Richard Franklin awarded Smallwood-Sondron Law Enforcement Academy scholarship at South Georgia Technical College

Published 9:10 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021

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AMERICUS – Richard Franklin, II, of Americus, GA, was awarded the Smallwood-Sondron Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship at the conclusion of the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Class 21 – 02 training.  Franklin is joining the Americus Police Department.

Lou Crouch of Bryon endowed this scholarship for the South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) Law Enforcement Academy in memory of Peach County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Patrick Sondron and Daryl Smallwood.  The two deputies died in the line of duty in November 2016.

Franklin expressed his appreciation to South Georgia Technical College, the Law Enforcement Academy staff and Lou Crouch.  “I am so thankful for this scholarship,” said Franklin.  “Law Enforcement has always been a goal of mine. For years I have put off becoming a police officer due to family situations, distractions, lack of belief in self, finances and for jobs that paid a little more than law enforcement.  This scholarship is helping me accomplish my goal and continue my education.”

Franklin is the father of three children.  “I had my first child out of high school and I knew I needed a job to take care of my responsibility.  I went into the workforce without considering my goal.  Two years after that I had my second child and a year after that I had my third child.  This has always been my goal, but it took me a number of years to get everything together so I could consider a career in law enforcement,” said Franklin, who expressed his sympathy to the families of the two law enforcement officials who passed away in the line of duty.  “I hope I can make all of them proud through my service in law enforcement.”

South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford met with the members of the LEA class 21 – 02, and thanked them for their commitment and service.  He also had words of praise for Lou Crouch and his support of Law Enforcement and South Georgia Technical College. “I am very thankful to Lou Crouch for his support of the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy and the SGTC Foundation,” said Dr. Watford.  “His generosity is allowing you to have the opportunity to continue your educational and career goals.  I hope you serve in a manner that honors Lou Crouch and Deputies Smallwood and Sondron.”

South Georgia Technical College Foundation Executive Director Su Ann Bird congratulated the cadets and shared, “this scholarship and others are a tremendous help to the young men and women who are training to become public servants and work as law enforcement officers here in Georgia.  An investment in an endowed scholarship will continue to give back to students indefinitely.  We appreciate what Lou Crouch and others are doing for our students and our state.  The students he is helping today with these educational opportunities may be the public servants that we count on tomorrow in our local communities.”

Franklin said one of the driving factors to achieving his goal of becoming a law enforcement officer was his grandmother.  “Growing up watching the TV shows Cops, Matlock, and in the Heat of the Night with my grandma really is what started my interest at an early age.  After she passed away, I knew I wanted to return to her grave with a uniform on some day.  I can do that now.”

He said his grandmother may have been a driving force, but he also wanted to reach out to the people in his community.  “I want to have an impact on the next generation.  I would like to become a mentor.  Coming to this academy was by far the best thing I could have done to start my career and education,” explained Franklin.  “My next goal is to continue my education so I can continue to grow within this field.”

For more information about donating or establishing an endowed scholarship at South Georgia Technical College contact Su Ann Bird, SGTC Foundation Executive Director at 229.931.2110 or  Contributions may also be mailed to the SGTC Foundation, P.O. Box 6102, Americus, GA.

Individuals interested in attending the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy can contact the office at 229-931-2716 or contact Director Brett Murray at