Basic Law Enforcement Training at Surry Community College In-depth


Make a difference in your community! Become a
law enforcement officer. Surry Community College offers a six-month Basic Law Enforcement Training
program that gives entry-level individuals the skills to become certified police officers
and deputy sheriffs in the state of North Carolina. The reasons people go into law enforcement
are similar – a desire to serve their communities through a career that is meaningful and exciting. “My path that lead me into this career,
this profession, as a law enforcement officer was more of a calling. I know many would
say they had family members or others that they knew were in this field. For myself,
it just felt like a calling – a place that I needed to be – to help serve and protect
and work in the community where I live. Lefevre is a SCAT or Subject Control and Arrest
Techniques Instructor with Surry Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training
program. He came through Surry’s BLET program in 2002 and is a Patrol Lieutenant with the
Surry County Sheriff’s Department. We try to enforce that fact being physically
fit is really important for officers in the field, not just that we want to get them through
this course, so they can pass the requirements of the BLET program, but that physical fitness
is a foundation. It’s amazing in the BLET program to see the cadets or the students
as they come in to see them complete something that they might not have thought they could
before. I like helping people and I really want to
make a difference, and I thought what better way to do that than law enforcement. The instructors that we have here, they have a
great amount of knowledge. So if you do have any questions or don’t understand something, they’d be quick to give you
an answer. It’s a blast. I haven’t regretted doing this one day since we started. BLET Student Elizabeth Simmons decided to
go into law enforcement because police officers had helped her family through difficult times. We have great instructors. They push us hard
all of us, and they don’t really allow failure. So, that’s a good thing. One of things I
have gotten from this program is confidence. A majority of the sheriff’s deputies and
city police officers in this region received Basic Law Enforcement Training at Surry Community
College with hundreds of officers having gone through the program since its inception in
1974. Ronald Hill is the Director of Law Enforcement
Programs at Surry Community College’s Center for Public Safety where the BLET program is
headquartered. Hill came through Surry’s BLET program as
a deputy sheriff in 1975. He has 40 years of law enforcement experience under his belt
having retired as the Chief of Mount Airy Police Department Chief. He took over the
BLET program in 2013. It’s a calling. It’s a career. It’s
not a job. A person is looking for a job – they are looking at the wrong place. This is a
career. It’s a lot of negatives. Your shifts are terrible. There are swing shifts. You
see the very worst in people, but you also see some of the best. You can look back and
say well I made a difference in someone else’s life. Not everybody can do that. It has to
be that type of mentality that goes into law enforcement. BLET is a 680-hour program with 37 topics
covered including everything from ethics, constitutional law, motor vehicle law to criminal
investigation and anti-terrorism. Surry Community College operates three BLET schools each year,
two day schools and a night school. One thing that Surry Community College has
done, which I am extremely proud of, is our instructors – the quality of our instruction
is excellent. We have a 100 percent passing rate for the state comprehensive written exam,
and that is something that is just not common. Barry Vanhoy is the BLET Lead Firearms Instructor
who works for the Mount Airy Police Department as Patrol Captain. He is also a graduate of
Surry’s BLET program. I had a full-time job that I worked third
shift and went to Surry Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program night
class to fulfill my dream of becoming a police officer. It’s just been a blessing since.
I feel like this profession is a calling, and I was called to do it. And, 24 years now,
I don’t dread a day of it. I go into work, and it is something new and different every
day. We have folks that have never shot guns, and
we have folks who have a lot of experience with guns. So we try to bring that individual
who has never had that experience up to their level and get everybody on the same page.
One advantage of choosing Surry Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training
program is our weapons. We have generation 4 glocks that have recently been purchased.
We also have Remington 870 shotguns that will shoot double 00 buck shot,
1 oz. slugs. We also have AR-15, .223 rifles that gives these students some long gun training
that they may not get anywhere else. Also the college gives extended hours on the shot
gun training that have been taken out of many BLET programs over the last few years. Agencies
around here still carry those shotguns in their patrol vehicles and is a very valuable
weapon. BLET students at Surry also have access to
excellent nearby training facilities. The Mount Airy Firearms Range has a turning target
system along with a shoot house for close quarter combat training, force-on-force training,
team movement and room clearing. Students also practice on a 100-yard rifle range with
still targets and running man targets. Jesse Owens has been working at Surry since
1989 as a BLET instructor. Students want to come here, and they want
to participate in our programs. And it makes Surry college one of the best colleges in
the state, and I am proud to be part of Surry Community College. After I show them practicals, they say “oh
man I don’t know if I can do this or not.” We get them out there and demonstrate the
different types of movements the car will make how it tracks, how it corners, how it
breaks and how it steers. And, we try to take them from a slow different course, and then
we bring them to the last day, which is our pursuit course. Students complete eight hours of classroom
work and then drive for 40 hours through different practicals. It’s pretty exhilarating. You kind of get
a rush from it, especially when the instructors are driving because they are the most experienced.
It’s fun, but at the same time you have to be safe. I chose Surry Community College for Basic
Law Enforcement Training because I wanted to find the most experienced and professional
teachers that I could, and that is what I found here at Surry Community College.” I had researched numerous different schools,
and Surry wasn’t the closest for me. However, I felt like it was better suited to my needs,
and they really impressed me when I interviewed for their BLET program. The instructors so
far have been great – they are very thorough. That’s what I love about Surry is that all
of our instructors have the experience and can share that with us. Taking BLET can help students go into related
career paths. Graduates receive 12 credit hours toward the Criminal Justice Technology
degree at Surry Community College. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol also offers
an accelerated program for BLET graduates. Military veterans are highly suitable candidates
for the BLET program. The reason I am going into law enforcement
is that I did four years in the military, and after serving my country, I think it would
be best for me to serve my community – something I have always wanted to do. I think it’s a great career path for anyone
that’s been in the military. There are a lot of things that we have done in the military
that applies to law enforcement – the discipline, just serving your country then going to serving
your community. The transition from military to law enforcement – I think it has been
pretty easy. Team work applies a lot. There is a bond between law enforcement officers.
That is something I always enjoyed about the military and also something I will enjoy about
law enforcement also. The job marketing is excellent for BLET graduates.
Law enforcement officers are in high demand with state and regional agencies heavily recruiting.
Some agencies are giving conditional offers of employment before students even graduate
from the program. Surry graduates have become agents with the State Bureau of Investigation,
N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles and Alcohol Law Enforcement along with serving their local
communities as police officers and deputies. For more information, contact Ron Hill at
(336) 386-3292. For program updates, follow the program on facebook @surryblet. You can
also go to surry.edu for more information.

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