MORE HEAD – According to Amy Snider-Wells, manager of the college’s BLET and criminal justice programs, recent renovations to Carteret Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training building and range are welcome upgrades for students. law enforcement agencies and county students.
“All of the police chiefs have shared how much they appreciate the upgrades and renovations,” she said at the CCC board meeting Oct. 12 at the historic Camp Glenn building. “We are here to support law enforcement and public safety.”
After the meeting, the directors toured the newly renovated BLET facilities. Renovations include upgraded classrooms, a communal kitchen and small dining room, a women’s locker room, new lockers for male cadets, a training mat room, and renovated offices.
There is also a plan to provide updated training materials. In addition, college horticulture students will soon be landscaping around the building.
The estimated cost of the BLET renovations was $349,000, most of which came from county funds.
“The county has been very helpful with the BLET renovations,” said CCC Chair Dr. Tracy Mancini.
Snider-Wells thanked everyone who made the renovations a reality.
“Thank you. We couldn’t do any of this without your support,” Snider-Wells said.
Dr. Mancini said she hopes the renovations will show the college’s support for law enforcement and public safety in the county.
“These are our first responders, and we must treat them with dignity,” Dr. Mancini said.
Morehead City Police Chief Bryan Dixon, who is also an assistant law enforcement instructor at CCC and Craven Community College, joined the administrators for part of their tour. He agreed that the improvements were much needed and welcomed by first responders.
“I did the BLET training here in 1999,” he said. “The changes we’re getting are great.”
He further briefed administrators on the state-of-the-art simulation equipment for law enforcement training used at Craven Community College.
“That’s one of the reasons I also teach at Craven,” he says. “We need this simulation training for our officers. We need those split-second decision-making skills.
CCC Administrator Catherine Parker said she was interested in getting a simulator for the CCC.
“I would like to add to our wish list to have a simulator here,” she said. “I want to keep this on our agenda.”
Chief Dixon estimated the cost of a simulator at around $100,000.
Another suggestion from Chief Dixon was the need for a practice track where officers can train in vehicles.
During the regular meeting, Parker said she’s glad the college is helping county law enforcement feel appreciated.
“I am so happy that law enforcement in our county feels appreciated. With the weather across the country, we have much to be proud of as a county,” she said.
CCC administrator Robin Comer, also a county commissioner, asked if the college was considering adding telecommunications training to the BLET program. Comer said that despite increased wages and other efforts, the county is struggling to retain 911 carriers.
Dr Mancini said Perry Harker, CCC’s vice president of business and community education, had been discussing ideas with county emergency services director Stephen Rae, including proposing a living room for employment to showcase various careers in public safety.
Snider-Wells said there are many other careers in public safety besides being patrol officers.
“During our BLET course, we take officers to the 911 center so they can see what’s going on. It’s a public safety route other than being an officer. We need people in the public records and we we need people in communications,” she said.
Administrator Wrenn Johnson, retired Morehead City Police Chief, agreed that addressing the shortage of 911 carriers was essential.
“We have a 70% to 80% turnover rate in the 911 center, and it’s appalling,” she said. Administrator Rosa Langston agreed that the college should highlight other careers available in law enforcement.
“There are many career opportunities in law enforcement,” she said.
In addition to renovations to the BLET building, the college also made improvements to its firing range in Newport, which is used by BLET students and law enforcement. This has included the destruction of a dilapidated tower, the improvement of the dirt berm where the targets are set up, the improvement of the roads in the range and the laying of fresh turf to alleviate the muddy conditions. The college also plans to add a second shooting range. The goal is to complete the project in fiscal year 2022-2023.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email [email protected]; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.