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New Facilities Strengthen BLET

A renovated classroom is just one of the new areas earmarked for Basic Law Enforcement Training at Edgecombe Community College. The modern facilities include showers, lockers, and a new multipurpose space for training and practical scenarios.

For the past seven years, Bernie Taylor has been running Edgecombe Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program out of one classroom on the Tarboro campus.

That all changed in late 2021 when the academy moved across campus from the Fleming Building to the Havens Building, expanding the program’s facilities to include showers, lockers, and a new multipurpose space for training and practical scenarios.

“We’ve come a long way,” Taylor says.

Taylor, a retired Edgecombe County deputy, took over as school director of the BLET program in 2014. The program quickly outgrew a small classroom in the Fleming Building, and the academy moved to a larger classroom in the same building. “But that’s all we had,” Taylor says.

To conduct training scenarios and administer the academy’s Police Officers Physical Abilities Test, which is required to pass the class, Edgecombe Community College had to rent space at local gyms, churches, and empty buildings.

“By expanding into the Havens Building, we’re saving money,” Taylor explains. “The classroom is in a better location, there’s more office and storage space, and we also have a larger room for physical training and instruction in subject control, baton training, and Taser training.

“In addition, we have shower facilities so we can have physical training in the morning instead of the afternoon.”

Taylor and the cadets in the most recent academy began the move to their new home in October. When the next academy begins in February, the BLET program will be completely established in the Havens Building.

Although Edgecombe Community College’s BLET program already offers more training hours than required by the state, Taylor says the new facilities will enable cadets to receive that training more efficiently.

The minimum state requirement for BLET is 640 hours, and Edgecombe offers a program of 768 hours. The extra hours include more physical training, more training in high-risk calls, and more time for individualized training.

“We’ve also brought shotgun training back to the academy,” Taylor says. “Toward the end of the academy, we provide training in expandable baton techniques, pepper spray, and Taser.

“Law enforcement agencies will often send out their new hires to get that training. But when cadets complete our academy, they are skilled in all of these areas and won’t need more training.”

BLET graduates also receive 18 college credit hours toward an associate degree in criminal justice.

“The new facilities are great,” Taylor adds. “We’re in our new location, and we can pass so many more opportunities on to our cadets.”

The college’s next Basic Academy for BLET begins February 14. To learn more, please contact or (252) 618-6613.