Kam Baker receives South Georgia Technical College’s Lt. Michael Sangster Law Enforcement scholarship

Published 3:55 pm Monday, May 16, 2022

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) instructors stress the importance of getting a good education in addition to the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification.  SGTC LEA 22-01 graduate Kam Baker took those words to heart.  He will now have the opportunity to continue his pursuit of a degree in Criminal Justice with the Lt. Michael Sangster Law Enforcement scholarship.

Kam Baker was one of six graduates in the SGTC Law Enforcement Academy Class 22-01.  He overcame personal hardships to persevere and earn his Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification.  He was also selected as the recipient of the Lt. Michael Sangster Law Enforcement Scholarship for this class by the South Georgia Technical College Foundation.  Baker also earned the Top Gun and Top Academic Awards for having the highest academic average in the class as well as the best performance on the gun range.

The 26-year old cadet revealed he started his introduction into what would be his law enforcement career at the age of 19 when he started working in the Department of Corrections.  “Throughout my time working in the prisons, I was trying to find what I wanted to do in life and I didn’t see that as the first and last place I wanted to spend my career so I worked and put my time in and left in good standing.

“Afterwards, I moved on to the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office and applied there as a Jailer.  I figured I would be able to prove myself as a jailer and hopefully be moved onto what they called, ‘The Road,’ which means becoming a Sheriff’s Deputy, said Baker.”

After working at the jail for some time and trying to provide himself, Chief Deputy Fred Cole sat him down and asked him point blank, “what do you want to do with this department, Kam.”  Baker replied, “I want to be a Deputy.”

The Coffee County Sheriff’s Department sponsored him at the Police Academy in Tifton but Baker was only able to complete seven of the 11-week program.  The Department offered to send him back to the same academy again, but Baker said “I was not in the right mindset at the time and decided to leave.”

He went through a series of security jobs but felt like he was missing something.  He decided he needed to go back and earn his POST certification.  Baker searched online and found the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy and started the process of enrolling and becoming POST certified.  He completed his mission and is now able to achieve his dream of landing a job on ‘the Road” as a deputy.

Even with his POST certification Baker revealed that “I plan to further my education while I am working in the department and try to be a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.”

Baker is the 20th Lt. Michael Sangster scholarship award recipient at South Georgia Tech. Lt. Michael Sangster was an officer with the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office and served as a volunteer instructor for the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy from the inception of the program.  He lost his battle with cancer and passed away in 2012 at the age of 35.  With the help of family, LEA students, friends, SGTC faculty and staff, and Lou Crouch, a scholarship was endowed in his memory for SGTC LEA students.

Michael Sangster of Cordele held numerous POST certifications, including General Instructor, Firearms Instructor, Defensive Tactics Instructor, TASER Instructor, and Driver Instructor.

Lt. Sangster was born in Dooly County but spent most of his life in Cordele. He was the son of Robert Sangster, Sr. and Connie Sangster Youngblood.  He has a sister, Melissa Sangster and a son, Caleb.

“On behalf of South Georgia Technical College and the South Georgia Technical College Foundation, I would like to thank the Sangster family, Lou Crouch and the other individuals who donated to this particular scholarship for partnering with us,” said South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford.  “We appreciate the opportunities that this scholarship is providing for our deserving Law Enforcement Academy students.   Your investment in an endowed scholarship will continue to give back to our students indefinitely.  We appreciate everything you are doing for our students and our community.  Thank you again for recognizing the value of the educational opportunities and for supporting this effort.  The students you help today will be the public servants that we count on tomorrow in our local communities.”

For more information about making a donation to the Lt. Michael Sangster Scholarship Fund or for endowing a scholarship at South Georgia Technical College, contact Su Ann Bird, SGTC Foundation Executive Director at 229.931.2110 or sbird@southgatech.edu.  Contributions may also be mailed to the SGTC Foundation, P.O. Box 6102, Americus, GA.

The South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy program currently 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.

Beginning Fall Semester 2022, the SGTC Law Enforcement Academy will be condensed into an 11-week program.  Students will also receive college credit towards an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice.

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 bmurray@southgatech.edu.