Nearly a dozen new graduates in the second graduating class of DeKalb Technical College's Law Enforcement Academy are ready to hit the streets to protect and serve the community.
At the August 28 ceremony at Tech's Covington campus, friends and law enforcement leaders gathered to honor the recruits. "Of the eleven graduates, 10 are considered 'pre-service,'meaning they were not hired or sponsored by a law enforcement agency," says Beverly Thomas, director of DeKalb Tech's Law Enforcement Academy. The graduating class draws students from Loganville, Lawrenceville, Conyers, Covington, Atlanta and Duluth.
The 17-week training course is the first of its kind in the state that is not offered by a law enforcement agency. The officers are the second graduating class from the newly-offered Law Enforcement Academy at DeKalb Tech.
The hour long ceremony was filled with humor and the harsh reality of the dangerous field these recruits are entering. Special Agent Rhiannon Morgan spoke on behalf of the recruits and addressed the lessons learned with a light-hearted tone.
"The first lesson we learned is don't get your car or your gun stolen," she said. "We've had our guns taken and watched are patrol cars drive away without us. All of us have been killed at one time or another. Sometimes the best lessons are learned, not taught."
Lt. Harry McCann Jr. reminisced about how he watched the group mature over the past 17 weeks. He says it was his goal to make them learn tough lessons in class and not on the streets. "While they attended this academy for many it was the first time they had ever been in a fight. I want that to happen here. I want the first time they get a black eye to happen here. That way they know what to do when it happens on the street. Because it could very well could happen and that ain't where the first time needs to be," McCann told the audience. He echoed a fact that the graduates know but their family may not. "This is not your typical nine to five, Monday through Friday job," says McCann, "It gets in your blood."
DeKalb Technical College Public Safety and Security Department has offered a Basic Law Enforcement Certification since January, the first non-State of Georgia entity to offer the pilot program along with five other technical colleges.
DeKalb Technical College, a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, has eight centers in DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale, and Morgan counties. Established in 1961, DeKalb Technical College currently has more than 4,000 students enrolled in diploma or degree programs and more than 9,000 in adult education classes. Academic and Technical programs at DeKalb Tech cover more than 100 different occupations. For more information visit www.dekalbtech.edu.