SGTC Law Enforcement Academy Class 20-01 completes POST certification

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, July 7, 2020

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) Law Enforcement Academy Class 20-01 began their training on January 6, 2020 and were expected to complete May 15, 2020. However, the cohort was halted in March due to the state-mandated shutdown related to the ongoing COVID-19 response. Nearly two months after their scheduled completion date, five cadets completed their cohort and were presented with their Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certificates of completion.

The SGTC Law Enforcement Class 20-01 will be invited back to SGTC on Friday, December 11, 2020 to participate in the scheduled graduation with class 20-02 to allow for the recognition of their accomplishments with their family and friends.

The graduates of SGTC’s LEA Class 20-01 included: Edwin D. Harvey, III of Colquitt, GA, sponsored by the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office; Yamilette Martinez-Rodriguez of Oglethorpe, GA; William D. McClanahan, Montezuma; Angela E. Sims of Plains, GA, sponsored by Sumter County Sheriff’s Office; and Grayson H. Watson of Sycamore, GA, sponsored by Ashburn Police Department.

“We started with a much larger class,” said Law Enforcement Academy Director Brett Murray, “but the interruption caused by COVID-19 and the uncertainty of when we would be able to restart and complete forced some cadets to drop out.  I hope that they will be able to commit to come back and complete at some point.  However, I am very proud of these five graduates who came back to finish up.”

SGTC was able to reopen its Law Enforcement Academy after meeting several criteria from the Georgia Post Council and the Technical College System of Georgia following guidelines from the state. These criteria were designed to establish an enhanced infection control protocol to better protect students and staff, while allowing the continuation of their training. Utilizing social distancing, masks and rigorous cleaning, along with a check in procedure twice daily, cadets and staff adapted to work towards their goal.

Three cadets were presented with class awards at the end of their POST certification training. William D. McClanahan was presented with the “Class Representative” award by Director Murray. He was selected by his peers for this award. Edwin D. Harvey, III, received the “Top Gun” award for excelling on the firing range and Grayson Watson earned the “Academic Achievement” award for having the highest class average.

In addition to the class awards, four students were recognized as scholarship recipients from class 20-01. Yamilette Martinez-Rodriguez of Oglethorpe and William McClanahan of Montezuma were presented with the Lt. Michael Sangster Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship.


Angela Sims of Plains was awarded the Lou Crouch Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship and Grayson H. Watson was awarded the Smallwood-Sondron 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.

The history of the SGTC Law Enforcement Academy began 12 years ago. SGTC 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, SGTC 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 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 will 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.