For nearly 30 years, Sampson Community College has been producing some of the finest law enforcement officers across the state. The Basic Law Enforcement Training program at the local community college will soon be starting a new class.
According to Jennifer Wiley, director of the BLET program, the program has been around and a part of the community college’s curriculum for quite some time. Records indicate the program dates back to September 1985, when the Department of Community Colleges issued approval to Sampson Technical College (SCC’s former name) to offer BLET.
This program, Wiley said, allows participants to earn a certificate under the curriculum program.
“The Basic Law Enforcement program has 36 blocks of commission mandated instruction and it is designed to prepare entry-level individuals with the cognitive and physical skills needed to become certified law enforcement officers in North Carolina,” Wiley said. “The blocks of instruction include firearms, driver training with time on the driving track, motor vehicle law, arrest, search and seizure, just to name a few.”
Throughout the courses, she added, students experience practical exercises and receive training in ethics.
The next BLET class is set to begin Sept. 14, with a pre-orientation meeting scheduled for Aug. 31. To enter the program, students must complete a BLET application packet that includes fulfilling several requirements, such as an application form, driving and criminal history, physical and several other items, prior to the start of the course.
“The BLET program that we have beginning in September here at Sampson Community College is a night program that will include class Monday through Thursday nights with a few Fridays and Saturdays over the course,” Wiley stated.
The night course will be completed in June 2016. Once students successfully complete the course work, Wiley said they are eligible to sit for the state exam. Upon successful completion of the BLET State Comprehensive Written Examination, the BLET trainee has one year from the date of the exam to be duly appointed and sworn in as a law enforcement officer in North Carolina.
Throughout the programs nearly 30 years, Wiley said many graduates have successfully completed the training and continued to become a member of a local law enforcement agency.
“Many students have come through our Criminal Justice Technology Degree program as well as our Basic Law Enforcement Training program over the years,” the director said. “Many of our students have found jobs right here serving our community with agencies such as the Clinton Police Department, Sampson Sheriff’s Department, and also the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.”
In addition to the BLET program, Sampson Community offers an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice. This degree has been offered through the local community college since 1977.
“Our Criminal Justice Technology degree is a two year degree and within the program of study, we have a criminal justice club and an excellent criminal justice advisory committee that consists of criminal justice professionals in the field which includes the Clinton Police Department, the local court, and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and their expertise is valuable to our curriculum of study,” Wiley said. “Once students graduate the two year program, many have enrolled in BLET or transferred to a four year bachelor’s degree granting institution.”
In addition to graduates being employed locally, Wiley said most of the program’s instructors are local officers who serve in Sampson County. Many, not all, she added, are graduates of SCC’s BLET program and now share their expertise and experience with the current students.
“Not only are most of our instructor’s sworn officers, but they also hold General Instructor Certification along with any specialty certifications that are required to teach certain courses,” Wiley said. “Our instructors share considerable knowledge and experience with our BLET students. I know their efforts contribute to our students’ development of essential industry knowledge and skills.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.