News Release

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Zaundra Brown
Director of Public Relations and Information
404.297.9522, ext. 1757


Georgia Piedmont’s Law Enforcement Academy Successfully Hosts First Community Policing Training Conference

Newton County, GA. - February 04, 2016

In light of recent incidents that have raised tensions between law enforcement agencies across the country and the communities they serve, Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) hosted a week-long training session for veteran police officers called “Beyond Community Policing; Building & Sustaining Positive Relationships for the Long Term.” More than 40 law enforcement officers from nearly a dozen metro Atlanta agencies attended the 40-hour training session at the college’s Newton County campus. Through the training, Georgia Piedmont’s Law Enforcement Academy hoped to address these issues, bringing both sides to the table to foster better understanding and open lines of communication.

This training is a first step in strengthening the communication bridge between our communities and law enforcement,” said Dr. Jabari Simama, President, Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC). The conference attendees were presented with information on various topics, ranging from effective communication with minority groups to cultural diversity and cultural responsiveness. The week ended with breakout sessions on dealing with community members who have mental health issues and crisis intervention. Each session was presented by experts in their respective fields, many of whom are faculty members of the Law Enforcement Academy.

As the first Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA)-accredited law enforcement academy in the State of Georgia, the GPTC Law Enforcement Academy is in a perfect position to offer innovative training to current law enforcement agencies, as well as bring community leaders to the discussion table. The conference began with opening remarks by Dr. Cedric Alexander, President, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and DeKalb County’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Public Safety. He told the group, “Get to know the people in your community. It will make your job easier and less dangerous,”

The response to our inaugural training has been very positive. The topics presented to these veteran officers are timely and have given them a different perspective and insight on the jobs they do every day,” stated Major Harry McCann, Jr., Director, GPTC Law Enforcement Academy. Communication was a theme early in the week. Officers were trained on the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication, and the magnitude of how it can either enhance or hurt the relationship they have with the community.

The group was also urged to use technology to help keep the community informed about police events and activities. “Use Social Media to your advantage,” said Dr. Alexander. “We live in a world today where video will be out there. Law enforcement must work harder to positively engage our communities and use social media to get the information out to the public quickly. Get your story out before everybody else writes it for you,” he continued.

The 40-hour training, which is POST (Georgia Peace Officer Standards & Training) Council approved, culminated with the officers sharing a meal and discussing issues with about 50 community members and activists from the officers’ respective jurisdictions. One of the goals of this training and community meeting was to open the dialogue between the two groups and to foster a greater trust between police and the people in the community they serve. “Building trust is the most basic and fundamental thing we can do to reduce crime in our communities,” Alexander told the group.

It is usually and ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality. It shouldn’t be that way. We need to shine a light on the good things,” says Matt Sitter, a Chamblee resident who attended the community roundtable. “Having something like this forum helps bridge the gap and focuses on the common ground we all share,” added Sitter.

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About Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Established in 1961, Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) is one of the top technical colleges in Georgia. As a student-centered institution, GPTC prepares individuals with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing, global economy. In August 2016, Georgia Piedmont was ranked among the top ten technical colleges in terms of enrollment by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. GPTC’s graduation rate is more than 74.3 percent, and its graduates secure employment at a level resulting in a 98.7 percent placement rate. With nearly 4,000 students, Georgia Piedmont’s adult education program is among the largest in the state. The college has 12 learning centers in DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale and Morgan counties. As set forth in its student catalog, Georgia Piedmont Technical College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion, disability, age, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, veteran status, or citizenship status (except in those special circumstances permitted or mandated by law). Contact Lisa Peters, the ADA Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1154, or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-170; or Dr. Debra Gordon, the Title IX Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1176, or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-103 for assistance. For more information about our graduation rates and other important program information, please visit our website at

A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.