Latest BLET Graduation at A-B Tech is a Family Affair

Jamil Hawes, Basic Law Enforcement Training graduate, is congratulated by retiring A-B Tech President Dennis King.

Three dozen A-B Tech Basic Law Enforcement Training students completed their training and passed their state exams in December, with some continuing a family tradition in the profession.

Jamil Hawes, who used to work at the Buncombe County jail, followed his sister Lakeisha’s career path. She is currently an officer at the Asheville Police Department.

“I wanted to help my community,” Hawes said. He also said his mother encouraged him in his quest for a new career. The A-B Tech Police Department sponsored Hawes’s training and has offered him a full-time job as an officer.

A total of 36 graduates from the summer day class and spring night class were honored in a ceremony at the College after each of the cadets passed a 300-question, six-unit certification exam.

Retiring A-B Tech President Dennis King was one of the guest speakers, along with Mars Hill Police Chief Michael Garrison. King passed on seven pieces of advice to the graduates, which included celebrating successes, being humble, ethical, and open to change.

Graduate Garrett Elkins said he always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. His father, Captain John Elkins of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department, said, “It’s not an easy decision to make and it’s a tough career choice. I’m blessed to have a son who wanted to do this.”

In addition to Elkins, graduates with family ties in policing included Randall Dalton Sorrells, son of recently retired Major Randall Sorrells, and Tanner Scott Bissinger son of another retired sheriff’s deputy. Their fathers worked for the Sheriff’s Department together and were able to watch their sons graduate in the same class.

About A-B Tech Community College

Founded in 1959 in the heart of Asheville, A-B Tech is the largest higher education institution in Western North Carolina, serving approximately 25,000 students a year in Buncombe and Madison counties. A-B Tech offers more than 120 degrees, diplomas and certificates, as well as a wide range of workforce training and continuing education programs.

Now celebrating its 60th year, A-B Tech includes the main Asheville campus, A-B Tech Enka (home of the A-B Tech Small Business Center and Business Incubation Program, Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast and N.C. BioNetwork), A-B Tech Madison, A-B Tech South, A-B Tech Woodfin and the Goodwill Center in West Asheville.

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