Peace Officer Academy Honors Graduates

#1286 | June 15, 2012

Ten candidates are now qualified to be POST-certified peace officers by state of Georgia

 SAVANNAH – Ten students from the Savannah Technical College Peace Officer Academy celebrated graduating from the program with a completion ceremony.

     These students have completed coursework containing the entire Georgia Peace Officer Standards & Training (P.O.S.T.) Basic Law Enforcement Training Course. Their successful completion of the program qualifies them to be state-certified peace officers.

     This is the tenth group of students to complete the program since its inception in 2009. To date, the program has graduated 125 P.O.S.T.-certified officers. Three candidates have jobs with area law enforcement departments. All others are in various stages of the application process with local area agencies. Savannah Tech’s Peace Officer Academy has a 98% placement rate.

     Each cohort selects a fallen officer for whom the graduating class will be named. The cohorts have a tradition of giving the family of the fallen officer a challenge coin dedicated to the officer. A challenge coin is a symbol of an unbreakable bond of dedication and allegiance among military personnel and law enforcement officers. The challenge coin tradition started as a military tradition in World War I and was later adopted by law enforcement.

     This cohort selected Chief David Albert McCutchen, Sr., of the Savannah Beach Police Department. His tour of duty ended on April 10, 1963, when he was shot and killed while checking on a residence for a possible burglary in progress. He was mistaken for a burglar and was shot by the homeowner, who had returned home early from vacation. The homeowner was not charged in connection with his death. Chief McCutchen was survived by his wife and two children. His son will attend the ceremony to accept the challenge coin.

      The keynote speaker was Chief of Police for Americus, Ga., Mark Gerbino. Chief Gerbino has worked in law enforcement for 36 years. He worked in the City of Rochester, New York Police Department for more than three decades. He had a special assignment with the City of Los Angeles General’s Office as the special investigator coordinator over police officer use of deadly physical force. After moving to Georgia, he became a graduate of the first class at Savannah Tech’s Peace Officer Academy in 2009. He is certified as an investigator for both arson and homicide.

      Rev. Travis Cowart gave the opening prayer, Jr. Recorder Court Judge Kevin Street delivered the Oath of Office.

      The Basic Law Enforcement Technical Certificate of Credit provides students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to become competent law enforcement officers. The 18-week cohort program utilizes classroom instruction pertaining to criminal justice theory and the prevailing principles of modern law enforcement, as well as practical application of pertinent enforcement skills. College coursework contains the entire Georgia Peace Officers Standards& Training (P.O.S.T.) Basic Law Enforcement Training Course so that successful completion of the program will qualify the student to be a state-certified peace officer.

      For more information about the Peace Officer Academy, please contact Claire Pimentel at 912.443.5191 or


For More Information Contact:
Amy Shaffer, APR

Savannah Technical College serves Coastal Georgia with quality, market-driven technical education with campus locations in Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties. Serving more than 10,000 credit and non-credit students annually, Savannah Tech offers nearly 150 different instructional programs in Aviation Technology, Business and Professional Services, Industrial Technology, and Health Sciences in addition to Adult Education classes, industry-specific training and continuing education. The College serves as an economic and community development partner for the region, offering corporate and customized training and assessment programs for business and industry.

Savannah Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees, diplomas and technical certificates of credit. Questions about the accreditation of Savannah Technical College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (