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Lehigh Carbon Community College

Reinhardt University and the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office expanded an agreement geared at assisting CSO deputies further their education. Pictured, from left, are: Lt. Chris Sims, Capt. John Gunning, Major Dana Martin, Major Buster Cushing, Chief Deputy Ken Ball, Sheriff Frank Reynolds, Reinhardt Provost Mark Roberts, Dean Trey Drawdy, Vice President for Enrollment Management Julie Fleming, Director Jennifer Prine and MPA Coordinator Dr. Chris Findley. Photo by Erika Neldner

By Jordan Beach

The upcoming academic year will expand on a longstanding partnership between Reinhardt University and the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, providing a clear-cut educational pathway for public safety professionals.

Reinhardt and the CSO will work together to offer college-level academic programs taught in the proper facilities. The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Training Center in Canton will serve as the space for in-person classes taken for the Police Academy portion of the program.

The educational pathway was created to benefit the students participating, the sheriff’s office and the public.

“The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office is an agency looking to build strong leaders,” said Sheriff Frank Reynolds. “This partnership with Reinhardt University gives our deputies the chance to serve their community, earn their degrees and be a leader within the agency.”

The Associate of Science in criminal justice degree will offer a Police Academy option, allowing students to earn POST Basic Peace Officer Certification, which satisfies 15 semester hours of criminal justice coursework. After earning their associate’s degree, Cherokee sheriff’s deputies can move on to earn the Bachelor of Arts in organizational management and leadership.

As they earn rank within the sheriff’s office and establish themselves as leaders in the department, they can continue to the new Executive Command and Leadership program (ExCL), a degree program tied to management which includes attaining a Master of Public Administration.

Dean of the School of Professional Studies Trey Drawdy said the mission of the partnership is to provide responsive and mobile academic programs that will meet educational and training needs for first responders and other public safety professionals.

“Sheriff Reynolds and Reinhardt both recognize that education is intrinsically valuable to individual law enforcement officers, their employing agencies and is a valuable public good,” said Drawdy. “The intent is to make educational opportunities more accessible to CSO personnel and to create an educational pathway for public safety professionals.”

The partnership also provides the opportunity for scholarship. The Leader’s Scholarship of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office will be open to those in the Associate of Science in criminal justice Police Academy option and the organizational management and leadership programs. Other scholarship opportunities include the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Grant and the Special Tuition for the Master of Public Administration ExCL program.