by Alana J. Mauger
Class 1302 Valedictorian Cadet Hope A. Sanderlin addresses cadets.
Thirty cadets graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on Nov. 13 during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.
Skye McLaughlin sang the National Anthem to begin the ceremony, followed by a moment of reflection from Director of Criminal Justice & Fire Science Programs Benn Prybutok.
Chief Robert A. Schurr from North Coventry Township Police Department was selected by class 1302 to give the keynote address. During his remarks, Schurr, who is an instructor at the academy, spoke about the unique role held by police officers in the community.
“As police officers, we see and do things that no one else has the opportunity to see and do,” Schurr told the cadets. “Only 20 percent of what you will do is actually law enforcement. In most cases, what we’re really doing is providing service and guidance to our community. We’re reinforcing that residents can count on us to help.”
Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., County Detective Lieutenant Jim McGowan and County Deputy Directory of Public Safety Jesse Stemple also attended the ceremony, along with representatives from Abington, Drexel University, Delaware River Port Authority, East Norriton, Lititz, Lower Merion, Pottstown, and Springfield police departments.
Earning the highest GPA in her class, Cadet Hope A. Sanderlin, Philadelphia, offered remarks on behalf of the graduates.
“We are ultimately defined by the sum of small kindnesses we demonstrate to the people around us,” she said. “In that way, we are custodians of our communities and the law enforcement profession.”
In addition to serving as valedictorian, Sanderlin also earned the Spirit of Distinction Award.
Academy Director Frank Williar presented several other awards during the ceremony, including the Leadership Award to Cadet Lt. Andrew Thiel, Bedminister, and the James R. Miller Marksmanship Award to Eric Lacovara, North Wales. The award is presented in memory of Upper Dublin Police Sergeant Jim Miller, who died in an automobile accident while on duty in 2004.
Williar also introduced a brand new award that will be presented annually to an outstanding Academy instructor. The Charles O. “Chip” Pritchett Exceptional Instructor of the Year Award is given in honor of former Academy Deputy Director Chip Pritchett, who lost his battle with cancer last month. The award was presented to Abington Township Police Department Director of Training Bob Sands, who has taught at the academy for more than 25 years.
Cadets from class 1302 attended the academy full time, Monday through Friday for 22 weeks. Graduates include Octavius Baker, Pottstown; Kenneth Berger, Philadelphia; Zachary Bubnis, Horsham; Scott Burnick, Collegeville; Carlos Cartagena, Lansdale; Nicholas Catagnus, Norristown; Adam Clark, Lansdale; Michael Corbo, Norristown; Michael Damiano, Collegeville; John D’Amico, Pottstown; Dominic Dovidio, Warminster; David Engle, Levittown; Anthony Fischer, Lansdowne; David Fleishman, Elkins Park; Robert Kerstetter, Norristown; Eric Lacovara, North Wales; Ian McAnlis, Langhorne; Michael Mullen, Pennsburg; Chris Neal, North Wales; David O’Neill, Plymouth Meeting; Daniel Quinn, Levittown; Brian Reguera, Horsham; Brian Roth, Lower Pottsgrove; Hope Sanderlin, Philadelphia; Andrew Saurman, Abington; Andrew Thiel, Bedminister; Francis Toth, Boothwyn; Phillip Voorhees, Lansdale; Edward Washington, Willow Grove; and Adam Wolfinger, Quakertown.
Montgomery County Community College, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus, 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken.
The academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,400 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 90 percent. The 800-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Studies.
Cadet Lt. Andrew Thiel of Class 1302 transfers command to Cadet Lt. Laina Stephens, Class 1304. Photos by John Welsh