Graduates of Basic Law Enforcement Training Class #201601 are: Back row (from left to right) Laura F. Williamson, Matthew T. Touhy, Philip M. Parker, and Charles K. Humphrey. Front Row (from left to right) Thomas S. Gray, Caleb A. Chambers, Preston L. Barfield, and Ashley L. Bailey.


(Calhoun, GA) – Friends, family, and the community gathered at the Conference Center located at Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Gordon County Campus to honor students graduating from Basic Law Enforcement Training Class #201601 on Thursday, July 15.


During the ceremony, eight law enforcement officers were recognized in front of a standing room only crowd. Advisory board members, chiefs, sheriffs, community leaders, and fellow law enforcement officers from the Northwest Georgia region and beyond also were in attendance at the ceremony.


The proceedings began with Jim Pledger, director of the Law Enforcement Academy at GNTC, welcoming guests and introducing current and former staff from the academy.


“Everyone that teaches here has a lot of experience and we pass that along to our students,” said Pledger.


The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Sheriff Mitch Ralston of the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office.


Ralston became Sheriff in 2009 and his law enforcement career spans over 27 years. He served on the Georgia State Patrol for 18 years which included serving on the SWAT team, DUI taskforce, and a number of other different assignments.


He is a member of the National Sheriffs’ Association, National Constitutional Officers’ Association, Young Farmers Association, Red Carpet Cattlemen’s Association, Coosawattee Masonic Lodge #306 F&AM, and Yaarab Shriners.


Ralston reminded the graduates that the image they portray is a very important component of law enforcement.


“Your integrity is your career,” said Ralston. “The way you conduct yourself on and off duty is a reflection of your department.”


Laura F. Williamson was the student speaker for the ceremony.

Laura F. Williamson, student speaker for the graduation ceremony of Basic Law Enforcement Training Class #201601, presents Jim Pledger, director of the Law Enforcement Academy at GNTC, with a plaque from the class.

Caleb A. Chambers was presented with the “Top Gun” award for excellence in marksmanship and Preston L. Barnfield received the Academic (Honor Graduate) Award for having the highest grade point average.


Graduates of GNTC’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Class #201501 are: Graduates of GNTC’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Class #201601 are Ashley L. Bailey, Preston L. Barfield, Caleb A. Chambers, Thomas S. Gray, Charles K. Humphrey, Philip M. Parker, Matthew T. Touhy, and Laura F. Williamson.


Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 13,734 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,876 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,858 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.