HAMLET — Local law enforcement agencies have a large number of openings for officers, and Richmond Community College has the program to train people to fill those positions.
The Basic Law Enforcement Training program will begin Jan. 14, and the College is now accepting applications for the 2021 class. The program provides cadets essential skills required for entry-level employment as law enforcement officers with state, county, or municipal government, or with private enterprises.
“The Rockingham Police Department is an agency dedicated to recruiting and retaining the most qualified individuals,” said Rockingham Chief Billy Kelly. “As an organization we make education and training a priority, offering training opportunities through various organizations year round.”
The Rockingham PD provides its officers with comprehensive benefits packages that include competitive salary, partial tuition reimbursement for higher education, annual bonus, achievement based salary increases, as well as promotional opportunities.
“We pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of technological advances in police work and making sure each officer has the absolute best equipment to be successful. Furthermore, we are represented by a community and council that continues to offer strong support, which allows us as an organization to continue to grow and be a premier agency in the state,” Kelly said.
In Richmond County, there 14 openings for law enforcement positions. In Scotland County, there are six.
Laurinburg Police Department Chief Darwin Williams said law enforcement needs men and women committed to serving their community and making it a safer place to live.
“There’s a purpose for law enforcement. You have to have law and order no matter what. It’s paramount that those coming into law enforcement right now come in with that understanding. It’s a profession. Not just a job,” Williams said.
Williams majored in criminal justice at Fayetteville State University, but he did not expect to become a police officer. However, he has since learned to love his role in serving and protecting his community.
“This profession carries so many responsibilities. It’s not just locking people up. You are assisting others, counseling them, bringing people out of dark places mentally,” Williams said. “BLET trains you how to be a police officer, but once you become law enforcement, you’ve got to let your natural ability kick in.”
Outside of Richmond and Scotland counties, law enforcement agencies have 15 openings in Robeson County, five in Hoke County, five in Montgomery County, four in Moore County and four in Anson County.
The six-month BLET program at RichmondCC uses N.C. Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission mandated topics and methods of instruction. Every law enforcement officer employed by an agency in North Carolina must successfully complete BLET and pass the BLET state exam.
Besides classroom lecture, students participate in physical training, which culminates in a challenging test of strength, endurance and agility while maintaining mental alertness. Commonly referred to as the POPAT (Police Officers Physical Abilities Test), many of the exercises and obstacles involved relate to physical and mental tasks they might face on the job.
Application packets for BLET are due Friday, Dec. 4. Packets are available in the Lee Building at the Hamlet Campus or the Honeycutt Center at the Scotland County Campus. For more information, call 910-410-1700 or visit www.richmondcc.edu/blet.
Students completing the BLET course and passing the state exam are also eligible to receive 13 credit hours towards an Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice from RichmondCC.