A-B Tech law enforcement program graduates 15 in diverse, distinguished class

Published on WLOS on June 8, 2023

Asheville, N.C. (WLOS) — Asheville police, along with most law enforcement agencies across the country, have struggled to recruit a sufficient amount of qualified officer candidates.

It's a challenge A-B Tech is hoping to help meet through its Basic Law Enforcement Training Program. The 5-6 month program takes candidates through the steps of training in law enforcement beyond the minimum requirements demanded by the state.

On Thursday, June 8, a class of 15 graduates received their diplomas, having distinguished themselves as the first class in 10 years to have all passed the state exam the first time around.

Twelve have also already secured jobs after graduation, with the other three closing in on opportunities.

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"This group has reignited my passion to not only be a trainer but to do whatever we can to keep our community safe," said BLET Program Director Daryl Fisher.

Among the distinctions that have made this class special is the range in ages of its students. With the youngest trainees in their early 20s, there are also graduates in other decades including 65-year-old Erich Junger. The sexagenarian decided to return to law enforcement after a 20-year absence.

“There’s no other profession like it,” Junger said. “Nowhere do you have a greater sense of serving the community and serving others, and that is the most important part.”

The diverse class was trained in recognizing cultural diversity, understanding implicit biases, and learning ways to de-escalate potentially violent situations.

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According to graduate Anna Green, the class's diversity and grounded training will mark the strength of its graduates.

“The more diverse we are, the more we’re able to help the community,” Green said, “because we’re going to have a better understanding of the people in our area.”

For younger graduates, like 21-year-old Matt Gorman, the training has meant an opportunity to step into the next chapter of life.

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“This has really pushed me out of my shell and allowed me to really grow as an adult,” Gorman said. “I have always been disciplined, but this has kind of pushed it to a new level.”

The next Basic Law Enforcement Training class begins at A-B Tech on July 21. For information visit Basic Law Enforcement Training Overview.

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