Martinsville, Va – December 1, 2023 – New College Institute (NCI) hosted the Piedmont Regional Criminal Justice Training Academy’s (PRCJTA) Entry Level Jail School Session #39 (ELJ #39) graduation on Friday, December 1, 2023, at NCI’s Baldwin Building.

The graduation included the Sheriff’s Offices from the Counties of Henry, Pittsylvania, and Patrick as well as the Cities of Danville and Martinsville. Mike Seville, Warden of the Green Rock Correctional Center, was the guest speaker.

The sixteen graduates included:

  • Abbigay Astin, Martinsville Sheriff’s Office (Class President)
  • Kristy Torres, Martinsville Sheriff’s Office
  • Jason Rigsby, Danville Sheriff’s Office
  • LaTorya Banks, Danville Adult Detention Center
  • Shannon Horn, Patrick County Sheriff’s Office
  • Dyson Spence, Patrick County Sheriff’s Office
  • Randy Guy, Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office
  • Joshua Sheldon, Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s
  • Tavion Gravely, Henry County Sheriff’s Office
  • Jaheim Hairston, Henry County Sheriff’s Office
  • Jesse Harding, Henry County Sheriff’s Office
  • Matthew Huxley, Henry County Sheriff’s Office
  • Byron Lippencott, Henry County Sheriff’s Office
  • Chance McClaine, Henry County Sheriff’s Office
  • Timothy Moore, Henry County Sheriff’s Office
  • Ryan O’Hara, Henry County Sheriff’s Office

ELJ #39 trained the students in several areas, in alignment with the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) standards, including firearms, emergency vehicle operations, physical fitness, and use of force, and constitutional law – all focused on producing top-notch law enforcement professionals. Physical training, which includes running, push-ups, pull-ups, and bench pressing, is a critical part of law enforcement activities, but is not mandated by the DOC. PRCJTA adds this section to their curriculum because it promotes health, resilience, and helps recruits better serve the community by being in good shape.

Part of the curriculum involving “use of force” utilizes the state-of-the-art MILO Range Theater 180 Simulation Training System housed at the NCI. Joe Sumner, Executive Director of NCI, said “It is an honor to have the Virtual Training Center for Real World Scenarios at NCI. Using the MILO system, law enforcement officers can learn how to de-escalate and respond appropriately with or without use of force in a variety of situations.”

Each class elects a president who then serves as a liaison between the recruits and instructors, organizes work teams, and takes responsibility for both their own actions and those of their peers. The ELJ #39 class elected Abbigay Astin as their president. During her remarks, Abbigay commended her fellow recruits saying, “through it all you pushed and persevered” and reminded them of the principals of integrity, on and off duty, and to embrace continuous growth through “learning, un-learning, and re-learning.”

Several awards were issued, which are as follows:

Firearms Award:

  • 1st place: Jesse Harding
  • 2nd place: Matthew Huxley
  • 3rd place: Timothy Moore

EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course) Award:

  • 1st place: Jesse Harding
  • 2nd place: Dyson Spence
  • 3rd place: Ryan O’Hara

Physical Training Award:

  • Top Male: Ryan O’Hara
  • Top Female: Abbigay Astin

Academic Leader Award:

  • Dyson Spence

President’s Award:

  • Abbigay Astin

Director’s Award:

  • Jason Rigsby

Instructor’s Award:

  • Officer Chase Shively, Danville Police Department

Statement from Joe Sumner, Executive Director of NCI, “To be in partnership with an organization, like PRCJTA, is incredible. It is vital that we have competent and well-trained law enforcement professionals in our community. I’m proud that NCI is working with PRCJTA to ensure our community is a safe place and our new law enforcement officers operate with integrity and professionalism.”

About the Piedmont Regional Criminal Justice Training Academy: The Piedmont Criminal Justice Training Academy located in in the state of Virginia is one of eleven regional academies in the state serving law enforcement, jail, civil process, courtroom security, & dispatchers since 1997. The academy is dedicated to professionalism, while offering the highest quality training available. We rely on a wide array of instructors who are DCJS certified in many areas of general instruction and specialization training. Each one is dedicated in providing excellent instruction in their field of expertise. The Piedmont Criminal Justice Training Academy is a certified academy serving thirteen (13) criminal justice agencies, totaling around 853 personnel consisting of police, deputies, and dispatchers. The academy is governed by a Board of Directors composed of Chief’s, Sheriff’s, and Emergency Services Directors of the agencies we serve.

About New College Institute: New College Institute (NCI) is a premier educational institution located in Martinsville, Virginia. NCI offers a wide range of academic programs, professional development opportunities, and community engagement initiatives. The Institute is dedicated to empowering individuals and transforming communities through accessible, innovative, and high-quality educational opportunities.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Olivia Garrett

Director of Institutional Advancement