South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Class 23-01 completes POST training

Published 10:54 am Monday, April 10, 2023

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Class 23-01 completed training and were presented with Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certificates of completion in the graduation ceremony in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on the Americus campus.

“South Georgia Technical College is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year,” said South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford.  “We were one of the first technical colleges created in the state and we have a long-standing tradition or culture of providing top quality technical education programs to our communities. As graduates of the LEA Class 23-01, you are now members of that proud past and our promising future.”

The graduates of SGTC’s LEA Class 23-01 included:  Sierra Donrelle Carroll of Warner Robins, Avery Brandon Cruthirds of Warner Robins, Erika Kate Dillard of Ellaville, Donquavious Gudes of Cuthbert, Dillan sport Jerkins of Leslie, Haley Anne Lamberth of Ellaville, James Malcome Monterio of Albany, and Alexandria Grace Spain of Oglethorpe.

Richard Purvis, Chief of the Ashburn Police Department, was the featured graduation speaker.  He is a first-generation law enforcement officer and is married with four children and another one on the way.  He serves his agency, his community and his Lord.  He has been Chief of the Ashburn Police Department for one year and has been a Peace Officer since 2018.

Chief Purvis congratulated each of the cadets and said, “You have been called to do this job.  I believe to be a law enforcement officer, you must be selfless because in this job we serve people.  In order to do this job well, you will have to put everything above yourself.  You have been called to serve your communities and I am proud that you answered that call.  You are now one of the most needed but also must unwanted of creatures.”

Purvis encouraged the cadets to “work hard, train hard, and strive to do your best every day.”  He ended with the statement.  “You have earned this badge that is on your chest.  When your Chief hands you the badge it is clean or polished.  Don’t do anything to tarnish this badge.  And train everyday like your life depends on it, because one day it may.”

Two cadets from Class 23-01 were presented with class awards at the end of their POST certification training.  Sierra Donrelle Carroll of Warner Robins received the Top Gun award for having the best performance on the firing range.  James Malcome Monteiro of Albany was presented with the Top Academic Award for having the highest academic average in the class as well as selected as the Class Representative and chosen to present some remarks on behalf of the class.

In addition to the class awards, four students were recognized as scholarship recipients from class 23-01.  Donquavious Gudes of Cuthbert was presented with the Lt. Michael Sangster Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship.  Dillan Sport Jerkins of Leslie was awarded the Smallwood-Sondron Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship, Haley Anne Lamberth of Ellaville received the Lou Crouch Law Enforcement Scholarship and Alexandria Grace Spain of Oglethorpe was presented with the Chief Vanessa Wall Scholarship.

Cadet James M. Monteiro thanked all the members of his class and their families, the Law Enforcement Academy instructors and staff as well as the entire faculty, staff, and administrators at South Georgia Technical College and the members of the Law Enforcement Academy Advisory Board and other officers.

“We realize that this is the first step in our journey to become Law Enforcement Officers.  I know my classmates will go on to do great things.  We will experience things that 99% of the population will ever experience on this journey and we would not trade it for anything,” said Monteiro.

After each cadet was presented with a technical certificate of credit as well as an SGTC Law Enforcement coin and their POST certification award, Major Brett Murray, Director of the SGTC Law Enforcement Academy congratulated each student and also challenged them to go out into the world today and be the change they want to see in their communities.

SGTC President Dr. John Watford welcomed the cadets and their families to the graduation during the opening moments.  Cadet Sierra D. Carroll gave the Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance.  Dr. Watford, LEA Director Brett Murray and Academy Instructor Marcus Harris made the presentation of the certificates and Cadet Donquavious Gudes provided the benediction.

The history of the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy began 15 years ago.  South Georgia Technical College 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, South Georgia Technical College 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 South Georgia Technical College as well as a technical certificate of credit that can be utilized toward a diploma or Associate Degree in Criminal Justice.

The SGTC Law Enforcement Academy program currently takes approximately 11 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.

Recruits undergo intense mental and physical training as well as receive practical application in how to handle calls of service.  They are tested academically as well as physically.

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.