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Basic training for law enforcement condensed for night students at Rowan-Cabarrus

By Shavonne Potts
shavonne.potts@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — After continual feedback about its Basic Law Enforcement Training Program, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has shortened the night classes by two months.

It’s a big change for the 30-plus year program, which allows those who are considering a career in law enforcement the chance to complete the program in less time, said program director Chris Nesbitt.

The program is designed to provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills expected of an entry-level law enforcement officer. The course is taken by newly employed or prospective law enforcement officers seeking to meet the certification requirements of the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission. The commission sets and maintains the curriculum for the course, which has not changed.

Before the change, classes met Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. In the fall, classes will be conducted Monday through Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“They meet half the time as the day class so it takes those students twice as long to complete. That was a challenge, and I’m truly inspired by those students who stick to it and have the grit to start the program and finish because it’s a long, long journey,” Nesbitt said.

Nesbitt and Michael Quillen, vice president of the division of academic programs, said staff kept getting feedback from students who wanted to know what they could do to shorten the classes.

Quillen said the trade-off was that students would now attend classes every Friday and instructors would reduce the number of breaks in the evening classes.

“The individuals who are interested in BLET are driven to this type of career; they really want to do it. This move has made it where they can get the necessary training as quickly as possible while not minimizing any of the content or quality,” Quillen said.

College officials realized that because the night classes are much smaller in size staff wouldn’t need to spend as much time on some topics. The day classes average about 20 and up to 30 students while the night classes typically average about 12 students.

If a day class has physical activities that take each student four minutes to complete, for instance, it makes sense that it would not take a smaller night class the same amount of time to complete those same activities, said Craig Lamb, vice president of continuing and corporate education.

“The content is exactly the same,” Lamb said.

The changes that were made allowed the college to shave two months off the course.

“That’s the goal: to create some interest, some additional interest in attending a night course. I think people that get into this profession they want to do it regardless,” Nesbitt said.

Potential students can still sign up for night classes, which begin Aug. 24 and will conclude March 26.

For more information about the curriculum for the law enforcement programs offered at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College visit rccc.edu/lawenforcement/ or email Nesbitt at chris.nesbitt@rccc.edu.

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