In an effort to provide students, faculty, staff, and visitors with the safest environment possible, Columbus Technical College now has its own men in blue to serve and protect everyone on the campus. Serving alongside seven security personnel are three sworn/certified police officers and each has full arrest powers. Those privileges didn’t come overnight. Earning the title of “police force” was an arduous process – one that took the better part of a year.
The officers, Chief Sam Prophet, Dep. Chief Henry Edwards, and Capt. Thomas Mitchell, have a combined 55 years’ experience but when it comes to earning the right to wear a policeman’s uniform, they had to go through POST (peace officers standard training council of Georgia) certification and training like any other law enforcement officer. Prophet, Edwards and Mitchell are all veterans of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Dept. while Edwards used to work with the Columbus Fire Department before going to the Sheriff’s office. The mandated training is currently provided by the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Department, but after the first of the year the training will be provided in-house by Lieutenant Felix Davila who is a POST certified law enforcement instructor and the program manager of the Criminal Justice program at Columbus Technical College.
Chief Prophet called the training extensive. “There were blocks of instruction dealing with everything from handling domestic violence situations and elder abuse to firearms and taser training to appropriate use of force. There were also classes in administrative duties, report writing, traffic citations, and even civil liability. They covered the whole gamut of the law enforcement profession.
As part of their induction into the police agency family, the new force even has a completely-outfitted Dodge Charger as a pursuit vehicle and has re-equipped the security pickup truck with graphics and blue lights and siren just like the Charger. This will give them twice the coverage for the campus.
Chief Prophet is now looking to the future and how much having a certified police force will help Columbus Technical College thrive.
“It’s a big plus for the college. This means we have full powers like any other police agency in the United States,” Prophet said. “It gives us the authority we need to make this campus even safer.”