Rockingham officer defines career at RCC

By Wylie Bell
Richmond Community College

HAMLET — Chauncey Saunders wasn’t sure what he wanted to do for a career, but Richmond Community College helped put him on the right path. Literally.

The Rockingham police officer said some of his family members have ended up on the wrong side of the law, and Saunders knew he didn’t want to find himself there, so enrolling in RCC’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program helped put his life on the right track.

Photo by Wylie Bell | RCC Officer Chauncey Saunders began working for the Rockingham Police Department soon after graduating Richmond Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program.

Photo by Wylie Bell | Richmond Community College
Officer Chauncey Saunders began working for the Rockingham Police Department soon after graduating Richmond Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program.

Plan B leads to right career 

Saunders, of Rockingham, started college with the goal of becoming an accountant because of his sharp math skills. Several months into the program, however, he realized this wasn’t the career he wanted, so he explored other educational opportunities offered at RCC. He enrolled in the BLET in March 2013 and quickly realized he’d found his niche.

“I was working at Bojangles while going through BLET,” Saunders said. “My day started at 4 a.m., and because BLET is an evening course, sometimes I wouldn’t get home until 11 p.m. Other than the weekends, I put in these long days for 8 months, so people can’t say they don’t have time to go to school.”

Putting in the time and the effort at RCC has led to a rewarding career for Saunders. After graduating from BLET, he worked for a short time at the Hamlet Police Department as an auxiliary officer before being hired by the Rockingham Police Department as a full-time officer.

“I love my job, and I actually enjoy going to work. The job offers something different every day,” Saunders said. “I’m hoping in a few years to be able to work in the narcotics division, which is an area that really interests me.”

About the BLET program

The BLET program provides students with the skills required for entry-level employment as law enforcement officers with state, county or municipal government, or with private enterprises. The program uses N.C. Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission mandated topics and methods of instruction.

Students learn criminal, juvenile, civil, traffic and alcoholic beverage laws and ethics and community relations. They learn investigative, patrol, custody and court procedures; they learn how to respond to emergencies as well as self-defense techniques and officer safety. The program also requires physical training, use of firearms and defensive driving.

Students must successfully complete and pass all units of study, which include the certification examinations mandated by the N.C. Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and the N.C. Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission to receive a certificate.

“The program is very well organized and has a strict code of conduct,” Saunders said. “You learn if you are going to be the one to enforce the rules, you must play by the rules.”

Sign up now

The next class will begin Feb. 2. Application packets are available at the front desk in the Lee Building on RCC’s main campus in Hamlet and at the Honeycutt Center, 600 McLean St., Laurinburg. Application packets are due before the start of class. Space is limited.

For more information about the program, call Chip Osborne, 910-410-1708, or the BLET coordinator’s office, (910) 410-1707.

For information about picking up an application, call Robin McNeill, 910-410-1700, or email rjmcneill@richmondcc.edu.

Wylie Bell is assistant director of marketing and communications at Richmond Community College.

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety, Rockingham

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