In the 1967-68 catalog of the Craven County Industrial Education Center, the predecessor to Craven Community College (CCC), the college only offered three law enforcement training courses. The first Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) courses were offered as part of the college’s extension division and held at county schools and other locations.
In 1969, the number of BLET courses expanded to five: Basic Law Enforcement, Crowd and Riot Control, Fire Arms Training, Criminal Investigation and Traffic Accident Investigations. The training program was overseen by Earl Murphy, director of extension. Murphy said the program started to expand as the area’s population grew, and as industry moved into the area and hired graduates as security guards.
For 30 years, Rick Barney has been involved with the BLET program, as a part-time instructor and currently serves as the program’s director. He is a retired law enforcement officer and is also chief of police for the City of Bridgeton. Barney is proud to say that the program has a good reputation because it meets and sometimes exceeds the training standards. For example, BLET students run seven miles instead of the 1.5 mile minimum physical training standards requirement.
Since its inception, BLET courses have been taught by experienced law enforcement professionals. The program is required to meet the standards of the N.C. Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission. Upon completion of the 624-hour training program, students are prepared to take the state exam. Students also earn 19 credit hours that can be applied toward a criminal justice or other associate’s degree.
Graduates can be found working at local, state and federal agencies, including city police departments, county sheriff departments, state highway patrol, correctional institutions, private security firms, and at state and federal bureaus of investigation.
When New Bern Detective Sergeant Paul Brown left the U.S. Army, he was deciding between a career in law enforcement and emergency medical service. Brown graduated from CCC’s BLET program in 1990 and earned an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2003. Brown started as a patrol officer in 1992, and now supervises five major crimes detectives for the City of New Bern Police Department.
Brown became a certified BLET instructor in 1997, and still teaches classes today. He teaches classes such as first responder, firearms, rapid deployment and patrol techniques. “It is really neat to tell new BLET students that I graduated from CCC’s program,” said Brown. He said that the BLET program prepared him for a variety of functions within the police department.
Follow the college’s 50-year history every Thursday for #tbt (Throw Back Thursday) posts on www.Facebook.com/CravenCC.
Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.