Chief Mark Scott speaks at SGTC Law Enforcement Academy graduation

Published 7:32 am Sunday, May 28, 2017


AMERICUS – Americus Police Chief, Mark Scott, was the speaker at the South Georgia Technical College’s (SGTC) 20th Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) graduation recently. Seven graduates of the SGTC Law Enforcement Class 17-01 were recognized and received their Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Certification at the ceremony.
The graduates of SGTC’s LEA Class 17-01 included: Larry James Bennett of Vienna; Chandler Ridge Buchanan of Cuthbert; Marcus Allen Ford of Leesburg; Christopher J. Gaddy of Ellaville; Michael Johnston of Americus; Charles Hale Kinnamon of Americus; and Quinntin Ja’Colby Mann of Americus.
Chief Scott, who was appointed Chief of Police for the Americus Police Department in March of 2016, congratulated each of the cadets for completing the police academy and for their willingness to serve in the Law Enforcement profession. He also challenged them to take everything that they have learned and put it into practice.
“Our community needs heroes,” said Scott. “We need men and women with integrity who can be strong role models to the thousands of children who don’t have one. As police officers, we must be the heroes in our community for the people we serve. We must care and be worthy of the trust they put in us. We must be accountable, have integrity and work together to provide the quality of life, we all seek.  We also must have the support from our families and our community. Be a hero.”
A tremendous crowd of law enforcement officers, family, and friends of the graduates were on hand for the ceremony where Dr. John Watford, SGTC President, welcomed individuals to the event, and recognized the cadets and their families as well as the individual law enforcement agencies and individuals at the graduation ceremony.
Following Chief Scott’s speech, SGTC Law Enforcement Academy Director, Brett Murray, and SGTC Dean of Academic Affairs, Vanessa Wall, presented special awards to the cadets. Cadet Kinnamon was presented the Academic Excellence Award for receiving the highest grade average for the class and the Top Gun Award for excelling on the firing range. Cadet Gaddy was selected by his classmates to serve as the Class Representative and made remarks to the crowd on their behalf.
Cadet Gaddy thanked the instructors, administrators, and family and friends for their support. “We came in as a team and we worked together as a team,” he said. “This is a profession that we have all chosen. It was an 18-week process and it laid a foundation for our careers. Thank you, South Georgia Technical College, for this opportunity.”
Three students were recognized as scholarship recipients from class 17-01. Kinnamon was presented with the Lt. Michael Sangster Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship. Lt. Sangster’s mother, Connie Sangster Youngblood, his sister, Melissa and his father, Bob, were on hand to make the presentation with Director Murray.
Mann received the Lou Crouch Law Enforcement scholarship.  Watford and Murray presented that scholarship award and the Academy’s newest endowed scholarship in memory of Peach County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, Patrick Sondron and Daryl Smallwood, who died in the line of duty in November 2016. Gaddy was the recipient of the first Smallwood-Sondron Scholarship. The scholarship was endowed by Lou Crouch of Byron. He was unable to attend the event but members of the Peach County Sheriff’s office and Patrick Sondron’s wife, Melissa, and sons, Jacob and Ethan Sondron, were at the event.
Bennett gave the invocation for the program and led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Mann closed the program with the Benediction.
South Georgia Tech is one of six technical colleges in Georgia that are allowed to provide instruction for new 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 mental and physical training.
The LEA graduates received their POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certification from SGTC 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 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; or SGTC Dean Academic Affairs Vanessa Wall in Americus at 229.931.2713.
Photographs from the event can be found on the South Georgia Tech website:; and the South Georgia Technical College Facebook page.