because they care about our society and the communities they live in.”
Following the welcome, Cadet John Webb offered the invocation and led the room in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. LEA Director Brett Murray then offered a class overview of the attendees and relaying the intensity of their coursework.
SGTC Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Vanessa Wall then introduced the guest speaker, Southwestern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lewis Lamb.
Lamb spoke to the complexity of a career in law enforcement and the importance of relationships to ultimate success. “You are going to have to rely on the people around you,” he said. “Your best resources are going to be other law enforcement officers. And you need to support and encourage them.” But he also stressed that the most valuable characteristic for success is personal credibility. “Credibility comes from competence and integrity – are you good at your job, and are you honest? Can people believe you and trust you?”
Lamb encouraged to the cadets to hold on to their personal integrity and hold both fellow officers and themselves accountable.
Following Lamb’s remarks, scholarships and awards were presented to the top students in the class.
Cadet Monteze McCall was awarded the Lt. Michael Sangster Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship; The Lou Crouch Law Enforcement Scholarship was awarded to Cadet Jalen Johnson; and Cadet Samantha Smith received the Smallwood-Sondron Law Enforcement Scholarship.
The Smarr-Smith Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice Scholarship was awarded to current law enforcement officers April Cosby and Mathew Pearce.
Awards went to Cadet John Webb (Top Gun Award and Academic Achievement Award) and Cadet Monteze McCall who was chosen by his classmates to receive the Class Representative Award. McCall then delivered remarks on behalf of his fellow cadets.
“As I look at my fellow classmates, I cannot help but to reflect on our time here at the academy,” McCall said. “Our family-like bond became even stronger as the weeks went on. We knew that success was a process and failure was not an option.” McCall went on to speak of the challenges of both the classroom and hands-on training, and he thanked all the people who supported himself and the other cadets during their time at the academy.
After McCall’s remarks, President Watford and Brett Murray presented the cadets with their certificates, and Cadet Andrew Emmons closed the ceremony with a benediction.
South Georgia Tech is one of six technical colleges in Georgia that are allowed to provide training for new law enforcement officers to receive their basic law enforcement training and obtain college credit at the same time. The cadets undergo 18 weeks and over 700 hours of intense training mentally and physically.
The LEA graduates received their POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certification from South Georgia Technical College as well as a technical certificate of credit that can be utilized toward a diploma or Associate Degree in Criminal Justice.
The Law Enforcement Academy program takes 18 weeks to complete and most recruits qualify for the HOPE Grant and other forms of financial aid. Admission standards require all students to undergo a thorough background check and adhere to all rules as set forth by the state POST Council. Students will also have to meet minimum scores in English, reading and math.
For more information about the Law Enforcement Academy contact the Law Enforcement Academy office at 229.931.2716 or SGTC Law Enforcement Academy Director Brett Murray at 229.931.2756.
Photographs from the event can be found on the South Georgia Tech website: www.southgatech.edu; as well as on Lou Crouch’s website: Picturesbylou.com