ETBU’s Peace Officer Program Begins with Training Exercise in Colorado
MARSHALL – First day of classes for East Texas Baptist University students started on August 25 but the cadets in the Law Enforcement Academic Alternative (LEAA) Peace Officer Training Program began their training as future peace officers weeks before with a trip to Colorado. LEAA cadets Matt Argenbright, Zach Jones, Jordan Anderson and Dyllon Morin, went to a campground in the southern area of Colorado, on the Conejos River near Antonio for the beginning of their peace officer training. The trip was not a summer vacation but a field training experience to prepare the cadets for their first year in the new program.
According to Dr. William Griffith, ETBU Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Law Enforcement, the location was chosen because of its remoteness. “The location was not too far away from modern conveniences but far enough so that the students could concentrate on the task,” said Dr. Griffith. “The location was selected because it offered good training resources including rugged mountains, fast flowing rivers and ideal practice areas.”
“The primary goal for the nine day exercise away from campus was to allow the students to explore a future career as peace officers and their faith and its application to real world issues,” said the retired chief of police with over 40 years in experience in law enforcement. “The second goal was to begin to form an attitude of professionalism based on working together as a team. Service, knowledge and skills, ethics, respect for community members and recognition of the principles given within the U.S. Constitution and related laws where all stressed as essential to being a professional peace officer.”
The day began for the cadets each morning at 5:00 a.m. The day was organized in physical training, tactics training and serious discussions about the future. Mike Morin, Dyllon’s father, originally came along on the trip as a parent driver. With Mike’s training as a former Marine Recon soldier in Desert Storm he agreed to work with the students on drill and began to prepare them as a possible ETBU Honor Guard.
“On two of the nights, the students provided ‘sentry duty’ and had limited sleep. The goal was to prepare each for the future in which demands are made regardless of time or shift schedule,” explained Dr. Griffith. “Physical training was based on what could happen and surviving the situation. Mental training was also impacted through practice and discussions. Camp services were usually centered on the application of our faith in Christ to the way we serve the community.”
The training was intense but with a purpose. “We learned some basic drill, and hand to hand tactics. We participated in quite a bit of physical training, usually morning workouts and evening workouts,” said Dyllon. “I learned, and I think I can speak for others when I say this, but being a peace officer is more than just enforcing laws, and reading the penal code.”
“We have a duty as peace officers to do more than just that. We need to be a part of the community and reaching out to those who can’t help themselves,” shared Dyllon.
The ETBU four year LEAA degree program with peace officer licensing is currently the only such program offered in the State of Texas. The goal of the program is to develop faithful servants of Christ who will provide public safety services to the communities they serve. Successful students will be able to complete all the requirements of a traditional police academy and more while also completing a four year university Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
“We get the opportunity to combine our faith in the Lord with our training. We will not be law enforcers who happen to be Christians, but we will leave being Christians who were called to be law enforcers,” said Argenbright, after returning from Colorado. “We have backed our training and things we have learned with verses found in the Bible, which sets us apart from others. For me to be in this program is an opportunity of a life time.”