Seven graduates of South Florida State College’s Basic Law Enforcement (BLE) Academy, Class 253 and four graduates of the Cross-over Academy, Class 351, were recognized at a ceremony on Nov. 29 in the SFSC University Center auditorium, Highlands Campus, Avon Park. 

BLE graduates who received occupational certificates were Odalys Del Rio (class leader), Michael O’Malley (squad leader), Dustin Coots, Michael Medina, Blaine Molitor, Jose Noriega, and Marco A. Robles. Cross-over graduates receiving their occupational certificates were Travis Dunn (squad leader), LaKisha M. Collins, Carlton H. Elliott, and William E. Hodge. 

Guest speaker for the ceremony was Detective Gregory A. Bubb of the Division of Investigative and Financial Services, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, who opened by commenting upon how blending the two groups of cadets helped to enhance the classroom dynamic and the learning environment for both students and instructors. He also thanked the families and friends who supported the cadets and shared wisdom from his own experiences and encouraged the cadets to maintain integrity, fortitude, courage, and loyalty in their personal and professional lives.  

“Go to work for your community, and don’t go to work for yourselves,” Bubb said. “You’re trained first responders and public servants. When you take an oath as a law enforcement officer, you become a public servant. You go to work for the people that need you even though they don’t know that they need you or recognize that they need you. You’ll encounter situations that will test your integrity, strength, attitude, and pride. First responders are faced with these challenges both personally and professionally. We have to maintain high ethical standards and an unsurpassed commitment. It’s not something we take lightly. It’s something we hold very dear.” 

During the ceremony, special awards were presented to Blaine Molitor and Travis Dunn for top academic scores in the class, Michael Medina for top firearms score, and Odalys Del Rio as class leader. 

SFSC’s Basic Law Enforcement occupational certificate program trains students to become law enforcement officers in Florida. By successfully completing the program, they are eligible to take the state certification examination to become certified law enforcement officers. The program runs 770 contact hours or approximately five months full time or approximately 10 months part time. 

The Correction to Law Enforcement (Crossover) occupational certificate program trains currently employed corrections officers to become law enforcement officers in Florida. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the state certification examination to become certified law enforcement officers. The program runs 515 contact hours or approximately 10 months part time. 

For more information about either of these programs, call SFSC’s Criminal Justice Academy at 863-784-7285.