Georgia Piedmont Technical College celebrated the GPTC Law Enforcement Academy's achievement of becoming the first training academy in Georgia to achieve accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), considered the gold standard of law enforcement voluntary accreditation.
In his remarks, GPTC President Dr. Jabari Simama said that the officers who graduate from Georgia Piedmont's Law Enforcement Academy are not only technically skilled but also culturally sensitive. "All of our law enforcement graduates are familiar with strategies for community policing," said Dr. Simama.
The academy's director, Major Harry C. McCann, Jr., provided background information regarding the origins of the academy. "This academy was basically built from scratch, with the planning stages occurring throughout 2008 so the academy could open in January of 2009," he said. The formation of the academy was a joint effort between the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Council, McCann said.
Mitch Jones, Director of the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Council described attaining accreditation as similar to passing a final, comprehensive exam in school. "Achieving accreditation is proof you've done everything right, but then you also have to maintain it. I'm particularly proud that Georgia Piedmont's Law Enforcement Academy achieved CALEA accreditation because it means the students here are participating in the best possible learning environment," Jones said.
A letter from Governor Nathan Deal read aloud at the ceremony praised the academy for being the first agency of its kind in the State of Georgia to receive CALEA accreditation. Speakers also included District 43 State Sen. Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr., who read a resolution from the state senate praising the achievement. He congratulated the academy for attaining national accreditation, referring to CALEA as "the gold standard in public safety accreditation."
Eric Dorsey, a current student at GPTC's law enforcement academy, said "I can't put into words how great this program is. The instructors here have provided me with more knowledge and training than I could have ever dreamed of," Dorsey said.
During its conference held in July of this year, CALEA voted unanimously to award accreditation status to Georgia Piedmont Technical College's Law Enforcement Academy. CALEA's assessors visited the academy this past April. They conducted evaluations of the academy's policies and procedures; reviewed files; interviewed staff, students, and graduates; and visited off-campus sites utilized by the academy for training. Assessors performed those tasks to ensure the academy complied with the 159 standards established by CALEA. The college was notified in July, 2014 that the academy had met all accreditation guidelines.
Georgia Piedmont Technical College's Law Enforcement Academy program lasts 17 weeks. It consists of 700 basic mandate hours; 40 P.O.S.T. advanced hours; and 42 college credit hours (60 college credit hours are required to earn an Associate's degree).
CALEA is responsible for accrediting numerous law enforcement agencies, public safety communications agencies, law enforcement training academies and campus security agencies throughout the nation and abroad. CALEA was established in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of the International Association of Chiefs of Police; National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; National Sheriffs' Association and the Police Executive Research Forum.
For more information about Georgia Piedmont Technical College's Law Enforcement Academy, go to www.gptc.edu or call Major McCann at 404-297-9522, ext. 5031.