After months of physical training and class work and dozens of hours on the firing range and driving course, the 23 men and one woman lined up in the community room at Scarlet Oaks Career Campus to receive their certificates and get last-minute advice from their instructors and other professionals.
“Friends are crucial,” Montgomery Police Chief Don Simpson told the Academy graduates. “This job is demanding, but we can’t let it interfere with important people like friends and family.”
Class President Thomas Portaleos reflected on the rigorous training and how it affected the group.
“These months have been an opportunity for us to teach each other and learn from each other,” he said. “Each individual sitting here is now ready and dedicated to becoming a police officer and representing the communities that we are chosen to serve.”
State Representative Lou Terhar, did double duty, reading a proclamation from the Ohio House of Representatives and as a father proudly watching his son Marc graduate. The proclamation, passed in honor of the Academy’s 30th anniversary, read in part “Since its establishment, this fine institution has supplied excellent officer candidates to local and state law enforcement agencies by sucessfully graduating 94 percent of the candidates who enter.”
When the time came for each graduate to be called forward, Great Oaks Police Academy Commander Alan Jones stepped to the microphone.
“We always ask families to hold their applause until all names are read,” he told the crowd. “But we know you’re proud of them and you can’t wait—so go ahead and cheer whenever you want.” And they did.