Bartow County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday donated a surplus patrol vehicle to the academy’s public safety program, allowing students to learn outside the classroom’s walls.
“I really just want to thank Sheriff [Clark] Millsap, thank all the folks who have done that to provide this opportunity for you all,” BCCCA CEO Paul Sabin said. “I tell you, we are blessed with a great community. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Public Safety Instructor Donald Moody said the program will utilize the vehicle to simulate traffic stops, issuing citations and radar enforcement.
“Donating a car that we were pretty much going to put on GovDeals, salvage — I mean, it’s worn out, we’ve got our use out of it — but if we can give it back to the community here at the college and career academy and let Instructor Moody show these kids what it’s like to make a traffic stop,” Millsap said. “... This college and career academy has got to take off, and anything the sheriff’s office can do to help, we are going to help them.”
More than 50 students from the county’s three high schools are enrolled in the program, which covers an array of public safety aspects.
“We have three levels here. We do our intro to public safety, teaches kids constitutional law, how to arrest people, suspect searches. We do building searches, things like that, of course the traffic stops,” Moody said. “Our second level has a lot to do with the court system, how court flows through from arrest to prosecution. We do jury trials and things like that. Then our third level is CSI, or criminal investigations class.”
Through a 90-minute block schedule, students may finish the program in 18 months. Moody said the facility also offers joint-enrollment with Chattahoochee Technical College.
“It’s been a blessing to be here because the kids want to be here. … They’re really focused on a career. We try to give them a broad-based view of the things they can get into,” he said.
For students Jaeda Smith and Jonathan Livingston, Thursday’s donation was just another step on the path to future careers in the public safety realm.
“I want to become a lawyer and I thought this class would give me a lot of experience with the law and learning about it,” Smith said.
Livingston agreed, saying he was hoping to get a jump-start through BCCCA.
“I want to become a game warden, DNR, and it’s better to get in it early than have to go through school again or, you know, at a later stage where I have to learn everything fresh but yet I’m old enough to be in there already. So I thought, ‘Why not get a head start?’” he said.
Millsap echoed the students’ statements.
“If they are truly about a law enforcement career, it’s better to start young. ... If they learn now, maybe their paths will lead them straight down the road and maybe not any turnoffs,” he said. “If they see what it’s like to actually be trained in some things in law enforcement, maybe it will keep them out of trouble and maybe they can spread the word to their friends and none of their friends will get in trouble, and maybe we can cut down on some crime.”
“[Education is] why we do the citizens police academy and that’s why they do this here at college and career academy,” Millsap continued. “If they can teach enough of these young men and women what it is to be a law enforcement officer, then maybe that respect will go back up to where it’s not there anymore. … Maybe this will be a way to get that respect back for law enforcement.”
For more information on the academy, visit http://www.bartow.k12.ga.us or find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BartowCountyCollegeAndCareerAcademy.