24 graduate from CTC’s Basic Peace Officer Course on Saturday
By PAMELA GRANT
Saturday at 11 a.m., 24 proud cadets officially graduated from the Central Texas College (CTC) 19-week, 720-hour Basic Peace Officer Course. Prior to the graduation, each of the cadets passed the state licensing exam and are now qualified to become peace officers in Texas. Immediately after the graduation ceremony, two of the cadets, Joshua Bailey and Kellen Burnes, were sworn in and became proud officers for the Copperas Cove Police Department.
In order to complete the Basic Peace Officer Course, the cadets had to complete numerous instructional courses which taught things like the Texas Penal Code, victims’ rights, criminal investigation, and more. They also received hands-on training in vehicle operation, firearms, and defensive tactics. The graduating class passed with an impressive average grade of 93.1 percent.
As part of the ceremony, several awards were given. Lisa VanGilder, with the Temple Police Department, impressed by earning both the Academic Honors Award for graduating with the class’s highest score and the Top Gear Award for showing the best driving competency. Jared Tillman, self-sponsored, received the Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie Top Gun Award for showing the greatest proficiency with firearms. Edwin Guzman Jr., with the Temple Police Department, was chosen by his peers as class president.
The cadets voted for Sergeant Steven O’Neal of the Copperas Cove Police Department to be the recipient of the Best Instructor award.
Chief Sammy Bailey of the Lampasas Police Department was the guest speaker for the event.
“Today marks your transition from cadet to being the guardian, protector, sheepdog, warrior of and for your community,” said Bailey.
She talked to the cadets about the good things they will have to look forward to as well as the more negative aspects of the career and the sacrifices they will have to make. She asked them to always have the courage to stand up for what is right and to never dishonor their oath.
“I think they’re well prepared,” said Clifton Osborne, Director for the CTC Police Academy, about the graduating class. “It’s exciting to let them go and start their careers.”
Still filled with the elation of graduation, the Cove graduating cadets moved to a nearby room where they were sworn in by Justice of the Peace Bill Price. Joshua Bailey was pinned by his father, Allen Bailey. Kellen Burnes was pinned by his father, Ronald Burnes
Both cadets were excited to become police officers and serve the community.
“It’s been a lifelong dream of mine. I’ve always admired police officers,” said Joshua Bailey. “I’ve seen that they are the ones who come and help people and I’ve always wanted to help people.”
Bailey came from north Texas with the desire to serve the city of Copperas Cove.
“It’s been a lifelong dream of mine as well,” said Kellen Burnes. “I want to serve the people of Copperas Cove. I want to be able to serve people in their time of need just like others have been there for me in mine.”
Several members of Burnes family also serve in a law enforcement capacity. He will be part of his family’s third generation to do so.
Both cadets said that they’ve learned a lot during their time in the academy and developed a strong sense of camaraderie.
“We started off as strangers and now we’re brothers,” said Bailey.
They are both well prepared to take the next step in their careers as officers.