MOULTRIE – Southern Regional Technical College began the inaugural session of its Summer Law Enforcement Academy Monday morning.
About 26 students, ages 16 to 19, were given a one-week opportunity to learn about criminal justice, network and interact with various agency professionals and gain certifications. Almost 20 of the attendees were students from the Turner Job Corps Center in Albany.
Benjie Nobles, SRTC’s Criminal Justice instructor, spearheaded the academy. He introduced the students’ expectations and gave a brief overview of what they will experience during the course week.
“Everything we do, what we say, how we move and what we ask you to do [and] how we ask you to respond is going to be based on a small level of what you would go through in one of our academies,” Nobles told the students. “At the end of the week, I promise [that] you’re going to know more than most individuals your age when it comes down to what we do.”
Agencies from surrounding areas including the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia State Patrol, Moultrie Police Department, Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Department of Corrections, Department of Motor Vehicle Compliance and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision will rotate each day instructing the participants through miniature versions of their academies. The attendees will also have hands-on training opportunities in the latter half of the day while completing practical exercises.
The academy is intended to get young high school students interested in criminal justice and to make people more aware of what the career field includes.
A common misconception about criminal justice, Nobles said in a previous interview, is that most individuals believe it’s focused strictly on police law enforcement. Instead, criminal justice is what Nobles calls “The Three C’s” which includes cops, courts, and corrections.
“We don’t just want to lock people up. We want to solve problems. I tell my students all the time when a crime occurs, there’s a disruption in the social order, and it’s the cops, courts and corrections’ responsibility to restore that social order,” he said.
SRTC President Jim Glass followed by welcoming the students to campus and shared gratitude to all the attending agencies.
The students then heard from several leaders in surrounding agencies. Colquitt County Sheriff Rod Howell and Moultrie Chief of Police Sean Ladson kicked off the agency introductions thanking the students for attending. Howell told the students that he would be reviewing and consulting with his attending instructors on the student’s progress for recruitment purposes.
Ladson tasked the students to consider one question: Why do I want to be a law enforcement officer? He explained to the students that there comes a responsibility with law enforcement and wanted them to reflect on their answers during the courses.
Darrin “Gordon” Myers, the warden at Autry State Prison, explained to the students, “Law enforcement and corrections, we go hand in hand. They do a great job of keeping people off the streets and keeping them right, sending them to court and then sending them to us. [It’s a] tough job.”
“I want you in law enforcement. Once you get in there you will find your niche. Don’t give up on it,” Myers said.
CCSO Investigators Austin Cannon, Kat Johnson and Ivon Folsom began instruction teaching the students how to march. Once they learned the basics, the students marched to the SRTC library where they received their identification badges.
They were also taken through CPR training provided by the Director of Community Economic Development Keyondria Harris.
Throughout the week the students will complete daily physical training challenges that may include runs or a physical agility course.
The camp began June 12 and will be completed Friday. Students who complete the academy will be recognized in a cadet graduation ceremony on the final day. For more information, contact Nobles at email@example.com or to register, contact Economic Development Director Keyondria Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.