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Reinhardt Police Academy offers flexible classes for working adults

By Erika Neldner

With backgrounds and expertise of those going in to the public safety field continuing to change, the Police Academy at Reinhardt University offers a great way for working adults to earn their credentials.

Earlier this year, the Police Academy at Reinhardt began holding its classes at Chattahoochee Technical College’s Woodstock campus through a lease agreement.

Reinhardt’s program is structured in a flexible, non-traditional format, allowing those with full-time jobs and/or family responsibilities to earn basic law enforcement certification. 

“Our program attracts a wide array of professionals from outside of public safety with a desire to serve in new ways,” said Trey Drawdy, who serves as the academy’s director. 

The academy has more than 300 alumni with attorneys, educators, executives and business owners counted among the ranks.  

Two current Reinhardt University peace officer candidates are broadening their horizons by obtaining the required training to become certified police officers.

Terry Giese currently manages staffing for Verizon Wireless. He said the skills he has learned over the years, including his professionalism and communication skills, will transition well into the law enforcement community. He also is on his way to obtaining his personal fitness goals to be a fit officer.

“The academy for me has been life altering in the best of ways. Beyond the coursework, I began a health and fitness plan when I started. Understanding the physical demands of the job, I knew that getting into shape and eating healthy had to be one of my main priorities,” Giese said. “As for the instructors, they are all knowledgeable and experienced, which is critical for students in my opinion. It's one thing to teach a topic, but another to apply your learning to how it's important in real life. Director Drawdy and Major (Chris) Findley are phenomenal instructors in every way and do just that. We are lucky to have such a talented staff.”

Dr. Scott Pennington is an orthopedic surgeon, and while is not looking to change his career, he wants to help and provide medical aid to those in need. So he decided to use his skills as a medical doctor and combine them with police officer training to serve as a reservist and possibly Special Weapons and Tactics teams to provide emergent trauma care and on-site support. Many SWAT teams across the nation include paramedics on their teams, but without peace officer certification, paramedics cannot protect or defend any of their fellow team members in the event of an altercation.

“I have always had a desire to serve. The past few years have been unusually difficult for police officers and first responders. I hope that in some way, by becoming a reservist, I can provide immediate medical attention to the officers as needed,” Pennington said. “I have sincerely enjoyed my time at Reinhardt’s Police Academy. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to our teachers and instructors who have truly been outstanding. My fellow classmates are an incredible group of people, and I am honored to serve with each and every one of them.”

The Police Academy at Reinhardt offers flexible class schedules for the working adult. After completing the 20-week program, peace officer candidates use the 15 credit hours toward the award of an associate degree in criminal justice.

Nearing the end of the program, most candidates have job offers waiting.

“My primary goal is to become a patrol officer and with only a few weeks remaining, I have three agencies that have offered me a position,” Geise said. “Initially, I will want to focus on learning the streets and the community to become the best patrol officer I can be.”

“As a tenured leader in the corporate world, I hope to begin working on my intermediate and advanced POST (Peace Officer and Standards Training) certifications as quickly as possible. These will help pave the way for promotional opportunities that will open the door to the leadership positions I hope to reach some day,” he continued.

Recruitment and screening are underway for the next session of the Academy, which starts July 31.  The deadline for application is June 30.  For more information, call (770) 720-5925 or visit Reinhardt.edu/police-academy.

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