Class 255 and Class 352

On Thursday, June 14, 22 graduates of SFSC’s Basic Law Enforcement (BLE) Academy, Class 255 and two graduates of the Crossover Academy, Class 352, were recognized at a ceremony on the SFSC Highlands Campus, in Avon Park. 

BLE graduates who received occupational certificates were Tyler Avery, Christopher Baty, Emily Beck, Christopher Berish, Adrian Bruno-Perez, Jason Cohen, Steven A. Gilliard, Alex Hipple, William M. Jones, John P. Martinez, Pablo Mier, Joaquim T. Mustapha, Manuel Resendiz, Marcos Santiago, Luke Schmidt, Austin Springer, Dylan Staub, Austin Velasquez, Lee R. Westman, and Darlene Young. Crossover graduates receiving their occupational certificates were Michael G. Cauley and Jose A. Garcia. 

Before receiving individual awards and certificates, keynote speaker Deputy Jacob Riley of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office addressed the new officers. Riley urged the graduates, “When you get hired and raise your right hand to take that oath many have taken before you, take it with pride. Remember, the badge says who hired you. Your name plate says who raised you. Make sure in all you do, you never disgrace either of them. If you find yourself down or stressed, just remember these Bible passages: Matthew 5:9 and Psalms 82:3-4.” 

To the families of the graduates, Riley said, “Long 12-hour shifts, holidays, missed birthdays, and the occasional hurricane can bring stress on us as a whole. Love, support, and understanding when [your loved ones] are not at home make this career just a little less stressful. Know that they are doing this to make a difference in your community so that you and your children can have a better and safe life.” 

Special awards were presented to Jason Cohen who earned top honors for his academic excellence while William M. Jones was recognized as Class Leader and scored the Top Firearms award for his work on the shooting range.  

Cohen presented Sheriff Paul Blackman of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office a donation toward the Deputy William Gentry Fund on behalf of Class 255.  

SFSC’s BLE occupational certificate program trains students to become law enforcement officers in Florida. By successfully completing the program, graduates are eligible to take the state certification examination to become certified law enforcement officers.  

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.  

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