Police Recruit program benefits police department, students and community

Mitchell Community College and the Statesville Police Department (SPD) have recently partnered a program to close a skills gap and better recruit, train and retain dedicated officers. The innovative Police Recruit program allows qualified citizens with no prior police training to attend Mitchell’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET). Those selected are hired as a Police Recruit by SPD and paid while attending the BLET program. After successfully completing and graduating from BLET, recruits will be paid the starting salary of a patrol officer.


With eight new officers sworn in and four currently completing training, a total of 12 Mitchell BLET graduates–four from the fall 2016 night class, eight from spring 2017 day class–will join the SPD. “This partnership is an excellent opportunity to train and develop quality officers to serve our community,” said Tina Fleming, BLET Coordinator, “We hope this partnership will be the first of many!”


SPD Chief Joseph Barone and Captain Tom Souther, SPD Professional Standards Division, noted the program has increased the overall quality of applicants. “These recruits are going into BLET with a personal drive and motivation which translates to outstanding performance, something that we absolutely cannot take credit for,” said Chief Barone. “We were very impressed with our first group of five recruits who graduated from the Spring 2017 BLET Day Class.” Captain Souther added that the program opens doors of opportunity. “It has been a mutually beneficial program by offering a unique opportunity for individuals who are interested in a career in law enforcement and motivated to go through the selection process but may not have the means to do so due to current employment or financial constraints,” he said.  


The Police Recruit program, according to SPD, has been so successful because of the perfect combination of Quality Individuals, a Quality Selection Process, and a Quality Educational Environment. The program’s positive impact on recruiting high-quality, committed officers, has prompted several area departments to consider implementing a similar program.


To learn more about SPD's Police Recruit prgoram, contact Captain Souther at (704) 878-3536 or For more information on Mitchell's BLET program, contact Tina Fleming at (704) 878-3253 or


Pictured above: Mitchell's spring 2017 day BLET class. Eight of the pictured students have been sworn in or will be sworn in with the SPD.