Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Basic Law Enforcement Academy utilizes a versatile fusion of comprehensive classroom instruction and interactive, hands-on training to ensure that the next wave of law enforcement officials are successful at maintaining safety and peace out in the field.
It is widely known that one of the first steps in becoming a law enforcement official is to complete training at an academy. What separates the GNTC Basic Law Enforcement Academy from many others is that it is college-based, which means that students who complete the program receive 42 hours towards a GNTC associate’s degree in Criminal Justice in addition to the required police training.
The academy, which opened back in 2009, features a classroom curriculum that is built upon a foundation of learning constitutional and state law, and how local, state and national government functions. The goal is to provide students with a firm understanding of where laws are derived from, how they are applied and how to properly enforce them.
The class, which is comprised of 10-24 students, receives focused instruction using live actors and other visual tools and simulations to learn how to handle situations that involve active shooters, warrant service, vehicle pull-overs, criminal interrogation, crime scene investigation and domestic disputes and disturbances. Emergency vehicle and tactical weapon training are also integrated into the program.
Participants are also expected to improve interpersonal skills and practice correct arrest, crime scene and court procedures. The curriculum is reinforced by the certification requirements of the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (P.O.S.T).
“We just try and expose them to any situation they might encounter in a controlled environment,” GNTC Basic Law Enforcement Academy Coordinator Jonathan Parker said. “We want to make the program as realistic as we can make it.”
According to Parker, the academy also incorporates its active relationships with many local and state law enforcement agencies, who send specialists in different fields to share in-depth knowledge and experience with students.
“We have a specialist from the GBI that comes and teaches crime scene investigation and preservation who also trains investigators on the state and national levels,” Parker said. “It’s important to provide them with a real-world perspective from knowledgeable experts that are very good at what they do.”
The academy typically runs anywhere from 19-22 weeks, depending on the time of year. The minimum length of a P.O.S.T. program is typically 400 hours, however, GNTC’s academy clocks in at around 700 hours, allowing for more intensive vehicle and firearm training.
Upon completion, participants become Georgia P.O.S.T. mandated officers, which instantly qualifies them to be hired by most law enforcement agencies in the state of Georgia. At that point, they can choose to tack on additional training in order to join more specialized agencies, such as the Georgia State Patrol.
With those 42 college credit hours complete, students can also continue pursuing a GNTC associate’s degree in criminal justice, which requires 60 credit hours.
For those intending to work with a sheriff’s office, the academy also offers a 40-hour program through the Georgia Sheriff’s Association that works as a professional development program to better prepare students for that line of work.
The academy’s results speak for themselves.
Parker notes that out of the last five or six graduating classes, all but small handful of participants have been hired right after graduation. He shared that the program provides a simple avenue to getting a job in one of the most in-demand markets.
“What we are seeing now is a lot of vacancies in many local law enforcement agencies, so there really is a lot of demand right now,” Parker said. “This program produces great students and great officers, and I think it’s a perfect way to get a career started in this field.”
The academy’s next class is slated to begin on May 25, and is currently finished accepting applications. However, the next class is set to begin next January. For those interested in enrolling, contact Delores at 706-378-1728 or come by the academy’s office to see what you need to do to begin the application process.
For more information on the academy, check out the GNTC Basic Law Enforcement Academy Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/oldgsp105/?ref=br_rs.