The Central Texas College (CTC) Police Academy held a graduation ceremony Saturday for 24 cadets completing the Basic Peace Officer course. All graduates passed the state licensing exam prior to graduation with an average score of 87 percent and are now eligible to become peace officers in Texas. The class average for the entire course was 92 percent. At the start of the course, only nine of the 24 cadets were sponsored by a law enforcement agency. By graduation all but six cadets were hired by local agencies and those six are currently in the process of being hired.

In addition to the awarding of certificates of completion, several awards were presented. Chosen as class president by his peers was Dustin Roscoe of the Lampasas County Sheriff’s Office. Michael Tutor of the Marble Falls Police Department earned the Academic Honor Graduate Award with a 97.68 percent grade average. He also won the Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie Top Gun Award for best firearms performance. A new award, the Top Gear Award, was for best driving proficiency was won by Paul Gauthier. The Best Instructor award, as voted on by the cadets, was presented to Sergeant Steven O’Neal of the Copperas Cove Police Department. Also recognized was guest speaker Henry Garza, Bell County District Attorney.

The graduating cadets are: Joshua Bowman (self-sponsored), Christie Carter (self-sponsored), Dustin Connell of the Bell County Sheriff’s Department, Jacob Ferguson of the Copperas Cove Police Department, Paul Gauthier, Shana Goodrich of the Rockdale Police Department, Michael Janzig of the Lexington Police Department, Roald Jellema of the Harker Heights Police Department, Warren Jones of the Central Texas College Police Department, Rafael Melgar-Mejia of the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Police, David Morris (self-sponsored) and Camila Peralta of Central Texas College Police Department.

Other graduating cadets are: Heather Rivera (self-sponsored), Dustin Roscoe of the Lampasas Sheriff’s Office, Kevin Sheppard of the Killeen Police Department and Joshua Shugars (self-sponsored)Nicholas Simmons of the Harker Heights Police Department, Andrew Smolen (self-sponsored), Justin Sooter of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Brody Telfer of the Belton Police Department, Michael Tutor of the Marble Falls Police Department, David Walenta, of the Burnet Sheriff’s Department, Tameka Whigham (self-sponsored) and Alexander Young (self-sponsored).

The Basic Peace Officer course is a 19-week, 720-hour-course in which cadets receive hands-on training in all aspects of law enforcement and receive extensive hands-on training in defensive tactics, firearms and police vehicle operation. In addition, cadets take written exams on subjects such as victims’ rights, Texas Penal Code, Texas Traffic Code, Texas Family Code, criminal investigation, stress management, problem solving and more.

In addition to the 19-week course, The CTC Police Academy offers an extended 10-month night course. Cadets attend class four nights a week and every other Saturday. Applications for the day basic course and evening extended course are now being accepted through December 30. Both courses start in January 2018.