MCC Welcomes Largest Law Enforcement Training Class in College History
Published on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020
Montgomery Community College welcomes 22 candidates to its fall 2020 Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program. Five women and 17 men comprise the cohort, which will spend evenings and some weekends together for the next seven months with an expected May 2021 graduation. The group of 22 represents the largest enrollment in the program’s history, which started in 1983.
These students will master 36 separate BLET topics from physical fitness, crime scene investigation, first responder, testifying in court, human trafficking and more. Graduates will also be required to pass a final certification examination mandated by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Educational and Training Standards Commission.
Holly Thompson, a graduate of the two-year Early College Criminal Justice program, is one of several female students in the BLET program. She considers her gender to be an advantage in the area of law enforcement. “I have good people skills, I am a good listener, and I am very calm. I have noticed that people consider the advice I give to them, because I am approachable and caring in my attitude towards people.” Thompson hopes to find employment in Montgomery County next spring when she completes the BLET program.
MCC has found an impressive niche for its BLET programming with courses running during the evenings and weekends, giving students the opportunity to maintain ongoing daytime income while exploring a new law enforcement career at night. While a minimum of 660 hours of classroom is required, many cohorts finish with 680 or more because of MCC’s access to uniquely-qualified experts and instructors.
“One advantage to having been in this field for so long, is I can draw on my professional network across the state to enrich our classroom experience,” explains Pete Herron, BLET Director and 22-year veteran of law enforcement. “In addition to my personal role in the classroom, there are many exceptional officers and community leaders across the state, and I am fortunate they take my call when I ask them to visit our campus and address our students.”
Juventino Reyes Cruz comes to the newest BLET class by way of the United States Marine Corps. One of the Marines under his command had been a police officer, and planted the seed in Cruz’ mind that working in law enforcement would be a good fit for his personality and logical next step in his career progression. “I have family all over Montgomery County,” explains Cruz. “Above all else, I want my community to feel safe and be safe.” Cruz believes his patriotism and passion for excellence will make a difference in people’s lives.
The field of law enforcement is likely to experience significant change in the coming years. Most students in the incoming class express interest in helping define what it means to serve and protect. “I am very proud of this incoming class,” said Herron. “It takes a very special person to walk into the unknown and wish to be part of a very important, far-reaching solution that serves all people. It takes courage, but it also takes compassion.”
MCC’s BLET program occupies a new facility with multimedia classrooms and a physical training center. There is also an on-site firing range and obstacle course for firearms and physical training. MCC’s most recent cohort of 11 graduates has reached full employment. Job opportunities for successful graduates include police officer, deputy sheriff, company police officer, campus police officer and state law enforcement officer.