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Lehigh Carbon Community College

By Jordan Beach 

Students of Reinhard'ts ExCL program stand sociall distanced in the Echo Garden wearing law enforcement uniforms.

Reinhardt University’s Executive Command and Leadership Class of 2020

At the close of the Fall 2020 semester, Reinhardt will graduate its’ inaugural class from the Master’s in Public Administration degree program, also known as Executive Command and Leadership (ExCL).

“We are extremely proud of this first graduating class,” said Trey Drawdy, director of Reinhardt University’s Public Safety Institute. “They met the rigors and challenges of graduate study and came away with enhanced knowledge while developing principled, resourceful skills and abilities.  Reinhardt looks forward to the positive contributions these men and women will make as public safety leaders committed to the public good.”

The ExCL program combines specialized and advanced Georgia P.O.S.T. training with collegiate level academic study.

“Reinhardt’s Executive Command and Leadership program emerged from conceptional discussions held by law enforcement leaders serving on our advisory board over a decade ago. They envisioned a distinctive graduate program designed to promote diversification of professional thought among aspiring public safety executives and command staff members.”

According to Drawdy, the “practice-oriented, research-based and ethics-focused graduate program” serves to educate and prepare students for professional careers in public service, including leadership positions. The Georgia P.O.S.T. Council approved the program to satisfy training requirements for certifications in management and executive career development.

“We are grateful to our advisory board members and everyone who supported us in getting this program up and running,” said Drawdy. “We are especially thankful for the counsel, assistance and advice provided by the past and present leadership of the Georgia P.O.S.T. Council.”

Sergeant Dustin Walker of Union County Sheriff’s Office is one of the 12 students in the graduating cohort. When looking to pursue his MPA, Walker wanted a challenging program that would allow him to continue working as a law enforcement officer.

“Reinhardt’s ExCL program seemed to be the perfect fit because I could continue working the sometimes-abnormal hours that are required of my job, while also attending a graduate program,” said Walker. “The program is also administered by those with a law enforcement background who understand the difficulties for law enforcement officers trying to balance a full-time job – and often many part-time jobs – while receiving an education.”

The program broadened Walker’s mindset, teaching him to think more critically about the problems law enforcement agencies face and allowed him to network and conduct original research to learn how others handle these issues.

“Should I choose to pursue a doctorate in my field, the knowledge that I have received through the ExCL program will be the foundational elements that will allow me to reach that goal,” said Walker.

The inaugural class paved the way for future law enforcement professionals to succeed, as faculty and students worked through the challenges of a new program. Walker believes the program “has the potential to be a premier program for law enforcement managers and executives.”

“No other programs in our region offer what the EXCL program at Reinhardt offers its’ students,” Walker said. “I believe this program is beneficial to those seeking a graduate level education while maintaining a full-time law enforcement career. For that reason, I would recommend the ExCL program to other law enforcement professionals who are seeking a way to further their education while also receiving professional credit towards the P.O.S.T management and executive certifications.”