Georgia Northwestern’s Sainton Shares Story Of Police Work In Two Nations


“French Police Nationale officer and GNTC alum Fabrice Sainton, left, poses for a picture in a Basic Law Enforcement classroom on the college’s Gordon County Campus in Calhoun, Georgia. Also shown is Basic Law Enforcement Academy Director Jim Pledger.”


(Northwest Georgia) – He’s personally guarded the biggest names on the planet. From actors to royalty, Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) alum Fabrice Sainton truly has worldwide experience in law enforcement. But, after more than 20 years in the business, it’s what he’s learned about his craft through law enforcement education at GNTC that has him giving praise.


“I’ve worked in law enforcement with the “Police Nationale” (National Police) in France since 1989. It’s an amazing job,” said Sainton of his service as an armed police escort for his country. “But now, the academy at GNTC is exceptional. Truly exceptional. It helped me learn what I needed to in order to grow in my field. It gave me the background and the reasoning behind what gets done in this profession.”


“Fabrice is one of a kind,” said GNTC Basic Law Enforcement (BLE) Academy Director Jim Pledger. “His background in the law really has made me, as an educator, work even harder at doing my job and providing what’s necessary to my recruits.” The BLE Academy begins a new class of recruits twice a year at the Gordon County Campus of GNTC in Calhoun, Georgia.


Going to GNTC was a simple choice. “Coming to the U.S., my lifestyle and my income changed greatly,” said Sainton. “But, I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity like enrolling in the law enforcement academy. It was an eye-opener for me.”


Currently, on leave from the French Police Force, Sainton works on the support staff at the Technical College System of Georgia college while working on his educational goals. Earning an associate’s degree in 2013 through GNTC, he anticipates earning his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Reinhardt University this December. Then, he hopes to enter graduate school at Reinhardt University.


“I want to learn all I can while I’m here. There are many differences in law enforcement work between the U.S. and France,” added Sainton. “In France, the only guns that are owned by the public are only for hunting. We take that very serious. We also handle policing differently, in regards to patrolling. Here, a department will send out one officer to patrol an area. In France, you always have a partner with you. It’s just a different country that looks at things differently than we do in the United States.”


Sainton, a career officer for more than two decades in France, was first trained to be an armed motorcycle escort. The 48-year-old has guarded everyone from Princess Diana to President Clinton to the King of Spain.

GNTC alum Fabrice Sainton, left, while on duty with the Police Nationale in France during his service while in-country, before his stateside assignment. This particular detail had him guarding Ray Charles, right, during one of the musician’s trips to France.

“Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Ray Charles, and other celebrities have been special guests of the country that I would personally guard on many occasions,” added Sainton. “Schwarzenegger still e-mails me. I’ve led many details for royalty from other nations during major events. But, not everything was glamorous. I did lose Ray Charles once.”  When asked if Sainton meant the blind musician from the United States, he simply said, “Oui. Yes.” Apparently, Charles decided to leave his hotel room in the middle of the night and take a cab into town. When he finally returned after sunrise, Sainton met him at his cab and asked, “Mr. Charles, where have you been?” The world renowned singer simply kept walking into the hotel and said, “I just couldn’t sleep at all.”


Six years ago, Sainton left his assignment in France to fill an assignment stateside with military personnel in the United States in 2010. “I worked with American soldiers who needed to learn French for overseas assignments,” said Sainton. “Work in many foreign countries required soldiers to know Arabic. However, some of those same countries actually have even deeper roots in French culture. Many of them were originally French territories. So, many people there speak French.”


A little more than a year later, Sainton would be asked by his country to move closer to Atlanta to be more accessible to the French Consulate located in Georgia’s capital. “That’s when I moved to Marietta and, ultimately, met my wife,” proudly stated Sainton. “She was helping me find an apartment in Calhoun at the time. My wife always tells me that things happen for a reason. I was the lucky one, for sure.”


It was after this move, Sainton, a career National Police Officer for France, made the decision to pursue dual citizenship. In the next few years, Sainton would take GED® courses for a short time (because his equivalent high school diploma would not transfer) and pass the GED® exams, take English as a Second Language courses, graduate from the GNTC Basic Law Enforcement Academy, and earn an associate’s degree.


And, as tough as all that was to do, now Sainton has a tough choice to make this December. “Well, my long-term leave is up with the National Police and I have to return to France to meet with them and decide whether or not I want to stay with the force or move on,” said Sainton. “After going to GNTC’s Law Enforcement Academy, I’m about to earn my bachelor’s degree and pursue more education. Now, I have to look at my age and where I am in life and see what’s best for me.”


Sainton has two stepchildren with his wife, Crystal, 19-year-old McKenzie, and 15-year-old Hunter. He also has two older daughters back in France, Lucie is 23 and Justine is 20. “I have a lot of family to consider in my decision,” said Sainton. “I have a brother who lives in New Caledonia, near Australia. And, also, my parents are back in France, of course. It will be a tough decision. Plus, I’m going to be 50 soon. I don’t run like I used to. Maybe it’s time to slow down.”
For more information on the Basic Law Enforcement Academy at GNTC, you can call at 706.378.1735 or send an e-mail to You can also contact the college’s toll-free number at 866.983.4682 (GNTC). For information online, visit them at, as well as on their Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and an equal opportunity institute.


Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has provided degrees, diplomas, and certificates 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.