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Local law enforcement agencies aiding BLET students

By: Mike Gavin
Published: March 22, 2022

Two BLET students practice defensive positions behind car door.
Two BLET students practice defensive positions behind car door.

High-demand careers in law enforcement are available

SPINDALE (March 21, 2022) – A number of local law enforcement agencies are supporting Basic Law Enforcement Training students at Isothermal in ways like hiring the students early and paying for their classwork.

“These local departments are having a hard time recruiting officers,” said BLET director Philip Bailey. “This is a way for them to help encourage the next generation of officers to get involved and get a good start.”

The agencies that are already participating in this recruitment support program include the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Spindale Police Department, Forest City Police Department, Rutherfordton Police Department, and Saluda Police Department. The other agencies in the area are working toward similar initiatives.

Details on what each department is doing to support recruits are available from Bailey. An interview process will be required, and most candidates will be hired on a temporary part-time basis while completing the course, Bailey said.

A new daytime program will begin in May 2022 at Isothermal.

BLET is accredited by the North Carolina Justice Training and Standards Commission and is the required entry-level training program for anyone wishing to become a law enforcement officer in North Carolina. BLET consists of more than 660 classroom hours of training that provides the skill training to become a rookie law enforcement officer.

“Law enforcement officers are in very high demand,” said Bailey. “All of the departments in the area and across the state are experiencing personnel shortages. There are a lot of reasons for that – retirements and the fact that it can be a challenging job that’s not for everyone.”

Bailey said, with the challenges, come great rewards.

“You’ve got a front row seat to the greatest show on earth,” said Bailey. “It’s an exciting and fulfilling job. You experience very interesting situations and have a chance to help people every day.”

BLET covers 35 topics including criminal law, ABC law, juvenile law, and laws of arrest, search, and seizure, driver training, firearms, defensive tactics, and vehicle stops. A topic recently added is human trafficking, reflecting the growing problem of human slavery for sexual purposes.

Admission requirements for BLET include a minimum age of 20 years old. Applicants must also possess a high school diploma or GED, and be a U.S. Citizen. In addition, students must take a reading test scoring at least a 10th grade reading level and obtain sponsorship from a local or area law enforcement agency. Students must also be in good physical condition and obtain a physical exam from a medical doctor.

Students who enter BLET must also have a background free of any felony violations or serious misdemeanor offenses. A review of past convictions, both criminal and traffic, is conducted for each student who applies to enter BLET. It is not necessary that a student have a clean or “unblemished” record. Some offenses may be on a student’s record but still make them eligible for admission.

An application packet is available for pick-up or mailing. Anyone wishing more information may call Brenda McFarland at (828) 395-1668 or by email at or Director Philip Bailey at 828-395-1448 or by email at Enrollment is limited, and an application packet is required to be completed and returned prior to the start of training.