Police Department adds five to its ranks

By LYNETTE SOWELL
Cove Leader-Press 

Five new Copperas Cove police officers and three Copperas Cove firefighters graduated along with nine other cadets from the Central Texas College Police Academy on Saturday morning. 
Immediately following the graduation, the eight took their oaths office as licensed peace officers after graduating from CTC’s Basic Peace Officer course. The five new officers officially began their time on the force on Monday morning. 
Usually, the Copperas Cove Police Department holds a separate swearing-in ceremony at the police department’s community room on the first day of new officer training. This time around, things were a bit different, Sgt. Jeremy Alber with the Copperas Cove Police Department told family and friends of the cadets, along with police and fire department personnel present for the graduation and swearing-in ceremony. 
He said the department realized many friends and family come from out of town for graduation and that staying for a swearing-in on the first day of training wasn’t something some family members were able to do. So from now on, the department will hold its swearing-in ceremonies immediately after the graduation at the college. 
Copperas Cove judge F.W. “Bill” Price swore in the new officers and those firefighters receiving their peace officer license, after which the eight graduates were pinned by family, friends, or colleagues, and then signed their oaths of office.
Graduating cadets from Copperas Cove included Joshua Anchors, John Burgan and Carlos Mariduena of the Copperas Cove Fire Department; Jonathan Bryan, Kayla Long, Michael Marine, Joseph Raj and Eric Stoneburner of the Copperas Cove Police Department. 
Other cadets were Bart Baker of the Lampasas Fire Department; Eric Batchelor of the San Saba Sheriff’s Office; Jerry Loden of the Falls County Constable Precinct 3; Darren McPhail of the Rosebud Police Department; Cpt. Ethan Gingerich of the Killeen Fire Department; and Robert Jackson, Eric Sooter, Carolyn Weakley and Johnathan White. 
During the ceremony, several awards were presented. Eric Batchelor earned the academic honors graduate award with a grade average of 96.5. Jerry Loden was named class president. Eric Sooter won the Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie Top Gun award for best firearms performance.  
The Best Instructor award, as voted on by the cadets, was presented to Sgt. Steven O’Neal of the Copperas Cove Police Department.
The academy consists of a 19-week, 720-hour course, which in addition to written test, trained cadets in defensive tactics, firearms and police vehicle operation. In addition, classroom work included victims’ rights, Texas Penal Code, Texas Traffic Code, Texas Family Code, criminal investigation, stress management, problem solving and more.

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