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Police Academy Honors Inaugural Graduating Class With Ceremony

Posted September 8, 2023 at 11:43 am

The inaugural class of the Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Police Academy was honored during a graduation ceremony held at the Richland Campus Auditorium on Thursday, September 7.

Each of the 11 cadets was presented with a certificate acknowledging their completion of the academy, with 10 receiving their recognition from the police chief and/or sheriff representing the respective department they will be employed at upon graduation and successful completion of a state test.

“The cadets came from all walks of life, age ranges from 18 to 39, and a three-county region to attend the Police Academy’s intensive training program,” stated Dennis Miller, Penn Highlands Police Academy Director. “It was a unique experience to witness the cadets forming a tight bond and embrace the class motto of “Leave No One Behind”. These bonds will last a lifetime and assist them as they enter the field of law enforcement. I am proud to have been a part of preparing the next generation of cadets to begin their law enforcement careers and serve our local communities.”

Cadet Angel Raehl was named valedictorian of the class after scoring 908 out of a possible 940 combined points on 26 tests and completion of eight different real-life scenarios.

The curriculum included subjects ranging from constitutional law, ethics, de-escalation strategies, criminal law and procedures, and search and seizure. Additionally, each cadet successfully completed practical training in physical fitness, defensive control tactics, emergency vehicle operation, firearms, first aid, and CPR, along with optional certifications in field sobriety, taser, police baton, and pepper spray.

“The Police Academy helped me prepare to be a good police officer,” Raehl stated. “I had amazing instructors and an incredible learning experience. It means a lot that I get to be part of the first graduating class at the Penn Highlands Police Academy.”

Cadets endured 919 total hours of instruction over the course of 11 months – 498 inside a classroom and 421 practical hands-on training.

The Police Academy ran four nights per week with each class lasting four hours. The cadets’ training and qualifications in firearms took place on Saturday and Sunday, spanning 10 consecutive weekends.

To close out the Police Academy, cadets completed 40 hours of real-life scenario training involving three individual role players, all of whom have experience in criminal justice-related fields and hail from our local communities.

“Being a part of the first class graduating out of the Penn Highlands Police Academy is important to me,” Cadet Ian Crouch stated. “It means that we laid the foundation for future cadets who will also be serving our local communities. It required the instructors, as well as us cadets, to think on our feet at times and overcome obstacles together. I am proud to have been a part of setting the standard here.”

A total of 12 instructors assisted in the training and certification process, including Miller and Assistant Director Kevin Gaudlip.

“I am proud to be a part of the first graduating class from the Penn Highlands Police Academy,” cadet Austin Thomas stated. “The police academy has given me the basic foundation needed to become a certified police officer in Pennsylvania. The instructors have passed on a lot of valuable information, which I believe will help me succeed in my career as a police officer.”

The Penn Highlands Police Academy’s second class of cadets is slated to begin on September 18.

Watch Ceremony Replay