When the decision was made to alter the format of Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) at Sampson Community College, several conscious decisions were made to improve the learning experience of future students. Recruits were given more time for studying and review, and an emphasis was placed on professionalism. Those alterations proved to have paid off on Friday when the BLET class achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the state exam.
“Ultimately, we wanted to produce great recruits into the workforce. This was accomplished through the exceptional leadership from our support staff and instructors. From day one we teach the recruits the importance of ‘Protect & Serve,’” noted BLET Program Director, Anthony Davis.
As the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to disrupt class delivery, the program was able to continue with caution and safety—making the class passing rate an even greater feat. Several class scheduling challenges were overcome to stay on schedule for the exam date, including the location of the firearm and driving practical applications. Davis credits the staff and instructors with their swiftness and willingness to work with scheduling.
Day Class President, Moses Williams, says the challenges brought camaraderie among the recruits.
“What was trying turned out to really bring us closer together. We really came together as a group while we were out there. Because even though it wasn’t the most ideal circumstances, we learned a lot about each other and that was awesome,” Williams shared.
As Class President, Williams ensured that he and his classmates were in sync each day—from their uniforms to the number of sit-ups and push-ups they did during breaks. Uniformity proved to be key for the class—even on exam day when every recruit passed the state exam. Williams says that the class made it a goal from the beginning to set a standard for BLET classes that followed. They were excited to accomplish that goal collectively. Davis shared the news with each recruit individually.
“We were calling each other and congratulating each other. We were just really happy that we were able to get through the whole process, and then to really finalize it with everybody passing the state exam was exciting,” Williams remarked.
BLET Program Qualified Assistant, Robert Stroud, says seeing the students achieve their goal felt like seeing the original goal of the reimagined program achieved as well. When redesigned, the goal was for students to have a stake in the program and become more marketable.
“We gave the class more responsibility to take ownership of the program, basically to make it theirs. Everybody seemed to adapt to it well, and obviously, the test results prove to us that they took ownership of what they were trying to accomplish at the end,” Stroud remarked.
Stroud says seeing the test results for his students was nearly as exciting as receiving his scores years ago. Seeing their dedication and perseverance—especially after the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic caused—made the scores so much more satisfying.
“This year’s work proves that great things can be accomplished,” Stroud remarked.
The BLET program tests students’ knowledge related to Legal, Patrol Duties, Law Enforcement Communication, Investigations, Practical Application, and Sheriff Specific. The newly redesigned program at Sampson Community College puts a new emphasis on discipline and the professionalism of law enforcement. However, it also highlights the importance of compassion and public service. BLET students participated in a community service project to emphasize the service component of their future careers.
“If their heart is in the right place it will make all the difference in the type of officer they will become,” Davis shared.
As the country continues to make steps in reevaluating the training of law enforcement officers, the State Board of Community Colleges approved funds for a program that would provide training focused in de-escalation, relationship-based policing, and community interaction.
For more information about Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) at SCC, visit the website, or attend an interest session on July 2 at 6:00 pm.
About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options, and early college education.