Updated:NEWTON COUNTY, Ga —
A Georgia program that trains future police officers received a big honor Tuesday.
The academy at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, in Newton County, held a ceremony marking its national accreditation -- becoming the first nationally accredited law enforcement academy in Georgia.
The first class graduated in 2009 and in the last five years the academy sent 150 cadets to law enforcement agencies all over the state. The academy now has a new class of cadets who will spend 17 weeks and more than 700 hours training at the academy.
"I feel like it's kind of setting the tone for training in the state. I want to raise the standard for training law enforcement officers," said the academy's Director Maj. Harry McCann
Tuesday’s ceremony became even more important in light of events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the debate about officer training.
“We do crisis-intervention training, we do mental-health training in there, the community policing,” McCann said. “I want to raise the standard for training law enforcement officers."
Channel 2’s Steve Gehlbach spoke with McCann who says they go beyond the requirements to make sure their graduates not only have the technical skills they need as officers, but the skills and sensitivity to work in diverse communities.
“My training philosophy for these folks is, train them to deal with my family. They can deal with my family, whether they’re suspects, victims or whatever the case may be, and they do it the right way, then what else can you say about it?” McCann said.