-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College
Fifteen cadets graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program at Vance-Granville Community College in a ceremony held May 14 in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus. After passing the state certification exam, all are authorized to work in any law enforcement agency in North Carolina.
Honored as members of VGCC’s 108th BLET class were: Emma Carey Britt and Andrew Ronald Spitzer, both of Butner Public Safety; Jeremy Dale Moore and Zachary Lance Workman, both of the Granville County Sheriff’s Office; Jake Matthew Coleman and Sabrina Edward Hoyle, both of the Henderson Police Department; Seth Thomas Hodge of the N.C. Division of Parks & Recreation; Daniel Marquis Allen, Michael James Bader and Gina Christine Chappell, all of the Oxford Police Department; Kevin Ward Allen, Taylor Nicole Inscoe and Zachary Thomas Long, all of the Vance County Sheriff’s Office; Maggie Rena Cabiness and Jonathan Shawn Kearney, both of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
The class was exceptional in at least two major ways. First, all 15 cadets who began the program successfully graduated, marking a rare 100-percent completion rate for the rigorous 16 weeks of training. Second, each member of the class was employed by a law enforcement agency by the day of their graduation.
Speaking as leader of the class, Cadet Seth Hodge thanked all the graduates’ family members and friends in attendance for their support. He added that the class had learned a great deal about teamwork. “We as a group of strangers decided on this path together, and we were tasked to complete our first major hurdle in our careers together,” Hodge said. Learning to trust one another, he said the team had then become a family. “And no matter where our lives take us from here, no matter the badge or uniform we wear, I want you to always remember just what we are: family,” he added.
VGCC Campus Police Chief Sean Newton, representing the program’s many instructors, was chosen by the cadets as the keynote speaker for their graduation. He congratulated the cadets on the completion of “a long, hard journey.”
Newton reminded the new law enforcement professionals that they would be taking an “oath of honor” to uphold and protect the Constitution, their community and their agency.
“The first thing you will uphold is the Constitution,” Newton said. “You’re taking an oath to protect the rights of all people of our state and country: the victims of crimes, the general public, and those accused of crimes. In my opinion, there is no greater responsibility than this.”
Second, they will pledge to uphold their community. “I cannot stress enough how important it is to embrace and include the community in your law enforcement efforts,” Newton said. “We’ve seen a reported breakdown between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Some of it is unfortunately true, while some may be exaggerated by social media or certain biases. Regardless of the reason, we must, as members of the law enforcement community, constantly strive to better these relationships.”
Finally, he said, graduates will swear an oath to the agencies they serve. “I would like to add all law enforcement officers in general to that category,” Newton said. “Always remember, you won’t be the only officer judged by your actions; every other officer in the country will be, too. No other profession is scrutinized as much as law enforcement, and rightfully so.”
The police chief called on graduates to think carefully about the words in their oath and remember them as they start their careers. “How you embrace these words will determine how successful your career will be,” Newton said.
Glen Boyd, interim director of Law Enforcement programs and BLET at VGCC, presented awards to several students. Kevin Allen took home the Academic Achievement Award for having the top grade average in the written tests each cadet must pass. Seth Hodge earned the Physical Fitness Award for scoring highest in the various fitness tests the cadets undergo during physical training. Michael Bader won the “Top Gun” Award for having the highest accuracy score in firearms qualification.
For more information on the BLET program, contact Glen Boyd at [email protected].