Fourteen cadets graduated on Dec. 13 from the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program at Vance-Granville Community College, in a ceremony held in the Civic Center on Main Campus. After passing the state certification exam, all are authorized to work in any law enforcement agency in North Carolina.
Graduates of VGCC’s 103rd BLET class included Heather Jocqueline Cruz of the Franklinton Police Department; Justin Lamar Dailey and Shauna Demetrius Terry, both of the Henderson Police Department; Emmett Avory Smith of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation; André McCoy Oakley, Cedrick Shawn Peace II and Vicky Victor Philip, all of the Oxford Police Department; Kenneth William Fitzsimmons, Jr., of the Roxboro Police Department; James Brett Aiken, Erik Jamaal Sheftal and Tyrone Terry, all of the Vance County Sheriff’s Office; Antonio Tyrelle Seward of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office; Christopher Lee Oakley and Jennifer Christine Watson.
The ceremony began with a presentation of colors by students from the ROTC program at Northern Vance High School, and the singing of the national anthem by NVHS student Jaylen Webb.
In welcoming remarks, Dr. Angela Ballentine, VGCC’s vice president of academic affairs, thanked the many leaders from local and state law enforcement agencies in attendance for partnering with the college. “Your support for the BLET program is invaluable,” Ballentine told the law enforcement representatives. “You sponsor our cadets, hire our graduates, provide many of our instructors, and give us feedback and advice. This successful partnership between VGCC and our community improves the safety and quality of life of our region.” She congratulated the graduates on successfully completing the rigorous, 667-hour training program and encouraged them to continue their education. “I wish you every success as you protect and serve all of us,” Ballentine added.
Speaking as leader of the class, Cadet Cedrick Peace thanked the many instructors who had trained them, as well as the family members and friends who were there to support the graduates. “Today, we leave the classroom, and tomorrow, we enter our communities, our neighborhoods and our streets,” Peace said to his classmates. “I thank you for choosing to serve others.” He said that the cadets had become like a family. “Family means not letting each other give up when things get hard,” Peace said. “With this profession, you will have many brothers and sisters who will pick you back up when you’re down.”
Graduates selected Sgt. Richard Creech of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, one of their physical training, or “P.T.,” instructors, to serve as their featured speaker. “You wondered why I pushed you so hard in during P.T. workouts,” he said to the class. “It builds character and discipline, but most importantly, it teaches us not to give up, no matter how tired we get. Out on the streets, we don’t have the luxury of giving up. We will not give up, and we will go home at the end of our shift.”
Creech also reminded the graduating cadets to “treat everyone like you’d want your mother to be treated” and to become leaders in their agencies. “You can and you will make a difference,” he told the class. “I appreciate you all taking the challenge of law enforcement.”
Andrea Ferguson, the program coordinator, and instructor Glen Boyd presented awards to the top students in the class in three categories. Fitzsimmons won the “Top Gun” Award for having the highest accuracy score in firearms qualification. Peace earned the Physical Fitness Award for scoring highest in the various fitness tests the cadets undergo during physical training. Smith took home the Academic Achievement Award for having the top grade average in the written tests each cadet must pass.
For more information on the BLET program, contact Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org.Image Information: In front, from left, VGCC Basic Law Enforcement Training Class 103 graduates Antonio Tyrelle Seward, Justin Lamar Dailey, James Brett Aiken, Tyrone Terry, Erik Jamaal Sheftal, Heather Jocqueline Cruz, Andre McCoy Oakley and Emmett Avory Smith; in back, from left, VGCC law enforcement training coordinator Andrea Ferguson with graduates Jennifer Christine Watson, Shauna Demetrius Terry, Cedrick Shawn Peace II, Kenneth William Fitzsimmons Jr, Vicky Victor Philip, Christopher Lee Oakley and instructor Glen Boyd. (VGCC Photo)