Two of the top graduates in a recent class of the Northwest Georgia Police Academy are employed by local law enforcement agencies, one with the Dalton Police Department and the other with the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office.

James Goines, a rookie officer with the Dalton Police Department, received the academic award during graduation on June 9.

Chris Scoggins, a sheriff’s office deputy, received the Top Gun award. Nineteen officers from Northwest Georgia attended the session at the academy in Calhoun.

Scoggins, a 1994 graduate of Northwest Whitfield High School, has worked with the sheriff’s office for two and a half years in the housing division, which oversees inmates. He worked in a carpet mill to put his wife through school.

“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” he said. “After she got through college, I came here (to the sheriff’s office).”

Guns are a hobby for Scoggins, and he said the sheriff’s office gives officers plenty of opportunities to practice. He believed he was ready for the challenges of the academy.

“We all receive one-on-one training with firearms,” Scoggins said. “Before we go (to police academy), they make sure we are ready.”

Now that Scoggins has completed the academy, he hopes to become a patrol officer.

Goines is already patrolling the streets of Dalton. He will ride with another Dalton officer for 16 weeks before going solo on the job.

A native of Walker County, Goines became familiar with the area while attending Dalton State College.

He was surprised to learn he had tied with another recruit at the top of the class.

“It wasn’t easy by any means,” Goines said. “But I’ve always kind of grasped things well.”

Goines is the first police officer in his family. He believes he learned a lot at the academy, and said he is now ready to learn on the job.

“Until you get personal experience you don’t know what to expect,” Goines said.

Goines joins three other academy graduates who joined the Dalton Police Department this month:

• Scottie Allen, a Dalton native, who now lives in LaFayette. Allen was previously a truck driver.

• Kevin Greer, a Dalton native who now lives in Eton. He worked in the carpet industry for 10 years.

• Jennifer Jefferies of Ringgold. She worked for the Hamilton County (Tennessee) Sheriff’s Office for five years.

Three other sheriff’s deputies also became certified police officers:

• Gary E. Brown II, of Fort Oglethorpe, a detention officer. He has worked with the sheriff’s office since July 2003.

• Haley Carrier of Dalton, who will work in the evidence room. She has worked with the sheriff’s office since May 2004.

• Eric Leatherwood of Cohutta, a detention officer. He has worked with the sheriff’s office since March 2004.

It was the last academy to be held in Calhoun. The academy is relocating to a facility on Brickyard Road in Dalton and is expected to be back in operation the first week of July.

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