Haywood Community College

NEWS RELEASE

Contacts: Debra M. Davis, Diana S. Conard



185 Freedlander Drive



Clyde, NC 28721



828-627-4521 Fax: 828-627-4513

Date: 1-3-06

For immediate release.

BLET STUDENTS GRADUATE AT HCC

The Haywood Community College Continuing Education Department recently awarded certificates to eight graduates of the college's Basic Law Enforcement Training Program.

To successfully complete the BLET program, graduates log more than 728 hours of class time over a 17-week period. At the end of that period, candidates must pass the Police Officer's Physical Aptitude Test. This is an obstacle/agility course in which participants must complete a variety of tasks, such as carrying dead weight, climbing stairs, and push-ups in a timed period. After graduates pass the four-hour state examination, they must be sworn in as an active law enforcement agent within 12 months, or lose their certification.

Shaun Messer of Waynesville was selected Top Cadet of the graduating class, an honor that is based not only on academics but on other merits as well. According to Jeff Haynes, HCC Coordinator of Public Service Training, this award is given to the cadet who has the best "never give up" attitude, is encouraging to other classmates, and shows the most potential to become a good law officer.

"BLET training is the most challenging thing that I have ever done in my life, but it is also the most rewarding," Messer, an officer with the Waynesville Police Department said. "With the experience and training, I have become more confident."

Bryan Reeves, Messer's classmate, couldn't agree more. Reeves now works part-time with the Waynesville Police Department. He earned the top-driving award for the class. According to Reeves, the BLET training is very intense. "There is a lot of information to learn. You get hands-on practice and it gives you a feeling of what you will actually be doing in the field," he said.

Bill Hollingsed, Chief of the Waynesville Police Department, spoke to the graduating class. "Today there are a lot of demands on law enforcement officers. A lot of focus is put on what you can do for your community. We are doing more to prevent abuse from occurring. The job today is as much about prevention as it is about enforcement," he said.

According to Haynes, graduates of the BLET program can work for over 750 agencies in North Carolina-from parks and recreation officers to police departments. He said graduates from HCC's BLET program are well represented throughout all Haywood County law enforcement agencies. From the local police departments to the sheriff's office, HCC graduates are on the job.

Haynes said, "Graduating from BLET training not only signifies a career change but also a life change. Once these graduates go to work in the field, their lives are never the same."

Graduates of the most recent HCC BLET class were A.J. Stamey, Rusty Rathbone, Shaun Messer, Matthew Trantham, Tanya Evans, Jerry Burrell, Bryan Reeves, and Jason Richie.

For information on Basic Law Enforcement Training, contact Jeff Haynes at 627-4548 or jhaynes@haywood.edu.

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(Curline): Shown in photo from left to right are recent HCC BLET graduates. Back row:: A.J. Stamey, Rusty Rathbone, Shaun Messer, and Matthew Trantham. Front row: Tanya Evans, Jerry Burrell, Bryan Reeves, and Jason Richie.