Valdosta Technical College is responding to the needs of the local law enforcement agencies by starting a program of study to prepare students for employment in the law enforcement professions. According to Mike Bass, director of Program Development, the program will have three fields of specialization..

"Valdosta Tech will use the ladder approach with this field of study," Bass said. "A student can start in a 25-hour technical certificate of credit, then use those credits toward the 72-hour diploma or the 97-hour degree." The Criminal Justice Specialist technical certificate of credit will provide the basic knowledge a student needs to begin a career in the field. Courses will include an introduction to criminal justice technology, constitutional law and the principles of law enforcement.

Building on the knowledge gained in the Criminal Justice Specialist certificate, students can specialize in police and sheriff's department work called Law Enforcement Technician or in corrections or private security. Each program emphasizes a combination of law enforcement theory and practical application necessary for successful employment. Entry-level graduates will be prepared to pursue diverse opportunities in corrections, security, investigative, and police administration fields. Graduates who are current practitioners will benefit through enhancement of career potential.

Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk supports the new program. "It is convenient to our citizens to train locally. The program is laid out in a logical progression and is very organized," he said.

Adel Police Chief Bill Butler is optimistic about having a larger pool of potential employees. "It is an excellent idea to develop law enforcement executives for today and for the future. Several of my employees are currently in school. With the opening of the Valdosta Tech program, they won't have to travel so far. I encourage them to get as much training as possible," he said.

Valdosta Technical College is in the process of hiring the law enforcement instructor and expects to begin classes on the first day of winter quarter, Jan. 5.

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