Basic Law Enforcement Training graduates score a 100 percent passing rate on state exam

Fourteen graduates from the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program at Gaston College recently completed their training and passed the state certification exam. Students in the class scored a 100% passing rate.

The BLET program spans over 18 weeks of intense training divided into 36 topics of instruction. Approximately 65% is in the classroom and 35% is practical hands-on training.

Students must master all 36 topics to be eligible to take the state certification exam. They are graded on written exams and practical skills. The exam is 300 questions that cover all topics of instruction. The students have a maximum of four hours to complete the exam that is administered by the N.C. Criminal Justice Standards Division out of Raleigh.

All law enforcement officers in N.C. are required to take this certification exam and must pass before they are eligible to be hired by any law enforcement agency in the state.

Graduates Justin Robinson and Brenda Robinson are married. They are the first husband and wife to come through a BLET class together at Gaston College,

 “Our program began in January but in March it was shut-down for three weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we had to reschedule all remaining classes. BLET students had to make up any class time they missed, and the blocks of instruction were required to be delivered in a prescribed manner,” says Dennis Crosby, Director of the Criminal Justice Academy and Basic Law Enforcement Training.

“This was an excellent class of students that put in a lot of extra time, beyond the 648 hours of mandated training accompanied by steadfast studying for the state exam, and it paid off. About half of the students in the class already have jobs in law enforcement, and I predict the others will find employment soon now that they are certified. Some will go to work for Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, Gastonia Police Department, NC ALE, G4S Security, and Capitol Special Patrol.

He added, “It’s a very comprehensive and compacted program, where the students attend class about 36 hours a week,” says Crosby. “Students have reading assignments and homework, so it is not designed for individuals who work a full-time job.”

Special awards were presented to five graduates in the following categories:

Top Gun – Top Firearms Student, Christopher Glen Parnell

Driving Award – Top Student, Zachary Dale Duncan

Police Officer Physical Abilities Test (POPAT) Challenge – Top Student Physical Training, Alex Colton Ledford

Director’s Award – Top Overall Student, Savanna Nye Donahue

Top Student Overall – State Exam, Savanna Nye Donahue

law enforcement training graduates

Attachment #1: Graduates from the Basic Law Enforcement Training program at Gaston College and their instructors are: (First row, pictured left to right), Dennis Crosby, BLET Director; Jessica Spurrier; Tanner Springs; Michael Caverly; Christopher Parnell; Zachary Duncan; Alex Ledford; Savanna Donahue, Class President; Brenna Robinson; and Melanie Hoyle- BLET Facilitator. (Second row), Shane Caughey, Assistant Director; Brett Campa, Class Vice President; Cristiano Pinheiro; Nicholas Stamey; Landon Tucker; Nathaniel Tarsitaro; and Justin Robinson.

“Over the past 10 years Gaston College has been among the top Basic Law Enforcement Training academies in the state. The exam pass rate has consistently been over 90% when the state average last year was 74%,” says Gaston College President Dr. John Hauser.

“I want to congratulate our Basic Law Enforcement Training graduates for their exceptional performance of achieving a 100% pass rate on their State Certification Exam. I also thank our outstanding BLET faculty and staff for their commitment to high standards in academic achievement for our students.”

The training cadre for the program consists of 120 certified law enforcement instructors. Most are full-time law enforcement officers from Gaston and Lincoln counties who teach part-time. Approximately 60 instructors teach during a typical BLET class. These instructors teach topics that have recent relevant real-world experience. Each instructor typically teaches only one of the 36 blocks of instruction that include driver training, firearms, defensive tactics, criminal law, search and seizure, and other related law enforcement topics.

 “These are very challenging times for law enforcement. But there are excellent opportunities for employment in this field for people who have the right stuff and can successfully complete our program,” says Crosby.

“It is a very difficult course both academically and physically. It is designed to be difficult because not everyone has what it takes to be a cop. Our goal is to provide quality training to prepare these people for a demanding but rewarding job in law enforcement. If you want to make a difference, sign up and take the challenge.”

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