South Piedmont Basic Law Enforcement Training Grad Helps Save Woman’s Life, Is Recognized by Mint Hill Police

South Piedmont Basic Law Enforcement Training grad Avigail Salazar was celebrated last week for her role in saving a woman’s life.

Salazar completed South Piedmont’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program in December 2022. She is now an officer with the Mint Hill Police Department.

Last week, the department presented Salazar and two of her colleagues with its Life Saving Award.

Mint Hill Police Department Major Scott Hall provided a synopsis of the event that led to Salazar’s recognition.

In June, Salazar was on patrol when she came across what she thought was a stranded motorist. Salazar made contact with the female driver, who became unresponsive a few seconds later. Salazar immediately provided medical aid and administered Narcan (a medication that reverses opioid overdoses). Another officer arrived and began performing CPR while Salazar and a third officer used an Automated External Defibrillator on the woman. Medical personnel then arrived. The woman had regained a pulse prior to being transported to the hospital. The woman survived the incident.

Salazar said she became a police officer to do exactly what she did in June: help people when they need it most.

“I want to make a difference for my community,” she said. “I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and was able to get her help immediately.”

Learn more about South Piedmont’s Basic Law Enforcement Training

South Piedmont Community College Celebrates Basic Law Enforcement Graduates; All Grads Hired by Local Agencies

Members of South Piedmont Community College's Basic Law Enforcement Training Class 46 during their graduation ceremony on May 31.

Members of South Piedmont Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Class 46 during their graduation ceremony on May 31.

South Piedmont Community College is celebrating the most recent graduates of its Basic Law Enforcement Training course.

BLET Class 46 graduated during a ceremony at the Dowd Center Theatre in Monroe on Thursday, May 31.

BLET provides future law enforcement officers with essential knowledge and skills they will need to begin their careers. The program spans 16 weeks and uses state-mandated topics and methods of instruction.

All members of the graduating class have already been hired by local law enforcement agencies.

“We are proud to partner closely with area agencies and help meet their workforce needs,” said Mike Smith, director of law enforcement training.

“We are proud of each member of this graduating class and their decision to commit their careers to protecting and serving our communities.”

Members of BLET Class 46 and their agencies include:

Kyle Carswell, Union County Sheriff’s Office
Christopher Childs, Union County Sheriff’s Office
Conor Donnelly, Monroe Police Department
Cody Gordon, Mint Hill Police Department
Jonathan Ingram, Union County Sheriff’s Office
Parker Justice, Matthews Police Department
Cody Kiker, Union County Sheriff’s Office
Christopher King, Matthews Police Department
Harry McLaughlin, Matthews Police Department
Kenneth Nance, Monroe Police Department
Felix Perez, Mint Hill Police Department
Cameron Price, Union County Sheriff’s Office
Jorden Rayburn, Matthews Police Department
Tyler Reed, Union County Sheriff’s Office
Bailee Sholar, Monroe Police Department
Michael Soto, Pineville Police Department
Madison Sweatt, Monroe Police Department
Wesley Sweet, Matthews Police Department
Garrett Xavier, Union County Sheriff’s Office

Learn more about South Piedmont Community College’s public safety programs here: https://spcc.edu/areas-of-study/public-safety/.


All in the Family: Brothers Graduated from South Piedmont Community College, Are Now Serving with Union County Law Enforcement Agencies

For the McWhorter brothers, degrees from South Piedmont Community College and careers in law enforcement are becoming a family tradition.

All three brothers, Chad, Jacob, and Luke, are residents of Union County. All graduated from or are currently attending South Piedmont, and all are working at local law enforcement agencies.

Chad says their similar paths in life are a result of their upbringing.

“Our parents always taught us to do the right thing, to make something of ourselves, to do something with purpose,” Chad said.

“Turn out the ultimate purpose for all of us is to help others.”

Chad got this family tradition started. He completed Basic Law Enforcement Training at South Piedmont in 2017, and later this year, he will complete his Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Technology.

He began working at the Union County Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer in 2015. Now, he’s a K9 deputy and a member of the department’s Special Response team.

Jacob wasn’t far behind. He completed BLET in 2018 and is starting his AAS in Criminal Justice Technology this month. He’s an officer and member of the executive protection team at the Monroe Police Department.

Youngest brother Luke completed BLET and his Criminal Justice Technology degree in 2022. He’s currently a Deputy Sheriff and is assigned to the detention bureau with the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

Their careers are bringing them each a sense of personal fulfillment, while also drawing them closer to one another.

Chad has responded to calls where loved ones have passed away at their home. He’s been able to be there for the family and give words of encouragement, due to being in a similar situation when he lost his father, Bo McWhorter, in 2015.

“I am able to talk to the family because I have been in their shoes, as far as losing my dad,” Chad said. “I tell them to keep their heads up, and that I know they will never get over it, but things will get easier with time. I think it helps to have someone there who has been through the same situation that they are facing.”

At the jail, Luke finds his own ways to make a difference for others.

“Some people who come into the jail don’t know what is going on. They’re scared and have a lot of questions,” Luke said. “I try to talk to them and show them respect, answer their questions. Everyone deserves respect.”

When they’re not on the job, the brothers often find themselves talking to one another about their work.

“There are things that only we can understand. It helps to have people to talk to about the things we face every day, to have one another to lean on,” Jacob said.

And when they’re on duty, they’re always looking out for one another.

“When I hear his number on the radio, I turn it up, and if it’s something serious, I’ll go back him up,” Chad said about Jacob.

“We’ve always been close, but now all being in law enforcement, that brings us even closer together.”

All three brothers aspire to eventually become patrol lieutenants at their departments. Most of all, they want to make every day count for others.

“We see people on some of their worst days,” Luke said. “We have the chance to help them, treat them well, and make whatever they’re going through a little better. That’s what it’s all about.”

South Piedmont’s Basic Law Enforcement Training is taught by experienced law enforcement professionals and is designed to provide future officers with the essential skills needed to begin their careers. The Criminal Justice Technology degree program provides students with knowledge of criminal justice systems and operations and prepares them for career advancement.

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