South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Class 22-01 completes POST training
South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Class 22-01 completed their training and were presented with their Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certificates of completion in an in-person graduation ceremony in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on the Americus campus.
The graduates of SGTC’s LEA Class 22-01 included: Kam Chase Baker of Broxton, Lekeitha Majors Ellison of Butler, Kyjuan Shikee Hudson of Ashburn, Marvin Smith, IV, of Americus, Javarise Jamele Terry of Americus, and Charittie Faith Walker of Arabi.
Mark Scott, Chief of Police of the Americus Police Department, was the featured graduation speaker. He has been with the Americus Police Department since March 2016. Prior to that he served six years with the Albany Georgia Police Department as a Deputy Chief of Police and completed a 20-year career with the Thomasville, Georgia Police Department.
Chief Scott congratulated each of the cadets and told them they had just completed a major milestone but reminded them they are actually just getting started on their careers. “The challenge now is to take what you have learned in class and put into practice,” said Chief Scott.
He also shared with the graduates and their families that even though positive comments about law enforcement may be rarely seen or heard on social media and in the news, young children still list policeman or fireman in the top 10 of what they want to be when they grow up, just like many years ago. In fact, he acknowledged that being a police officer came in right behind super hero. “Kids still respect what we do. People need positive role models who will protect others and I challenge you today to be that kind of officer.”
Two cadets from Class 22-01 were presented with class awards at the end of their POST certification training. Kam Baker of Broxton was awarded the Top Gun and Top Academic Awards for having the highest academic average in the class as well as the best performance on the gun range. Javarise Jamele Terry of Americus was selected as the Class Representative and chosen to present some remarks on behalf of the class.
In addition to the class awards, four students were recognized as scholarship recipients from class 22-01. Kam Baker was presented with the Lt. Michael Sangster Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship. Charittie Walker was awarded the Smallwood-Sondron Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship, Marvin Smith, IV, received the Lou Crouch Law Enforcement Scholarship and Lakeitha Majors Ellison was presented with the Chief Vanessa Wall Scholarship.
Two SGTC Criminal Justice students were also recognized with Smarr-Smith Scholarships. The POST certified officers returned to college to earn their associate degree in Criminal Justice. The students recognized were Alisa Colwell and Jacqueline Teresa Miller.
Cadet Javarise Terry thanked all the members of his class and their families, the Law Enforcement Academy instructors and staff as well as the entire faculty, staff, and administrators at South Georgia Technical College and the members of the Law Enforcement Academy Advisory Board and other officers.
“When we first came to the academy, we all had to answer one question,” said Terry. “Why do we want to become police officers? Most answered to help someone or to impact our community. We have all been tested mentally and physically over the past 18 weeks. Yesterday we were cadets. Today we are officers. We need to all be ready to answer the call to serve and protect our communities. But we are also called to be change makers in our community. I congratulate each of my fellow classmates and challenge you to be positive change makers.”
After each cadet was presented with a technical certificate of credit as well as an SGTC Law Enforcement coin and their POST certification award, Major Brett Murray, Director of the SGTC Law Enforcement Academy congratulated each student and also challenged them to go out into the world today and be the change they want to see in their communities.
SGTC Vice President of Academic Affairs David Kuipers welcomed the cadets and their families to the graduation. Cadet Marvin Smith gave the Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance. David Kuipers and Brett Murray made the presentation of the certificates and Cadet Lakeitha Ellison provided the benediction.
The history of the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy began 14 years ago. South Georgia Technical College was selected as one of six technical colleges in Georgia in August 2008 to participate in a pilot program that would allow new law enforcement officers to receive their basic law enforcement training at a state technical college and obtain college credit at the same time. By becoming a regional training center for POST certified Law Enforcement Officers, South Georgia Technical College has been able to provide support to local and regional law enforcement agencies as well as provide additional training opportunities for students interested in entering the Criminal Justice field.
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 SGTC Law Enforcement Academy program currently takes 17 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.
Beginning Fall Semester 2022, the SGTC Law Enforcement Academy will condense its training to 11-weeks, which is in line with other POST certified training academies. Recruits will still undergo intense mental and physical training as well as be awarded college credit toward an associate degree in Criminal Justice.
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.