Three new Copperas Cove police officers among 30 graduates CTC’s police academy
By PAMELA GRANT
Immediately after their graduation, the Copperas Cove Police Department swore in three new officers.
The three cadets were among the 30 who had the honor of graduating from Central Texas College (CTC)’s Basic Peace Officer Course on Saturday morning. The students, part of the Bravo Class, began their studies January 15, and each completed 780 hours’ worth of training (they are only required to complete 643 hours). The class passed with an impressive average score of 92.48 percent. Those hours included not only academics, but also hands-on training in various areas including driving and use of firearms.
Several awards were given as part of the ceremony. Justin Orr with the Copperas Cove Police Department received the Top Gear Award for showing the best driving competency. Rusty Bryant, with the Temple Fire Department, received the Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie Top Gun Award for showing the greatest proficiency with firearms. Richard Bond, with the Cedar Park Police Department, was chosen by his peers as Class President. Kelsi Smith, with the Bell County Sheriff’s Department, received the Academic Honors Award, graduating with the class’s highest score with an average of 99.08 percent, one of the highest scores they’ve ever had in the academy.
The cadets voted for Sergeant Steven O’Neal of the Copperas Cove Police Department to receive the Top Instructor Award. Chief Patrick J. Boone, former CTC Police Academy Director and current chief of police in Salado received the Recognition Award.
“It was a great class. They pulled together really fast,” said Clifton Osborne, Training Coordinator for the CTC Police Academy. “The class all had good attitudes.”
U.S Representative John Carter served as the guest speaker for the event.
“Don’t get so used to the ride you’re taking that you don’t realize the next stop could be your last,” warned Carter. He urged them to always take their job and to keep safety and appropriate levels of caution as a priority.
Carter reminded the cadets that, as officers, they are responsible for every human being in the room. He talked about his time as a judge, and how important even tiny details can be. Carter told the cadets about a case he tried in which a small detail almost was the difference between a key piece of evidence being allowed or not. He stressed the fact that it’s the small details, provided by the officers that can be the difference between making or breaking a case and being able to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
He stressed the importance of their jobs and the fact that it is the law that holds our society together—not any individual, not any king or monarch—it is respect for our Constitution that keeps our country strong.
“There’s no more honorable thing that you can do, man or woman, for the American people, than to help enforce the laws,” said Carter.
Before the elation of graduation could even wear off, the Cove graduates moved to the room next door and were sworn in by Mayor Bradi Diaz as officers for the Copperas Cove Police Department.
Gregory Peña was pinned by his wife, Angelita Peña. Roger Snow was pinned by his wife, Tiffany Snow. Justin Orr was pinned by his father, David Orr.
“Everything was pretty new, and that made the academy enjoyable. I went in with an empty mind and was able to fill it,” said Gregory Peña. “I’m very fortunate to be going to Cove and having these guys going with me.”
“One journey’s over, now another begins,” said Roger Snow who previously served as a dispatcher.
“I think everybody here is really excited, but it’s not the end of what we have to do…This is just a stepping stone—one hurdle of many to come,” said Justin Orr, who was sworn in less than a month after his 21st birthday. “We still have to keep that open mind and willingness to learn.”
CTC is currently accepting applications for the Basic Peace Officer Course which begins July 15. More information on the course can be found at https://www.ctcd.edu/academics/instructional-departments/protective-serv...