South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Class 20-02 completes POST training

Published 3:46 pm Monday, December 14, 2020

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Photo:  South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford (front center), LEA Academy Director Brett Murray (front center left) and SGTC Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs and LEA Academy Instructor Vanessa Wall (front center right) are shown above with the members of the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Class 20-02 cadets who competed their training recently. The cadets earned their POST certification and a technical certificate of credit for their course work in the academy.  Shown above are:  Logan Nathaniel Barrett, Brett Thomas Braxton, Jakob Thomas Hart, William Nicolas Page Leggett, Timothy Martin McKenna, Brandon Conner Ohm, Wesley Roshawd Poke, Tyrique Montavious Ridley, Courtney Lavette Seay, Trey Douglas Shipp, Eric Austin Taylor-Hair, and Stanley Jared Ward.


South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy Class 20-02 completed their training and were presented with their Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certificates of completion in a very quiet ceremony in their classroom with only each other and their instructors present due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The graduates of SGTC’s LEA Class 20-02 included:  Logan Nathaniel Barrett of Pelham, GA; Brett Thomas Braxton of Cordele, GA, sponsored by the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office; Jakob Thomas Hart of Montezuma, GA; William Nicolas Page Leggett of Albany, GA, sponsored by the Turner County Sheriff’s Office; Timothy Martin McKenna of Ft. Mitchell, AL; Brandon Conner Ohm of Americus, GA; Wesley Roshawd Poke of Ashburn, GA, sponsored by the Ashburn Police Department; Tyrique Montavious Ridley of Montezuma, GA, sponsored by the Americus Police Department; Courtney Lavette Seay of Albany, GA, sponsored by the Americus Police Department; Trey Douglas Shipp of Sylvester, GA, sponsored by the Worth County Sheriff’s Office; Eric Austin Taylor-Hair of Hawkinsville, GA; and Stanley Jared Ward of Leslie, GA, sponsored by the Americus Police Department/Fire Emergency Services.

“We had hoped that we would be able to have a graduation ceremony for Class 20-02 and Class 20-01 that graduated in the Spring of 2020, but with the COVID-19 pandemic numbers rising, we just had a very quiet ceremony in our regular classroom,” said Law Enforcement Academy Director Brett Murray. “I am very proud of each of these graduates and their commitment to complete this program.  Despite many obstacles and challenges, they persevered and have earned the right to graduate and receive their POST certification.”

South Georgia Technical College was able to open its Law Enforcement Academy after meeting several criteria from the Georgia Post Council and the Technical College System of Georgia following guidelines from the state.  These criteria were designed to establish an enhanced infection control protocol to better protect students and staff while allowing the continuation of their training.  Utilizing social distancing, masks and rigorous cleaning along with a check in procedure twice daily, cadets and staff adapted to work towards their goal.

Three cadets from Class 20-02 were presented with class awards at the end of their POST certification training.  Timothy Maratin McKenna of Ft. Mitchell, AL, was presented with the “Class Representative” award by Director Murray.  He was selected by his peers for this award.  He also received the “Top Gun” award for excelling on the firing range. Stanley Jared Ward of Leslie, GA, earned the “Academic Achievement” award for having the highest class average.

In addition to the class awards, three students were recognized as scholarship recipients from class 20-02.  Wesley R. Poke of Ashburn, GA, was presented with the Lt. Michael Sangster Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship.

Courtney Seay of Albany, GA, was awarded the Lou Crouch Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship and Eric Austin Taylor-Hair was awarded the Smallwood-Sondron scholarship in memory of Peach County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, Patrick Sondron and Daryl Smallwood, who died in the line of duty in November 2016.

The history of the South Georgia Technical College Law Enforcement Academy began 12 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 Law Enforcement Academy program takes 18 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.