ALBANY – “To Protect and Serve” is the recognized mission common across America’s law enforcement agencies. In support of this mission, Albany Technical College, the city of Albany, Dougherty County and several other regional law enforcement agencies have collaborated on a unique curriculum for peace officer recruits, which will provide a solid foundation as they begin their career.
Beginning the summer semester of 2020, Albany Technical College will offer a new Technical Certificate of Credit within the college’s Criminal Justice Technology program. The new Law Enforcement Preparatory certificate is designed to prepare newly hired law enforcement officers for Police Officers Standards and Training (POST) certification. The curriculum will consist of two five-week sessions with two courses in each session, for a total of 12 credit hours. Each five-week session will meet Monday-Friday for a total of 35 hours each week.
The new Law Enforcement Preparatory Certificate is the result of collaboration and planning by college faculty and staff, local and regional law enforcement officials, and city and county officials. After review by the Albany Technical College Board of Directors, the new TCC also required approval from the Technical College System of Georgia State Board.
“We have always had a strong partnership with city and county law enforcement in our seven-county service delivery area,” Albany Tech President Anthony Parker said. “The new Law Enforcement Preparatory TCC is an opportunity to advance the educational scope of entry-level law enforcement employees. The preparatory curriculum will help ensure their success as they advance through all of the required training in their field. We are pleased to support the safety of our community in this way.”
The joint college, city and law enforcement steering committee responsible for crafting the new Law Enforcement Preparatory Certificate focused on bolstering fundamental skills needed to be a new police officer.
“As a group we focused on what I would say are the more complicated, but critical, competencies needed to serve effectively,” Albany Police Chief Michael Persley said. “I believe that with this preparatory course of study, our recruits will be exceptionally prepared when they take the next step of POST certification. With this innovative initiative, we will get excellent results for our community.”
“Considering the complexity of today’s policing, the profession’s status will be enhanced through the new Law Enforcement Preparatory program,” Dougherty County Police Department Chief Kenneth Johnson said. “Programs like this will aid officers in the behavior, performance and enhancement of their critical thinking skills. In addition, it will equip police recruits with the necessary tools to achieve their goal to become a POST-certified officer.”
Areas of concentration for the Law Enforcement Preparatory Certificate will include criminal process; Georgia law; constitutional law, and the proper procedures for documenting incidents, information, and evidence. Session one of the curriculum will focus on Criminal Procedure and Criminal Law. In the second session of the program, officers will study Report Writing and Constitutional Law. Each of the completed courses earns the student three credit hours for a total of 12 hours for the certificate.
Kenneth Singleton, dean of Academic Affairs, Public Safety and the Technology Division at Albany Technical College, said, “This is a good way for area police and sheriff’s departments to initiate, introduce and reinforce training for agency recruits. Individuals earning the new TCC will be entering the work force with reinforced skills and knowledge that are needed to perform the job on a day-to-day basis.
“Albany Tech’s Criminal Justice faculty is pleased to be a part of this expanded partnership and recognize its potential to assist with strengthening elements of regional law enforcement. With a strong start like this, officers may choose to continue their education in the criminal justice field with additional degrees.”
Personnel who want to receive peace officer certification status in Georgia must do so through the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council, which requires persons to attend the Police Academy and complete the Basic Mandate Peace Officer training. A two-year associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Technology is available from Albany Tech, as are concentrations in areas such as Cyber Crime Investigation and Cybersecurity. Four-year degrees in Criminal Justice and related areas are available from several regional colleges, including Albany State University. Albany Technical College and Albany State University also have a pathways agreement in Criminal Justice that makes for a seamless transition from a two-year to a four-year degree.