Law Enforcement Academy/GIS Program to Close
Ogeechee Technical College
   

The Ogeechee Technical College (OTC) Law Enforcement Academy (LEA), located at the Evans Technical Education Complex in Hagan, and the College’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program, located on the main campus, will cease operation at the end of the College’s fiscal year, June 30, 2017. The Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) certified Basic Law Enforcement program has been training law enforcement officers for the past seven years, while GIS has been offered for over 16 years. In announcing the decision to discontinue the programs, OTC president, Lori Durden, stated that the decision was difficult to make. “This was not a decision made lightly, or reached without considerable thought,” said Durden. “It certainly is not something we want to do, but something that we feel we must do to be fiscally responsible for the College.”

According to Durden, the LEA has operated at a deficit for quite some time, due to low enrollment and expenses involved with providing the necessary instructors and supplies. There are also other providers who offer similar training for much less, or for no cost at all. “We have been duplicating services offered at the Regional Academy in Garden City, and at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, and the cost and time requirement of our program is more for students. It has become harder and harder to compete,” stated Durden. POST offers its own training programs which were previously only for police agency sponsored candidates, whereas OTC could offer its program to those wishing to enter law enforcement without having a job already. About a year ago, POST regional academies began admitting those who were not already employed with a police agency. With less tuition and a five-week shorter term, the competition for OTC’s program became more significant. 

“I want to commend our faculty and staff for the fine job they have done training law enforcement officers.  We know that our graduates are highly qualified and prepared to enter the workforce. This decision is in no way a reflection on those who have worked so hard to provide a premier POST program,” said Durden. Durden also expressed her appreciation to many in the law enforcement community who have volunteered assistance for the program. “Whether someone who has been a guest speaker, or an agency who has donated a retired patrol car to be used on the driving range, or those who have hired our graduates, we have had support from many in the law enforcement community, and we are very grateful.” 

While the absence of the LEA at the Hagan location will leave unused space in the College’s facilities there, it is not expected that the space will be empty long.  “We hope to utilize the space vacated by the LEA for another credit program soon,” explained Durden. “Our goal is to meet the workforce needs of our communities as efficiently as possible, and utilizing space and financial resources to their maximum potential is one way we meet our mission.”  

Ogeechee Tech will continue to offer its Criminal Justice program for those interested in a career in law enforcement. The final graduation ceremony for the LEA will take place May 4 in the Kennedy Auditorium on the College’s main campus in Statesboro. 

GIS has been offered at the College much longer than the Basic Law Enforcement program, but has seen its own challenges related to enrollment.  With declining numbers for several years, it reached a point where it is no longer financially feasible to provide the program, according to Durden. 
“One advantage of our technical college system is the capacity to adjust our programs to the needs of the local communities. While we are discontinuing some programs, we are adding new ones to meet the needs of our area. We always want to be responsive to the workforce demands of our area, and that need, or lack thereof, helps determine which programs we offer,” said Durden. 
  

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Contact Information

Barry Turner
Vice President for College Advancement
Phone: 912.681.5500 | Email: bturner@ogeecheetech.edu

 

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