Three Smarr-Smith Criminal Justice scholarships awarded at South Georgia Technical College

July 14, 2020
Shown above (l to r) are Amneh Laursen, Chris Owens, and Monteze McCall who were awarded the Smarr-Smith Scholarships at South Georgia Technical College.
Shown above (l to r) are Amneh Laursen, Chris Owens, and Monteze McCall who were awarded the Smarr-Smith Scholarships at South Georgia Technical College.

Americus, GA – Three POST certified Criminal Justice Technology students were awarded the Smarr-Smith scholarship recently.  The three students will be officially recognized at South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Class 20 – 02 graduation ceremony scheduled for December.

   Amneh Laursen of Albany, Timothy Chris Owens of Leesburg, and Monteze Edward McCall of Bainbridge were each selected to receive the Smarr-Smith scholarships from the South Georgia Technical College Foundation.

    The Smarr-Smith endowed scholarships at South Georgia Technical College were created in memory of fallen Americus Police Officer Nicholas R. Smarr and Georgia Southwestern State University Campus Safety Officer Jody C. Smith.  The endowments were created by the Smarr-Smith foundation, private individuals, and an anonymous donor.  Both Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith attended the criminal justice program at South Georgia Technical College.

   Amneh Laursen is a Patrol Lieutenant with the City of Camilla Police Department.  She has been employed with that organization since December 25th, 2015 and worked her way up from a Patrol Officer due to her dedication, hard work and fantastic attitude wrote Camilla Police Chief John Hendricks when he recommended her for the scholarship.

    “Mrs. Laursen is one of my most dependable officers always going beyond the call of duty.  She is consistently working to uplift and help those around her, both her fellow employees and the citizens of Camilla,” said Chief Hendricks.  “When Mrs. Laursen informed me that she planned on attending college again, I encouraged her in every way I could.  She did an excellence job of balancing her college work and professional career.  She is very deserving of this scholarship.”

   Laursen graduated from the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy in December of 2012.  “I put off going back to school with poor excuses, until January 2020, when I made the decision to finish my Associates degree in Criminal Justice from South Georgia Technical College.  After graduation I plan to work toward my bachelor’s degree.

   “I am so appreciative to the Smarr-Smith families for the opportunity to compete for this scholarship,” said Laursen.  “I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve my community and I believe that finishing my degree will help me to be a better officer and it will also help me to help our community.”

   Timothy Chris Owns of Leesburg, was also selected to receive the Smarr-Smith Scholarship.  Colonel Chris Owens is a member of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and he is also a Certified School Safety Specialist, Senior Instructor, and Director of Training and Special Operations.

   “Thank you for allowing me to apply for this scholarship,” said Colonel Owens.  “The creation of this scholarship, though it was because of a tragedy, has a meaningful purpose for students.  I am a non-traditional student and I am so appreciative of the opportunity to come back and finish my associate degree.”

   Colonel Owens also thanked his family and the instructional staff at South Georgia Technical College’s Law Enforcement Academy and Criminal Justice program.  “They are huge motivators and I am thankful for their encouragement along the way.”

   Monteze Edward McCall was the third individual to be selected to receive the Smarr – Smith Scholarship from South Georgia Technical College.  He worked with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office for three years before he enrolled in the SGTC Law Enforcement Academy and came back to finish up his Criminal Justice Associate Degree.

   “It is my distinct honor and pleasure to highly recommend Monteze McCall for the Smarr-Smith Scholarship.  Deputy McCall has been an exemplary Law Enforcement Officer for the past three years.  He left our employment to attend the Police Academy on his own without pay.  We rehired Deputy McCall because of his community spirit, dedication, and professionalism.  A college degree is going to be very beneficial for him and will help further his career as well as help our community,” said Major Wendell E. Cofer, Chief Deputy Sheriff of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office.

    South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford thanked the Smarr and Smith families and others for their support of this scholarship. “We all regret that this scholarship opportunity had to come at the expense of the lives of two outstanding South Georgia Technical College students and law enforcement officers,” said Dr. Watford.  “Our hearts will continue to go out to the family and friends of Officers Smarr and Smith.  But it is our prayer that this gift will assist other POST certified officers who wish to continue their education. We hope that the fine men and women who earn these scholarships will honor the memories of Officers Smith and Smarr through their service to our citizens and that the memory of Nick Smarr and Jody Smith will continue to live on through the lives of these scholarship recipients.”

    Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith, both attended the South Georgia Technical College Criminal Justice Program.  Smarr attained his Associate of Applied Science Degree in June of 2011 and became a certified law enforcement officer in 2012.  Jody Smith had attended South Georgia Tech in 2010 and had returned in 2016 to begin completing his Criminal Justice associate degree.

   Thirteen Smarr-Smith scholarships now have been awarded since the scholarships were endowed.  Charles Kinnamon and Adam O’Neal were the first two scholarship recipients. King W. Mitchell, Antoinette L. Johnson and Emerson R. Lundy were the second three recipients. Dalton Lee Windham and Cora K. Baker were awarded the scholarships in December 2018. Brandon Glover, April Cosby, and Matthew Pearce were the Smarr-Smith scholars in 2019 and now Amneh Laursen, Chris Owens, and Monteze McCall have joined them as 2020 scholars.

   For more information about making a donation to the SGTC Foundation or endowing a scholarship at South Georgia Technical College, contact Su Ann Bird, Executive Director of the SGTC Foundation and Vice President of Institutional Advancement at 229.931.2110 or  Contributions may also be mailed to the SGTC Foundation, P.O. Box 6102, Americus, GA.   Additional donations can be added to the Smarr-Smith Scholarship fund and all donations will be recognized and shared with members of the Smith and Smarr families.