TCL cuts the ribbon on two new criminal justice programs

technical college lowcountry

The Technical College of the Lowcountry recently announced two new criminal justice programs at a ribbon cutting ceremony last week, making it the first college in South Carolina to offer Pre-Police Academy programs.

“This is a prime example of the community and the college working together to provide a solution to a workforce issue,” said Mike Ricks, criminal justice program director.

The Basic and Advanced Pre-Police Academy certificate programs will provide critical weapons and skills training to newly hired officers and will allow students interested in law enforcement to explore and prepare for the career.

Courses were created and vetted by leadership from a variety of local and state law enforcement agencies, including the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. The Academy currently has a backlog of officers waiting to be trained, meaning more training rests on local agencies.

“There are a lot of agencies that do their own pre-academy but there are a lot of small agencies that just can’t. They don’t have the manpower or the time,” said SCCJA Director Lewis J. “Jackie” Swindler. “TCL’s programs will certainly benefit these agencies while also preparing officers to be more successful when they do come to us.”

The Basic Pre-Police Academy certificate program includes criminal justice courses such as law, physical fitness, defensive tactics, investigations and firearms. The Advanced Pre-Police Academy will feature expanded courses in physical fitness, constitutional law, report writing, crisis intervention and defensive/pursuit driving.

Community support helped make these programs a reality.

“Finding ways to secure adequate funding to support both current and new programs is a challenge we must share as a community,” Vice President for Advancement Mary Lee Carns said. “And our community is stepping up big.”

This spring, the City of Beaufort Police Department donated three police cars to the program. Last fall, a Palmetto Electric Cooperative’s Operation Round Up grant for almost $50,000 enabled the college to purchase a virtual weapons training system, which seeded the program.

“Not only were we helping the college with a new program, we were helping local law enforcement,” said Berl Davis, President and CEO of Palmetto Electric Cooperative. “We are proud to be part of this. We give back to the communities we serve and that’s what it’s all about.”

Learn more about the Pre-Police Academy programs at