12/26/07 — WCC law enforcement program emulated

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WCC law enforcement program emulated

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 26, 2007 2:08 PM

Wayne Community College's public safety training program is being held up as a prototype that may become used by the state of Georgia in the future.

A delegation from Georgia recently visited the college to study how the training and professional development are run.

"They do not have a community college system in Georgia," Jack Kannan, director of the college foundation, said. "They were trying to look at how we educate our people in public safety and are now going back to present to the governor what they found."

Roger "Sonny" Wise, a member of Northern Arc Public Safety Academy and steering committee chairman for the proposed addition to Reinhardt College in Alpharetta, Georgia, said it makes sense to emulate a program that is working.

"You have one of the most requested training programs in the country," he said.

"In Georgia, (someone would) have to go to the POST Academy (Police Officer's Standard Training) and there's only two in the state."

When asked by the POST Director to investigate possible models to study, Wayne Community immediately came to mind. Wise, a Goldsboro native, contacted Kannan, who in turn set up a presentation through staff at the college.

Representatives from the Basic Law Enforcement Training, the fire rescue program and affiliated colleges --Barton, Wesleyan and Fayetteville State University-- were enlisted to speak to the delegation, as were local public safety officials, Kannan said.

"I don't know what they expected but they got a lot more than they expected," he said after the day's visit. "They went back with a whole lot of ideas."

Wise was enthusiastic about the reception.

"They rolled out the red carpet," he said. "They have helped us save nine months on the process. ... If all goes well, we very well could be making an announcement the first quarter of next year that we'll start receiving a class and will become a model for the state of Georgia."

Such a move will be "historical," Wise noted.

"We're going to completely change the way the state of Georgia trains public safety personnel," he said. "It's going to save dollars in the individual cities. It's going to raise the bar on standards."

Wise said his delegation was impressed with the instructors as well as the curriculum already in place at the college. Reinhardt, comparable in size to WCC, will be able to adapt the curriculum easily, he added.

"It's a real tribute to the working effort that WCC has done on this program," he said. "This is going to raise the bar in the whole public safety field."

Barbara Russo, emergency preparedness technology instructor, previously taught in Georgia so was familiar with its history of public safety training.

"They really are years behind," she said. "Training and crossing over in the curriculum is huge with them. They rely a lot on the private and schools run most independently."

Even though the state may seemingly have more resources, they haven't necessarily developed what they have, Ms. Russo said.

"The way they run their POST academy (is) limited compared to the way we bring it and deliver it in the community," she said. "Seeing them take a lead by using our stuff is going to be tremendous."

Providing the delegation with CDs and information on the existing curriculum will provide "a really good footprint to deliver over there to the governor and show how it works," Ms. Russo said.

Wise said he has since spoke with Georgia's governor and lieutenant governor about the visit, as well as some of the state's mayors.

"Everybody is very excited," he said. "We're extremely appreciative."

Ms. Russo said it was just as exciting to be in a position to pass on their success.

"For us, not only was it flattering but it was a tremendous honor," she said. "It was the first time we have really come together as continuing ed and curriculum. It just better demonstrated how good we are at that crossover."