DOBSON — The Basic Law Enforcement Training Program at Surry Community College recently released an in-depth, 10-minute video that illustrates what the program is like and why students choose a career in law enforcement.
The video features interviews with people who were students during the time the video was being produced, including Cody Smith, program class president, who is now an officer with the Mount Airy Police Department.
“I like helping people and I really want to make a difference, and I thought what better way to do that than law enforcement,” Smith said in the video.
To view the video, go to Facebook @surryblet or the college’s YouTube site at www.youtube.com/surryedu.
Eric Smith, who is transitioning from the military to a career in law enforcement, was also interviewed on the video.
“I think it’s a great career path for anyone that’s been in the military. There are a lot of things that we have done in the military that applies to law enforcement – the discipline, just serving your country then going to serving your community,” Eric Smith said.
Other students interviewed included Elizabeth Simmons, Cody Harris and Rebecca Roman.
“A majority of the sheriff’s deputies and city police officers in this region received Basic Law Enforcement Training at Surry Community College with hundreds of officers having gone through the program since its inception in 1974,” the college said in a statement announcing the video.
Ronald Hill is the director of Law Enforcement Programs at SCC’s Center for Public Safety where the the program is headquartered. Hill came through Surry’s program as a deputy sheriff in 1975. He has 40 years of law enforcement experience under his belt, having retired as the chief of Mount Airy Police Department. He took over the college program in 2013.
“It’s a calling. It’s a career. It’s not a job. If a person is looking for a job, they are looking at the wrong place. This is a career. It’s a lot of negatives. Your shifts are terrible. There are swing shifts. You see the very worst in people, but you also see some of the best,” Hill said in the video. “You can look back and say ‘Well I made a difference in someone else’s life.’ Not everybody can do that. It has to be that type of mentality that goes into law enforcement.”
Lt. Gerald Lefevre, a patrol lieutenant with the Surry County Sheriff’s Office, was featured on the video. Lefevre came through the college’s program in 2002 and is now a Subject Control and Arrest Techniques Instructor for the program.
Barry VanHoy, lead firearms instructor for the program, was also spotlighted on the video. VanHoy, a patrol captain with the Mount Airy Police Department, is also a graduate of the school’s program.
Basic Law Enforcement Training Program is a six-month program that gives entry-level individuals the skills to become certified police officers and deputy sheriffs in North Carolina. The program consists of 680 hours of lecture and practical training with 37 topics covered including everything from ethics, constitutional law, and motor vehicle law to criminal investigation and anti-terrorism.
Surry operates three schools each year – two day schools and a night school. The video highlights pursuit training, firearms training, and the physical fitness components of the course.
“The release of the video comes at an opportune time when the college is recruiting students for a daytime class that will start July 17 and run through Dec. 7,” the school said.
The class will meet Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., plus 12 days from 1 to 10 p.m. at the Center for Public Safety in Mount Airy. This course is accredited by the NC Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission. Persons desiring to become a sworn law enforcement officer in North Carolina must successfully complete this course in its entirety and pass a state exam.
An orientation for the July session will be held on June 21. Prospective students must contact Ron Hill at (336) 386-3292 or Sandy Wall at (336) 386-3202 for an interview appointment and to receive the application packet. To qualify for admission, an individual must meet the same requirements as those mandated by the N.C. Criminal Justice Standards/N.C. Sheriffs’ Standards Commission for a sworn law enforcement officer. The college typically offers new classes beginning every January, May and July. Day and night classes are available.
Course fees include $180 for tuition, $630 for books, a $125 material fee, and approximately $200 for uniforms. Course tuition may be waived through a law enforcement agency sponsorship. Students may also attend by paying the tuition personally. For program updates, follow the program on Facebook @surryblet.