College strikes partnership with FLETC

From the The Brunswick News

The College of Coastal Georgia and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center have formed a partnership that will especially benefit the men and women who enforce the nation's laws.

Students at the law enforcement training center will now be able to receive college credit for some of the extensive training they undergo.

Valerie Hepburn, president of the college, and Connie Patrick, director of Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, signed the credit initiative agreement during a ceremony at the Southeast Georgia Conference Center on the college's Brunswick campus Wednesday.

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center provides training for more than 80 federal law enforcement agencies.

"We've worked together on construction ideas, housing ideas, training ideas, campus safety," Hepburn said during the ceremony. "They helped us put together our recycling program and so much more. Through all of it, we've said we have to find a way for those students who are coming to FLETC, who are getting such good training, to get the academic credit they deserve to start building their portfolio."

Those in basic training at the center can earn up to a total of 12 credit hours through the college in four different courses - Introduction to Criminal Justice, Introduction to Law Enforcement, Introduction to Criminal Law and Introduction to Criminal Investigation. The credit hours can be applied towards degree programs from the college or transferred to another college or university.

"This is very exciting for us in the state as our governor has made college completion a significant priority," Hepburn said. "This kind of work with prior learning credits and recognizing educational learning experiences that aren't just within the college domain but taught by the best in the business with experts in criminal justice is one step towards that," Hepburn said.

Hepburn and Patrick said they already have some students at the federal center signed up.

Those trained in the past also might be eligible.

"We're working with more than 40 agencies to go back and determine whether many of the recent FLETC trainees are eligible or would like to apply for college credit," Patrick said. "Every employer wants to hire not only well-trained law enforcement professionals but many also want them to have professional degrees."

Hepburn and Patrick consider the credit initiative a positive move for everyone - students, the federal training center and the college.

"One of the things that makes this an even stronger opportunity is that the college now offers 24 of our core classes through electronic web-based learning. A student (at FLETC) who might come here from say, Arizona, could get those college credits here with this program and then go on to finish an associate degree with us remotely," Hepburn said.

At the end of the ceremony, Patrick presented Hepburn a special decorative coin usually reserved for honoring those in federal law enforcement for what she has done during the time the two institutions have worked together. Hepburn will step down as college president in May.

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Release Date: 2/28/2013
Source: The Brunswick News

By SARAH LUNDGREN