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South Piedmont Criminal Justice Grad and Monroe Police Officer Is Now Earning a Bachelor’s Degree from Western Carolina

South Piedmont Criminal Justice Technology graduate and Western Carolina University student Justin Crump, second from right, with colleagues from the Monroe Police Department.

Nearly 90 percent of South Piedmont Community College graduates transfer to a four-year university — including Justin Crump, who’s thriving at Western Carolina University.

“South Piedmont definitely prepared me for the university level. South Piedmont had very high expectations, which got me ready for where I am now,” said Crump.

Crump, now an officer with the Monroe Police Department, attended Piedmont High School. During his high school years, his focus was more on athletics than academics.

“I didn’t have a very good work ethic. My GPA wasn’t great. I did just enough to get by and be able to participate in school,” he said.

After he graduated from high school in 2011, Crump became interested in a career in law enforcement. He enrolled at South Piedmont to earn his Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Technology.

“I had a buddy who was working for the Sheriff’s Office, and then I did a ride along with an officer to learn more about the job. It was right up my alley. I like making a difference in my community,” he said.

During his time in the Criminal Justice Technology program, Crump learned about the justice system and developed the self-discipline he needed to be successful in college and his career.

“The quality of classes at South Piedmont is really high, and that equates to high expectations of the students. South Piedmont demanded the best out of me, and that’s making it easier for me to be successful at Western Carolina,” he said.

Crump graduated from South Piedmont in 2014. Five years later, he decided to enroll at Western Carolina to earn his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He is on track to graduate in 2025.

Having a bachelor’s degree will position him to become a lieutenant, a rank that will come with a higher salary that will help him support his wife and young daughter. One day, he hopes to be able to put his daughter, now 3, through college.

Crump sometimes can’t believe how far he’s come since high school, and he’s grateful for the role South Piedmont has played in his progression.

“Community colleges are very cost-efficient. Not everyone can drop a lot of money on a four-year college right out of high school. South Piedmont was an affordable place for me to start, and it gave me a strong foundation that I’m continuing to build on,” he said.

“My high school self wouldn’t believe where I am today. As long as I’m making my family proud, that’s all that matters to me.”

South Piedmont’s annual tuition is 70 percent less than the average annual tuition at a four-year public state university. Its programs are designed for university transfer and immediate workforce opportunities.

Learn more about South Piedmont’s Criminal Justice Technology program.

 

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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