SGTC criminal justice technology dual enrollment high school students learn about 4 divisions of law enforcement

Published 6:00 pm Friday, July 1, 2016

AMERICUS — South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) criminal justice technology dual enrollment students from Americus Sumter High South recently got the chance to speak directly with local law enforcement officers about the different law enforcement divisions. Several guest speakers with varying backgrounds in law enforcement visited the class, including those who work in corrections, criminal investigation, probation and parole, the CIA, GBI, and more.
“Hearing from the different divisions of criminal justice will help these students decide what they want to do in their future careers in law enforcement,” said SGTC criminal justice technology instructor Teresa McCook, who arranged for the guest speakers to talk to her corrections and criminal investigations classes.
Darren Godwin, who is retired from the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), was the first guest speaker and he advised the students about the vast and varied positions within the CIA. Assistant Chief Victory Dydell of the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, spoke to the students about his career as a probation/parole officer. Additionally, three representatives from Troop G, Post 10 at the Georgia State Patrol office in Americus spoke to the students about what it takes to be a trooper and/or dispatcher, including other opportunities within the state patrol. Those representatives included SFE R.E. Odom Jr., Sgt. Richard Peck, and Cpl. Allen Storey.
Sgt. Sean Henderson of the Macon State Prison gave students information about being a correctional officer in the state prison system, and Sgt. Colby Ray from the Georgia Department of Public Safety Motor Carrier Compliance Division, Region 5 in LaGrange also made a visit to the class. He talked to the students about what his division is responsible for in the state of Georgia and showed students photographs from accidents and traffic stops that the Motor Carrier Compliance officers had worked recently.
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Terry Howard from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) office in Americus explained what his agency does and the various roles that the GBI has in the law enforcement field.
McCook teaches the criminal investigation class at Americus Sumter High South, and Paul Farr teaches corrections. Both classes were combined for this week of guest speakers in order to give both classes the opportunity to hear about all the divisions of law enforcement and ask questions of all the officers.
“The textbooks we use in class are a great source of information, but at South Georgia Tech we’re all about hands-on learning, so I wanted them to learn about practical application and hear from those who were currently working in the field,” said McCook.
Each officer explained the career path they had taken to get to the position they were in today, and the things they liked best about their jobs. Many explained what their typical day in their current position looked like, and explained some of the responsibilities they had in law enforcement roles prior to their current position while they were working their way up the law enforcement ladder.
“This was a great opportunity for students to ask questions of these officers and gain a better understanding of which branch of law enforcement they’d like to pursue in their future careers,” said McCook. “They learned that there are so many different opportunities out there in our local city, county, state, and federal agencies. I’m thankful that these officers gave of their time to come and speak with our students.”