South Georgia Technical College’s Miller and Colwell awarded Smarr-Smith Criminal Justice scholarships

Published 3:42 pm Monday, May 16, 2022

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – South Georgia Technical College Criminal Justice Technology students Alisa Colwell and Jacqueline Teresa Miller were awarded the Smarr-Smith Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice scholarship recently by the South Georgia Technical College Foundation.

The Smarr-Smith endowed scholarship at South Georgia Technical College was created in memory of fallen Americus Police Officer Nicholas R. Smarr and Georgia Southwestern State University Campus Safety Officer Jody C. Smith.  The endowment was created by the Smarr-Smith Foundation, private individuals, and an anonymous donor.  Both Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith attended the criminal justice program at South Georgia Technical College.


Lt. Teresa Miller of the Crisp County Sheriff’s office also received the Smarr-Smith Criminal Justice Scholarship.
Photo by SGTC

Lt. Jacqueline Teresa Miller is a career law enforcement officer, currently employed by the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office.  She began her law enforcement career in 1989 as an officer with the Dougherty County Police Department.  In 1999, she accepted a position with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office and in November 2000 came to work as an entry-level investigator with the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office. In 2017, she was assigned as Chief Investigator with the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office and holds the rank of Lieutenant.  She manages a team of nine in investigations.

Alisa Colwell of Albany, is also a veteran law enforcement officer.  She has been in this field for approximately 17 years and is currently employed as a Civil Court Division Deputy with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

Both Colwell and Miller enrolled at South Georgia Technical College to earn a Criminal Justice Associate of Applied Science degree.  Colwell attended the South Georgia Technical College Americus campus and worked with Criminal Justice instructor Teresa McCook.  Lt. Miller enrolled at the SGTC Crisp County Center campus and worked with Criminal Justice Instructor Wanda Bishop.

“Alisa Colwell s is a great student.  I am very proud of her and I appreciate how hard she works,” said Teresa McCook, SGTC Americus Criminal Justice Instructor.  “She is exactly the type of student that this scholarship was meant to help.”

Sumter County Sheriff Eric Bryant recommended Colwell for the scholarship.  “She has always shown impeccable work ethics and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to help wherever needed within our organization.  She has plans to further her career in Law Enforcement by utilizing her leadership skills to move through the ranks.  I believe her dedication to this profession and years of experience will benefit our community and help her obtain her goals to continue to protect and serve the citizens of Sumter County.”

SGTC Crisp County Center Criminal Justice Instructor Wanda Bishop felt that Lt. Miller was an excellent choice for the Smarr-Smith Scholarship because of how important education is to her.  “She is an excellent student and I was pleased to nominate her for this honor,” said Bishop.

Crisp County Sheriff H.W. “Billy” Hancock also recommended Lt. Miller for the scholarship.  “Lt. Miller is most deserving.  I have had the pleasure of watching Teresa grown in her personal life as well as her career.  She has dedicated her life to the citizens of Crisp county and surrounding counties.  She has worked countless hours investigating crimes, reviewing evidence, and preparing case files for prosecution.  She is self-motivated and always exceeds the required annual training hours.  She has a contagious ‘get it done’ attitude.”

South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford thanked the Smarr and Smith families and others for their support of this scholarship. “We all regret that this scholarship opportunity had to come at the expense of the lives of two outstanding South Georgia Technical College students and law enforcement officers,” said Dr. Watford.  “Our hearts will continue to go out to the family and friends of Officers Smarr and Smith.  But it is our prayer that this gift will assist other POST certified officers who wish to continue their education. We hope that the fine men and women who earn these scholarships will honor the memories of Officers Smith and Smarr through their service to our citizens and that the memory of Nick Smarr and Jody Smith will continue to live on through the lives of these scholarship recipients.”

Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith, both attended the South Georgia Technical College Criminal Justice Program.  Smarr attained his Associate of Applied Science Degree in June of 2011 and became a certified law enforcement officer in 2012.  Jody Smith had attended South Georgia Tech in 2010 and had returned in 2016 to begin completing his Criminal Justice associate degree.

Twenty-one Smarr-Smith scholarships have been awarded since the scholarships were endowed.  Charles Kinnamon and Adam O’Neal were the first two scholarship recipients. King W. Mitchell, Antoinette L. Johnson and Emerson R. Lundy were the second three recipients. Dalton Lee Windham and Cora K. Baker were awarded the scholarships in December 2018. Brandon Glover, April Cosby, and Matthew Pearce were the Smarr-Smith scholars in 2019.  Amneh Laursen, Chris Owens, Monteze McCall, Cedric Smith, Chandler Buchanan and David Rueda-Fierros were the 2020 scholars and Christopher Prokesh, Michael Cobb, Rodney Gore, and Eric Taylor-Hair received the awards in 2021.  Lt. Miller and Alisa Colwell are the first 2022 recipients.

For more information about donating to the SGTC Foundation or endowing a scholarship at South Georgia Technical College, contact Su Ann Bird, Executive Director of the SGTC Foundation and Vice President of Institutional Advancement, at 229.931.2110 or  Contributions may also be mailed to the SGTC Foundation, P.O. Box 6102, Americus, GA.   Additional donations can be added to the Smarr-Smith Scholarship fund and all donations will be recognized and shared with members of the Smith and Smarr families.