The Law Enforcement Academy at Manatee Technical College held a graduation ceremony on February 24, 2016, for its day class. Fourteen students completed the state certificate program: Lauren Bates, Jason Burchett, Jeramy Campbell, Nina Fester, Daryn Grant, Alexandra Hagaman, Natasha Hindman, Brandon Howard, Daniel Kleinfeldt, Justin Losey, Gustavo Lux, Franklin Price, Jonathan Rivera, and Christopher Sheffield.
Class leader Sheffield earned the Highest Academic Achievement award for the highest grade point average (97.8), as well as the Top Gun award. Burchett won the “Dale Earnhardt, Jr.” Best Driver Award. Sheffield presented Academy Director Jay Romine with the class plaque.
Three of the graduates were veterans, two of whom served in Iraqi Freedom, one of them twice. One served in both the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Army with deployments to Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Afghanistan.
Chief Scott Tyler of the Palmetto Police Department was the keynote speaker. He impressed upon the graduates the importance of having a solid foundation on which to build a successful life, which encompasses the personal and professionalism and integrity. “There is no greater service…there is no greater career,” said Tyler. “I look forward to serving with each one of you.”
Doug Wagner, director of MTC and Adult, Career and Technical Education for the District, congratulated the graduates on successfully completing the academy, as it’s one of the most challenging programs to be accepted into in the state.
Successful completion of the Law Enforcement Academy at MTC makes one eligible to take the State Certification Examination for Law Enforcement, the required test to become a Certified Law Enforcement Officer in the State of Florida. Four of the graduates had already taken and passed the exam.
Director Romine acknowledged the Academy’s advisory board for their support, the students’ family members for their support and the importance of that support throughout a law enforcement officer’s career. Colonel Rick Wells, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, gave the invocation and benediction