Gourley of South Georgia Technical College Receives Smarr Smith Fellowship in Criminal Justice
Published Friday June 9, 2023 3:56 pm
Sergeant First Class Jason Gourley of the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office recently received the Smarr Smith Criminal Justice Scholarship from the South Georgia Technical College Foundation. Submitted photo
From employee reports
AMERICUS – Jason Kyle Gourley, a graduate of Criminal Justice Technology from South Georgia Technical College of Cordele, was recently awarded the Smarr-Smith Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice Scholarship from the South Georgia Technical College Foundation.
The Smarr-Smith Scholarship at South Georgia Technical College was created to commemorate fallen Americus Police Officer Nicholas R. Smarr and Georgia Southwestern State University campus safety officer Jody C. Smith. The foundation was created by the Smarr-Smith Foundation, private individuals and an anonymous donor. Both Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith attended the criminal justice program at South Georgia Technical College.
Sergeant First Class Jason Gourley is a career law enforcement officer currently employed with the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office. He graduated from Crisp County High School in 2004. During his senior year of high school, he was given the opportunity to work as a part-time correctional officer in the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office.
After graduating high school, he attended ABAC in Tifton, but only completed one semester. In 2005, he dropped out of college and worked full-time in the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office. In 2007 he became a certified deputy.
“Ever since then, I have had a burning desire to complete my education. However, due to the full-time employment, the different working hours and the long working hours, it was difficult to participate in face-to-face courses. It’s taken me almost 19 years to get where I am today, but I intend to move on,” Gourley said.
The chief investigator for the Crisp County Sheriff’s Department recently graduated with an applied sciences degree from South Georgia Technical College’s criminal justice program. He was grateful for the flexible online classes offered through the SGTC Criminal Justice program, which enabled him to continue his education and work full-time. “I would not have been able to continue my education without the grants and scholarships from South Georgia Technical College and the South Georgia Technical College Foundation. I am so grateful for the support they have given me to get me to this level. Now I plan to continue and complete my bachelor’s degree,” Gourley said.
In addition to his professional responsibilities with the Crisp County Sheriff’s Department, Gourley is married and has two children.
“I am pleased to recommend Sergeant First Class Jason Gourley as a recipient of the Smarr Smith Scholarship. I am honored that one of my CID investigators receives this honorable fellowship,” said Lt. Lt. Teresa Miller, chief investigator in the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office. (who also receives a Smarr Smith Fellowship).
“I’ve seen Jason grow from a young deputy to a senior investigator. He is dedicated to his job and demonstrates integrity and high values as a law enforcement officer. He has spent countless hours investigating crimes and recovering crime scenes. His commitment to the proper collection and processing of evidence helps ensure cases are prosecuted,” Miller added
“Jason is a great student. I’m very proud of him and appreciate how hard he works,” said Teresa McCook, SGTC Americus Criminal Justice Instructor. “He’s exactly the type of student this scholarship should help.”
The President of South Georgia Technical College, Dr. John Watford, congratulated Gourley on his achievements and thanked the Smarr and Smith families and others for their support of this fellowship. “We all regret that this scholarship opportunity had to come at the cost of the lives of two outstanding South Georgia Technical College students and police officers,” said Dr. Watford. “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of officers Smarr and Smith. But we pray that this donation will also help other POST certified officers who wish to continue their education. We hope that the distinguished men and women who receive these grants will honor the memory of Officers Smith and Smarr through their service to our citizens, and that the memory of Nick Smarr and Jody Smith will live on in the lives of these grantees. ”
Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith both attended South Georgia Technical College’s Criminal Justice Program. Smarr earned his Associate of Applied Science degree in June 2011 and became a certified law enforcement officer in 2012. Jody Smith had attended South Georgia Tech in 2010 and returned in 2016 to begin completing his associate degree in criminal justice.
Since the grants were awarded, 25 Smarr Smith grants have been awarded. Charles Kinnamon and Adam O’Neal were the first two grantees. King W. Mitchell, Antoinette L. Johnson, and Emerson R. Lundy were the second three recipients. Dalton Lee Windham and Cora K. Baker received the December 2018 grants. Brandon Glover, April Cosby, and Matthew Pearce were the 2019 Smarr Smith grantees. Amneh Laursen, Chris Owens, Monteze McCall, Cedric Smith, Chandler Buchanan, and David Rueda-Fierros were the 2020 grantees and Christopher Prokesh, Michael Cobb, Rodney Gore and Eric Taylor-Hair received the 2021 awards. Teresa Miller, Alisa Colwell, Michael Middleton and Hunter Fallin were awarded in 2022, and now it is Gourley who received the grant in 2023.
For more information about making a donation to the SGTC Foundation or receiving a scholarship at South Georgia Technical College, contact Su Ann Bird, executive director of the SGTC Foundation and vice president of institutional development, at 229.931.2110 or email@example.com. Contributions may also be sent to the SGTC Foundation, PO Box 6102, Americus, GA. Additional donations may be added to the Smarr Smith Scholarship Fund. All donations are recognized and passed on to members of the Smith and Smarr families.