Wednesday, November 8, 2023–10:09 a.m.
Friends, family, and the community gathered in the Conference Center at Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Gordon County Campus in Calhoun on Oct. 26 to honor 16 students graduating from Basic POST Certification Class BPC1 #2023-05.
The Basic POST Certification (BPC) program is designed to train and prepare graduates for employment as entry-level Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) certified police officers. The 11-week program is part of GNTC’s Law Enforcement Academy.
“There are challenges,” Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood, guest speaker for the ceremony, told the graduates. “There are ups and downs.”
“You will make mistakes,” he said. “Listen. Watch. Observe. Learn from the experience of the senior officers you will work with.”
Law enforcement is an honorable profession, he said, urging the graduates not to do “anything to tarnish that badge.”
Andres Martinez, the student speaker for the ceremony, reminded his fellow graduates that they are community builders and serve as a bridge between order and chaos.
Bryce Walker was presented with the “Top Gun” award for excellence in marksmanship, and Colton Stooksbury received the Academic (Honor Graduate) Award for having the highest grade point average.
Walker and Austin Watkins were presented the Honor Plaque for shooting a perfect score at least once during firearms training.
Graduates recited their Oath of Honor after the ceremony, vowing “On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character, or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the Constitution, my community, and the agency I serve.”
Graduates of GNTC’s Basic POST Certification Class #BPC1-2023-03 are Nicholas Chafin, Johnny Holder, Floyd Loftis, Andres Martinez, Dakota Morgan, Jose Orellana, Juan Padilla, Megan Powers, Austin Rainwater, Arnold Rodriguez, Shaw Scott, Colton Stooksbury, Bryce Walker, Austin Watkins, Kenny Wilson and Randall Windom.
A majority of the graduates are already employed in law enforcement.
Juan Padilla, Austin Rainwater, Colton Stooksbury, and Bryce Walker are employed by the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office.
Megan Powers and Randall Windom are employed by the Murray County Sheriff’s Office.
Floyd Loftis, Shaw Scott, Austin Watkins and Kenny Wilson are employed by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office.
Johnny Holder is employed by the Georgia Department of Community Supervision.
Dakota Morgan, Jose Orellana, and Arnold Rodriguez are pre-service.