Basic Law Enforcement Training courses at WCC

A police car sits outside Wayne Community College. The college is working with the Goldsboro Police Department, which is offering scholarships for Basic Law Enforcement Training courses at WCC.

The Goldsboro Police Department and Wayne Community College are teaming up to offer a set of scholarships to students in Basic Law Enforcement Training who agree to work for the city after graduating.

The program is available to people who meet three criteria. Applicants must be a resident of Goldsboro or Wayne County and must have lived in the city or county for at least a year by the time they apply. Applicants also must be “in pursuit of a career in law enforcement with the city of Goldsboro” and be registered to attend Wayne Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy, said Beverly Deans, chair of the WCC Public Safety Division.

The program offers four scholarships for Wayne Community College’s BLET programs, including two offered during the day and two in the evening. Each scholarship is for $5,000 and is accompanied by a monthly stipend not to exceed $5,000. The money comes from the GPD’s annual budget.

Maj. Lee Szatkowski, head of the GPD’s support services division, said the stipend is meant to help pay for books and other needs while the scholarship pays the cost of tuition.

Deans said the program is a great way for BLET students to avoid the stress of tuition payments.

“I just think it’s a very good opportunity for students who are pursuing a career in law enforcement, simply because you don’t have to work and worry about income while you’re enrolled,” she said. “If you’re pursuing a career in law enforcement and you’ve got a department willing to sponsor you to this degree by paying you a monthly stipend, this has never happened before to my knowledge.”

The scholarship functions as a recruitment tool for the Goldsboro Police Department and started in 2015, Szatkowski said.

“It’s to encourage people that are going to the BLET program to consider joining the police department,” she said. “There are people who can go through or want to go through but generally can’t afford it.

“This can help those that want to go to BLET (and it) can help them financially with the program.”

Taking the scholarship is not necessarily a guarantee of employment with the Goldsboro Police Department, Szatkowski said, as graduates will still need to go through the regular application process like everyone else. Applicants will be required to sign a three-year commitment to the GPD if they are accepted.

While the main goal of the program is to help bolster the GPD’s ranks, it also has the fringe benefit of producing officer candidates who are familiar with the area, having already been Wayne Community College students.

“Obviously, it is a benefit for them to be familiar with the city,” Szatkowski said. “It helps them, and it helps us also. I wouldn’t say that’s the main reason for the program but we do work closely and have for years worked closely with Wayne Community College and their BLET program.”

One round of BLET classes wrapped up in January. The next round of scholarships is for Wayne Community College’s fall BLET classes, and the application deadline is Aug. 9. Scholarship recipients will be notified by Aug. 14. Szatkowski said she will work with Deans and the Goldsboro Human Resources Department to determine who will receive the scholarships.

Applications are available on the city of Goldsboro Human Relations website, at www.goldsboronc.gov, or by contacting Deans at 919-739-6798.