50 Cadets Graduate from the College’s Municipal Police Academy

by Diane VanDyke

Fifty police cadets of Classes 1303 and 1401graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on July 16 during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Theater, 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell—a fitting number as the College celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

FBI Special Agent Scott A. Duffey and District Justice Paul N. Leo, who both teach at the academy, served as the keynote speakers.

Duffey told the cadets and audience members the jobs for today’s police officers are 24/7.

“You not only have to combat crime and protect the public, but you need to find innovative ways to reduce crime. . . you must be both proactive and ready to react,” he said.

Leo similarly advised the graduates to think creatively as well as proactively.

“You must think outside the box, not that you will trample any of the rights under the Constitution, but you must realize there are many ways to solve a problem,” he said.

The Valedictorian for Class 1303, Lt. David Vernacchio, reminded his classmates about three important concepts for all police officers to remember: professionalism, integrity and family.

The Valedictorian for Class 1401, Joshua Bills cited Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” drawing a comparison that the life of a police officer is often like “the road less traveled—and that makes all the difference.”

Academy Deputy Director Jude T. McKenna presented the James R. Miller Marksmanship Awards to Staff Sergeant Steven Bauman (1303) and to Christopher Sheffer (1401) and the Spirit of Distinction Awards to Josh Taormino (1303) and Sergeant Brendan O’Connor (1401).

During the ceremony, Karen and John McGowan IV presented the Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3,500 to Lauren Hart, North Wales. The scholarship honors East Norriton Police Chief John McGowan, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2010.

Hart, 23, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Delaware Valley College and then enrolled at the Police Academy. She has done internships with the Montgomery County Detective Bureau, Upper Dublin Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security. She started her new job as an officer with the Whitemarsh Township Police Department on July 21.

Director Frank Williar, who has led the academy since 2005, congratulated the new graduates saying, “No matter how many times I stand here, I find myself awed and even humbled by the quality of the graduates. You have done yourselves and us proud.”

The 33 graduates of Class 1401, who attended the 22-week full-time program, are Joshua Bills (Pocono Summit, Pa.), Eric Blood (Philadelphia), Andrew Burrows (Doylestown), Ralph Burrows (Bellingham, Wash.), Raymond Clayton (Philadelphia), Brett Cortis (Boyertown), Kyle Crawford (Collegeville), Thomasz Czarnuszewicz (Yardley), Peter Gubicza (Holland, Pa.), Elliott Guffey (Royersford), Justin Harris (Philadelphia), Lauren Hart (North Wales), Justin Johnson (Harleysville), Kevin Junod (Glenside), William Kane (Harleysville), Matthew Maciejewski (Buffalo, New York), Kevin Marvill (Ambler), Greg Meinhardt (Harleysville), Lauren Mergen (Harleysville), Brendan O’Connor (Conshohocken), Nick Ratschof (Southampton), Imran Raza (Warrington), Shaun Roberts (Fallsington, Pa.), Erich Rumsey (Doylestown), Gregory Sedgwick (East Norriton), Christopher Sheffer (Bridgeport), Robert Steck (Warminster), Adam Szewczyk (Lansdale), Vincenzo Tucciarone (Perkasie), Zachary Waltman (Feasterville), Douglas Wang (Levittown), Greg Waters (Churchville) and Joel Williams (Horsham).

The 17 graduates of Class 1303, who attended the 42-week, part-time evening program, are Brian Armstrong (Lansdale), Steven Bauman (Sellersville), Michael Cantrell (King of Prussia), Albert Chan (Philadelphia), Carlito Cortez (Richboro, Pa.), Brad Craig (Conshohocken), Anthony Long (Bethlehem), Lora Martin (Bethlehem), Brandon Martinez (Philadelphia), Jonathan Matthews (Horsham), Randall Pompei (Quakertown), Brittany Rosenfeld (Hatfield), Joshua Samuels (Quakertown), Alana Stanziano (Harleysville), Josh Taormino (San Jose, Calif.), Michelle Williamson (Levittown) and David Vernacchio (West Norriton).

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, PA 19428.

The Academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,800 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.

Fifty police cadets of Classes 1303 and 1401graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on July 16. Photo by John Welsh

Fifty police cadets of Classes 1303 and 1401graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on July 16. Photo by John Welsh

35 Cadets Graduate from College’s Municipal Police Academy

by Alana J. Mauger

Thirty-five cadets graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy last month during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Theater, 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The ceremony began with a moment of silence in memory of Plymouth Township Police Officer Bradley Fox, who was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 13, 2012. Fox was a graduate from academy class 603.

Retired Pennsylvania State Police Lieutenant Michael Ford, a Vietnam veteran and instructor at the academy, was selected by class 1204 to give the keynote address.

During his remarks, Ford commended the cadets for their “tenacity, focus and professionalism,” stating that class 1204 “ranks with the best I have ever seen.”

“There’s a reason [academy] instructors come back to teach year after year. [The cadets] are a part of what I do – my legacy. I want them to be the best they can possibly be and make me proud,” he said.

Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. and Montgomery County Chief of Detectives Edward Justice also attended the ceremony, along with representatives from Lower Merion, Quakertown, Upper Darby and Abington police departments.

As valedictorian, Cadet Dwight Kondravy, Philadelphia, offered remarks on behalf of his fellow graduates. Other honors presented during the ceremony included the Leadership Award to Cadet Lieutenant Kevin Saffell, Norristown, and the Spirit of Distinction Award to Cadet Sergeant Richard Lewis, Willow Grove.

Academy Director Frank Williar presented the Director’s Teamwork Achievement Award to Cadet Corporal Brenna Stemler, Hatboro. This new award recognizes a cadet who best exemplifies the concept of team over self. Williar also presented the class 1204 guidon to George William Hallahan, West Chester. The class flag is occasionally presented to a graduating cadet who overcomes the greatest number of challenges to succeed.

Two cadets, Timothy Miller, of Upper Darby, and Edward Sarama, of Galloway, N.J., achieved perfect scores on the range, earning them the Sgt. James R. Miller Marksmanship Award. The award is presented in memory of Upper Dublin Police Sergeant Jim Miller, who died in an automobile accident while on duty in 2004.

Additionally, Ryan Bunda, of Bristol, was presented with the Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship. The $2,500 scholarship honors former East Norriton Police Chief John McGowan, who was killed in a fatal motorcycle accident in June 18, 2010.

Cadets from class 1204 attended the academy full time, Monday through Friday for 22 weeks. Graduates include Ryan Bunda, Bristol; Joseph Cantymagli, Pottstown; Sean Clements, Bensalem; Jack Davis, Towamencin; Matthew Dougherty, Media; Ronald Ernst, Newtown; Samantha Grebe, Lansdale, G. William Hallahan, West Chester; Brandon Hertzog, Lansdale; Paul Houseknecht, East Greenville; Tyrone Johnson, Penllyn; Kyle Knowles, Levittown; Dwight Kondravy, Philadelphia; Jonathan Kramer, Perkasie; Richard Lewis, Willow Grove; Matthew Lynch, Upper Darby; Matthew MacNeal, Glenolden; Robert Maier, Skippack; Timothy Miller, Upper Darby; Ryan Paskel, Bridgeport; John Prestia, Plymouth Meeting; James Robb, Pottstown; Timothy Romanek, Levittown; Kevin Saffell, Norristown; Edward Sarama, Galloway, N.J.; Matthew Stead, Schwenksville; Breanna Stemler, Hatboro; Will Suren, Philadelphia; John Wade, Bristol; Jeff Ward, Warminister; Madeline Welsh, Phoenixville; Paul Welsh, Roslyn; and Robert Whitt, Hopewell, N.J.

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, PA 19428.

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.

Photos by John Welsh

Cadets Graduate From Municipal Police Academy

by Diane VanDyke

Thirty police cadets graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on Nov. 14 during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Auditorium, 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The graduates of Class 1202 included Stephen Andrews (Richboro), Gregory Borgmann (Warminster), Raymond Brook (Maple Glen), Michael Choiniere (Gilbertsville), David Clouser (Quakertown), Richard Dean (Yardley), Shalako Drabinksy (Chalfont), Kevin Furman (Newtown Square), Eric Honick (Conshohocken), Jason Howell (Limerick), Erik Iochum (Abington), Joseph Jennings (Churchville), Salvatore LaMantia (Yardley), Michael Lanzafame (Philadelphia), Bryan Lukens (Whitemarsh), Scott Lukens (Plymouth Meeting), David Malischewski (Perkasie), Joseph O’Mara (Lower Gwynedd), Stephen Pimm (Ambler), Michael Pinciotti (Newtown), Benjamin Romanowicz (Bensalem), Benjamin Scott (Pennsburg), Brian Seibert (Worcester), Jennifer Smith (Abington), Kevin South (Morrisville), Rafael Stoppazzollo (Philadelphia), Michael Theiss (Tuckerton, N.J.), Michael Verrillo (Warrington), Anthony Vogel (Horsham) and Zachary Wise (Phoenixville).

Valedictorian Sgt. Stephen Pimm earned the Sgt. James R. Miller Marksmanship award, and Lt. Bryan Lukens earned the Leadership Award. Sgt. Richard Dean was awarded the Spirit of Distinction Award for his teamwork, discipline, dedication and leadership.

The ceremony started with a moment of silence in respect for fallen Plymouth Township Police Officer Bradley Fox, an alumnus of the Police Academy. A chaired draped with his jacket bearing his name was placed next to the podium during the ceremony in his memory

Guest speakers for the evening included Sgt. Ken Hawthorn of the Warrington Township Police Department and Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman also attended.

In his remarks, Hawthorn told the cadets to “be firm but be fair,” and not to dwell on mistakes.

“Remember, your patrol car has a big windshield and a small rearview mirror,” he said. “What’s in front of you is more important than what’s behind you.”

Castor reminded the cadets to “do the right thing” when the moment calls for it. “Being a police officer,” he said, “is not a profession but a calling, a calling to do the right thing for the people of the community.”

During the ceremony, the McGowan family presented the Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $2,500 to Orwigsburg Borough Police Officer Matthew Fogarty of Royersford.  Fogarty graduated from the Police Academy in July 2012 and also serves as an emergency medical technician.

When receiving the scholarship, Fogarty thanked the McGowan family, telling them, “Chief McGowan was the leader I dream of becoming.”

Chief McGowan started his law enforcement career in 1974 with the Lower Moreland Police Department. While working there, he graduated from the FBI National Academy and earned his master’s degree in Criminal Justice from St. Joseph’s University. After his retirement in 1992, he became the police chief and public safety director for East Norriton Township, a position he held until June 18, 2010, when he was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident.

In addition to his law enforcement career, McGowan was an academic instructor in the Criminal Justice program at Montgomery County Community College. He also served as past president of the Montgomery County Police Chiefs’ Association and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association and was instrumental in establishing the Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Academy Director Frank A. Williar praised Class 1202, stating that the members of this class are definitely people he would recommend to safeguard his family and the community.

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, PA 19428.

The Academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,200 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 96 percent. The 800-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.

Williar, a 1974 Police Academy graduate, was hired as the Academy Director in 2005. The Academy is certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission.

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Photos by John Welsh

Alumnus, Officer Bradley Fox Remembered as a Hero

by Alana J. Mauger

On the evening of Sept. 13, Plymouth Township K-9 Officer Bradley Fox was shot and killed in the line of duty while trying to apprehend the suspect of a hit and run incident.

Officer Fox was a respected alumnus of Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy, Class 603.  He remained active with the Academy during his seven-year tenure with the Plymouth Township Police Department and was a stellar role model for the Academy’s cadets and all who knew him.

Police Academy Director Frank Williar shared his memories of Fox with The Mercury and The Inquirer on Friday.

Counselors from the College’s Student Success Center and Student Success & Referral Team (SSRT) are available at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus in Conshohocken, as well as at the College’s Central and West Campuses, to offer support to the Academy’s cadets, and to all students, faculty and staff during this difficult time.

A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who served two tours of duty in Iraq, Officer Fox leaves behind a wife and young child with another child on the way.  He would have turned 35 years of age on September 14 – one day after his untimely death. A vigil was held Friday on the lawn of Fox’s New Hanover Township home.

Montgomery County Sheriff Eileen Behr announced funeral arrangements and the establishment of a Fox Children’s trust fund. 

A bake sale and other fundraisers are also being organized by neighbors and friends in support of the Fox family.

The entire College community grieves the passing of Bradley Fox.  Our thoughts are with his family, colleagues and friends.

61 Cadets Graduate from Montgomery County Municipal Police Academy

by Alana J. Mauger

Sixty-one cadets graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy on July 18 during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Theater, 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell.

Steven A. Beck, coordinator of school safety with the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety, and Paul N. Leo, district justice, both instructors at the academy, were selected by classes 1103 and 1201 to give keynote addresses.

During his remarks, Beck, who serves as the firearms coordinator for the academy, stressed the importance of weapon safety in training, on the job and at home.

“The cadets took to heart the seriousness of their training,” he said. “I know it takes a special kind of citizen to take the steps necessary to join the police academy.”

Leo called the graduating cadets “the cream of the crop” and offered advice he learned during his 28 years with the Upper Dublin Police Department and 12 years as district justice.

“There is a minimum of two sides to every story. It’s your job to thoroughly investigate and articulate the facts.”

Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. and Montgomery County Chief of Detectives Edward Justice also attended the ceremony.

As valedictorians, cadets James Trymbiski, Warrington, and Stephen Chapman, Philadelphia, offered remarks on behalf of their fellow graduates. Cadets from class 1103 attended the academy part time, Monday through Thursday evenings for 42 weeks. Cadets from class 1201 attended the academy full time, Monday through Friday for 22 weeks.

“I learned a lot from observing you guys,” Trymbiski said to his fellow cadets from class 1103. “Every one of you has brought something to the table. Together, our class bestowed all the qualities that make every group or team work.”

Chapman described cadets in class 1201 as “a family, connected by common experience.”

“I gained 33 brothers and sisters,” he said. “Real lessons can’t be compiled in a grade book. We all learned, together, that we are more than we thought we could be.”

In addition to achieving the highest GPAs, Trymbiski and Chapman also earned the Sgt. James R. Miller Marksmanship Award in their respective classes. The award is presented in memory of Upper Dublin Police Sergeant Jim Miller, who died in an automobile accident while on duty in 2004.

Other honors presented during the ceremony included the Leadership Award to cadet lieutenants George Sims, Philadelphia, and Jeffry Seamans, Lower Providence, and the Spirit of Distinction Award to Igor Parfeniouk, Feasterville, Andrea Sovari, Collegeville, and Jonathan Recchi, Philadelphia.

Graduates from class 1103 include Kyle Bartholomew, Hellertown; Jeffrey Crescenzo, Hatboro; Joleen DePasquale, Philadelphia; Meghan Donlen, Skippack; Nicholas Durham, Phillipsburg, N.J.; Steven Feldmann, Levittown; Matthew Fogarty, Royersford; Eric Fries, Philadelphia; Stephen Garris, Levittown; Francis Hayden, Abington; Eric Johnson, Schwenksville; James Joniec, Harleysville; Michael Kirk, Levittown; Joseph LaBorde, Feasterville; Jeffrey Lorish, Douglassville; Matthew Malcolm, Philadelphia; Joshua Mallabar-Hobson, Kintnersville; Ashley Mandarano, Conshohocken; David Manning, Philadelphia; Terrance Matthews, Philadelphia; Christopher McAroy, Huntingdon Valley, Victor Morrison, Warminister; Igor Parfeniouk, Feasterville; George Sims, Philadelphia; Michael Snock, Philadelphia; Andrea Sovari, Collegeville; Christopher Sterner, Nazareth; James Trymbiski, Warrington.

Graduates from class 1201 include Ryan Allen, Quakertown; Rachel Axelrod, Lower Merion; Ryan Babcock, Upper Dublin; John Bogan, Malvern; Darren Brow, Philadelphia; John Brucker, Upper Dublin; Kevin Buchanan, Levittown; Jeffrey Calabrese, Havertown; Stephen Chapman, Philadelphia; Joseph Fetko, Flourtown; Justin Fritz, Pottstown; Patrick Gardner, Upper Darby; Kevin Harp, Pottstown; Corey Hatton, Havertown; Steven Hochwind, Chalfont; Anthony Krolikowski, Ambler; Colin Lawlor, New Hanover; James Mains, Gilbertsville; Chris McAroy; Jason Niewood, Philadelphia; Matthew Peppleman, Doylestown; Zachary Peppleman, Doylestown; Kelcy Pitts, Naples, Fla.; Jonathan Recchi, Philadelphia; Brian Resta, Langhorne; Andrew Rook, Hamilton, N.J., Brian Schaible, Oreland; Jeffrey Seamans, Lower Providence; Jeffrey Showmaker, Churchville; Vincent Small, Huntingdon Valley; Ashlie Smith, Warminister; Nicholas Travaline, Philadelphia; Kyle Walker, Warminister; Zachary Zeoli, King of Prussia.

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, PA 19428.

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.

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photos by John Welsh