KILLEEN, TX — Nineteen cadets graduated from the Central Texas College Police Academy on Friday after completing the 22-week, 720-hour Basic Peace Officer Course that began in April. 

The cadets were part of the Charlie 2023 class and represented nine law enforcement agencies across Central Texas.

Lt. Clifton Osborne, CTC’s program coordinator, said the need for police officers has never been more urgent. 

“All of the agencies in our area are suffering from staffing shortages,” Osborne said. “These shortages have a direct impact on the quality of life for the citizens of the communities in our area. Fewer police officers mean slower response times to calls and reduced services. The positions these cadets are filling will help fill the gap and allow the agencies to provide better service to their communities.”  

Several cadets earned recognition during the ceremony for their achievements in the academy. 

The Top Gear award for best driving competency went to Jyles A. Evans with the Copperas Cove Police Department, who was also elected class president by his peers. Jyles A. Evans with the Copperas Cove Police Department won the Top Gun award for firearms proficiency. Phillip Strong of Copperas Cove Police Department earned the Honor Graduate award for achieving the highest academic average – 93.76.  

The cadets selected Officer Carl Trussell, who is retired from the Killeen Police Department, as the winner of the Best Instructor award.

“BPOC Charlie 2023 impressed me from the start,” Osborne said. “The most memorable thing I remember about this class is how quickly and well they bonded together. If a cadet had difficulty with a training unit, the class would pull together and help each other through it. For firearms training, the class got together on their own time and practiced on a private range. Some of the more experienced shooters coached the inexperienced shooters. If a cadet was having problems understanding an academic topic, the class would get together after class and tutor each other. It’s the type of camaraderie and selflessness that will make them great police officers.”  

Graduates of the BPOC Charlie 2023 class are James A. Crawford, Christopher C. Darragh and Raul Garcia (independent); Katrina M. Duckworth (Cedar Park Police Department); Jyles A. Evans, Ciara T. Haines and Phillip M. Strong (Copperas Cove Police Department); Alexander J. Falcon, Erin A. Gaines-Myers and Jesus A. Palafox (Bell County Sheriff’s Office); Megan L. Hale (Lampasas Police Department); Timothy J. Kresini and Scott C. Schmidt (Directorate of Emergency Services Ft. Cavazos); Sean D. Matukewicz (Texas A&M University-Central Texas Police Department); Justin M. Ornelas (Burnet Police Department); Joseph A. Perkins and Kelly D. Skinner (Burnet County Sheriff’s Office); and Alexandria D. Sanchez and Michel J. Wilson (Brown County Sheriff’s Office).

The CTC Police Academy Basic Peace Officer Course prepares students for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement licensing exam. Upon successful completion of the licensing exam, cadets are eligible to become peace officers in Texas. Graduating cadets earn a certificate of completion and 23 hours of college credit which can be applied to an associate of applied science degree.

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