GNTC Law Enforcement Academy swears in new officers at graduation ceremony

December 13, 2019
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Ten Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) law enforcement students graduated from Basic Law Enforcement Training Classes #201901 and #201902 on Thursday, Dec. 12, during a ceremony held at the Conference Center on the Gordon County Campus.

According to Jim Pledger, program director and instructor of the Law Enforcement Academy, GNTC has had 24 classes and 23 graduations the ceremony. For this ceremony GNTC brought back a Basic Law Enforcement alumni speak at graduation for the first time. This year’s speaker was Sgt. Cathy Taylor who serves as the commander of the Rome-Floyd Metro Task Force. 

“This program was the foundation of my ability to respond, as it will be yours,” Taylor told the 10 men and women seated on the stage. “You are no longer citizens and are held to a higher standard.”

After the Floyd County police officer concluded her remarks, Pledger opened the podium up to two program graduates, one from each class, who shared their experiences with friends, families and fellow law enforcement personnel. Courtney Wilkerson, Academic ‘Honor Graduate’ Award recipient of class #201902 and Patrick Doyle Scholarship recipient, said the ceremony marked the completion of 700 Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) training hours which resulted in both physical and mental exhaustion.

Ten graduates of Basic Law Enforcement Training Classes #201901 and #201902 said the “Oath of Honor” on Thursday, Dec. 12, to conclude graduation.
Ten graduates of Basic Law Enforcement Training Classes #201901 and #201902 said the “Oath of Honor” on Thursday, Dec. 12, to conclude graduation.

“Today is the day we all looked forward to,” Drake Bargeron, Academic ‘Honor Graduate’ Award recipient of class #201901, said. “We will finally take our oath, receive our guns and our badges.”

According to Pledger, several of Thursday’s graduates were already employed by various law enforcement agencies before they took the “Oath of Honor.” Graduates Bargeron and Mason Craig had accepted jobs at the Murray County Sherriff’s Office; Scott Kent, class #201901 Firearms ‘Top Gun’ Award recipient, joined the Rome Police Department and Michael Durham, class #201902 Firearms ‘Top Gun’ Award recipient, is now employed with the Ringgold Police Department.

#201901 Graduates

  • Drake Bargeron
  • Scott Kent
  • Guadalupe Tirado
  • Jared Wilks

#201902 Graduates

  • Randy Barnett
  • Thomas Bell
  • Mason Craig
  • Michael Durham
  • Thomas Roberts II
  • Courtney Wilkerson


Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 12,785 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,499 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,286 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

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