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Advisory committee draws public safety professionals to SCC-PSTC

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Friday, August 8, 2014
Jose Rodriguez of the Cherokee Police Department completed his Basic Law Enforcement Training at SCC and is now a member of the Western North Carolina public safety advisory committee that helps guide future decisions for SCC’s Public Safety Training Center.
Curtis Dowdle, dean of public safety training at SCC, addresses the Western North Carolina Public Safety advisory committee on July 30 in Macon County.
Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland participated in the Western North Carolina public safety advisory committee on July 30 at SCC’s Public Safety Training Center.

The dozens of civil servants who descended on Southwestern Community College’s Public Safety Training Center (SCC-PSTC) on July 30 represented a wide range of agencies at the federal, state and local levels.

The administrators, first responders, firefighters and law enforcement officers have different responsibilities and serve all manner of geographic regions, but one question at the start of their Western North Carolina public safety advisory committee meeting united everyone in attendance.

“Who in here has received training at SCC?” asked Curtis Dowdle, SCC’s dean of public safety training.

Every public safety professional in the room stood up.

That exercise set the tone for participants to assess and offer input on the SCC-PSTC’s services.

Among those in attendance was Jose Rodriguez, a 2000 graduate of SCC’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program who currently serves as training coordinator for the Cherokee Police Department.

“This kind of meeting is very important,” said Rodriguez, whose department has several people currently enrolled in SCC’s BLET program. “There are a lot of needs that departments have. So to be able to talk directly to the (SCC-PSTC) director and instructors is a huge help. Whether we talk to them here or call them or send an e-mail, they answer our questions and will consider adding something if we need it.”

Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland, who went through SCC’s BLET program in 1993, said the training SCC-PSTC provides is: “extremely important. You can never learn too much. … We get our regular law enforcement updates and learn new techniques.”

Before sending participants into breakout sessions for EMS, fire/rescue and law enforcement, Dowdle gave the group an operations overview as well as a summary of SCC’s master plans for expanding in Macon County – including some specific long-range hopes for enhancing the public safety training facilities and consolidating those with SCC’s existing Macon Campus.

“The feedback we get every year from this committee is vital to us,” Dowdle said. “The information we get helps guide our decisions regarding which programs to offer and how we can best deliver them to the agencies we serve.”

For more information about SCC-PSTC, call 306-7041 or visit:  www.southwesterncc.edu/pstc.