The Central Texas College (CTC) Police Academy held a graduation ceremony today for 17 cadets who completed the Basic Peace Officer course. All graduates passed the state licensing exam prior to graduation with an average score of 88, and are now eligible to become peace officers in Texas. The class average for the entire course was 94.

During the ceremony, several awards were presented. Eric Batchelor earned the academic honors graduate award with a grade average of 96.5. Jerry Loden was named class president. Eric Sooter won the Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie Top Gun award for best firearms performance.  The Best Instructor award, as voted on by the cadets, was presented to Sgt. Steven O’Neal of the Copperas Cove Police Department.

Throughout the 19-week, 720-hour course, cadets were subjected to numerous written exams and extensive hands-on training in defensive tactics, firearms and police vehicle operation. In addition, classroom work included victims’ rights, Texas Penal Code, Texas Traffic Code, Texas Family Code, criminal investigation, stress management, problem solving and more.

The Basic Peace Officer course was formerly only open to cadets affiliated with a law enforcement agency. This marked the second class open to self-sponsored cadets. “Following the success of the first class which had eight self-sponsored cadets, we kept the course open to more non-affiliated cadets,” said Pat Boone, director of the CTC Police Academy. “Four cadets were self-sponsored in this class and are now qualified to work as police officers. Since our first call in 2014, 98 cadets have graduated this course of the CTC Police Academy.”

The graduating cadets are Joshua Anchors, John Burgan and Carlos Mariduena of the Copperas Cove Fire Department; Jonathan Bryan, Kayla Long, Michael Marine, Joseph Raj and Eric Stoneburner of the Copperas Cove Police Department; Bart Baker of the Lampasas Fire Department; Eric Batchelor of the San Saba Sheriff’s Office; Jerry Loden of the Falls County Constable Precinct 3; Darren McPhail of the Rosebud Police Department; Cpt. Ethan Gingerich of the Killeen Fire Department; and Robert Jackson, Eric Sooter, Carolyn Weakley and Johnathan White.

In addition to the Basic Peace Officer course, the CTC Police Academy also offers an Extended Peace Officer course for non-sponsored individuals interested in becoming a peace office. The next course runs five, eight-week semesters from January-October 2018. Applications for the course will be accepted starting in October this year.