Wynkoop’s Big Win: BLET Graduate Lenny Wynkoop Aims to Impact Lives

For Lenny Wynkoop, 31, completing Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) and passing his state exam to become a police officer this spring represents more than just a career change. As a boy, he’d dreamed of being a cop and completed BLET training at A-B Tech ten years ago, but failed the exam. “It bummed me out,” he said, adding. “I found something else to do.”

That “something” was assembling motors for BRP Manufacturing in Spruce Pine for five years; then working as a relief operator for one of the two Sibelco-owned mines in Spruce Pine. The last job paid very well, but Wynkoop felt unfulfilled. In 2021 he had his first child, a baby boy who sparked thoughts of a long-term path he “could look forward to.” He’d been coaching youth basketball and football in Yancey County where he lived, and people kept telling him he had a gift for working with kids.

“I wanted a job that would impact others,” he said, adding, “Also, law enforcement was getting a bad name and it wasn’t fair to the officers. There are a lot of good ones out there.”

Wynkoop decided to give his childhood dream another chance and applied for a job with the Asheville Police Department. He started in November as a cadet and found himself in the BLET program again studying for that dreaded exam. The test, he said, had changed since he last took it. New state regulations dictated a different structure, which initially threw him off, but luckily, this time he passed and was also awarded the highest class title of lieutenant. Wynkoop credits his success to the support of his family and the regular study sessions he spent with his fellow students. “We got together and picked out topics,” he said.

Ultimately Wynkoop, a self-confessed adrenaline junkie, would like to use his people skills to combat active shooters or do crisis intervention work. For now, he’s enjoying his new position and his long-awaited success. “Passing that state test was like an empty hole, a “what if” in the back of my mind … It’s a big accomplishment and I’m very proud of myself.”

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