After undergoing almost ten long months of night classes five nights a week, Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader presided over the proud graduating Peace Officer Academy class #130 at 2:pm on Saturday, October 14th at the Jack Hartel Building in Liberty, Texas. These twenty-four Cadet’s  graduated with an outstanding overall academic score of 89.7. The Basic Peace Officer Academy class was sponsored by College of the Mainland and hosted by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office with Investigators Josh Cummins and Chris Ungles heading up the academy class and arranging for all the instructors that taught in the academy. This academy was an evening class where most all the Cadets have full time day jobs and after completing a day’s work, they still had to attend classes, study for the next day’s class and even participate in after-hours training. A very taxing schedule for anyone to sustain for such a long period of time.

Academy Coordinator Josh Cummins stressed that this class had a 100 percent pass rate on the very first attempt and that College of the Mainland was very impressed with the high academic scores produced by these Cadets as well as the overall high quality of the Academy standards that had to be met by all Cadets.  Mr. Thom Karlok, Law Enforcement Director for College of the Mainland highlighted the many and varied studies  the students absorbed such as the Texas Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedures, U.S. Constitution, self-defense, firearms training and a multitude of other law enforcement related subjects. Capt. Billy Knox presented Cadet Linda Longoria the “Top Shot” award for her outstanding performance with the AR-15, shotgun and hand gun while class leader Cadet Kalyn Perry and Cadet Linda Longoria were both given awards for their Academic score that tied at 94.9.

Class leader Cadet Perry gave a rather light hearted presentation on how the academy class pulled all the Cadets together as one and they all found that what they were told by the instructors that “Friendships would be born” was, in fact, a reality. Selecting a “battle buddy” for many of their physical training classes only furthered this deep friendship and solidarity.

Just before handing out the graduating certificates, Sheriff Rader addressed the Cadets and over 200 family members, friends and fellow peace Officers in attendance. While he congratulated the Cadets for a very successful completion of the academy, he gave a reality check to everyone by reminding them that each Cadet was entering a difficult profession and that their real life training was just starting. The Sheriff reminded them that in many cases they will cry at what they see on the streets… that they must put those who will hate you and want to harm you behind you and focus on the good things you experience like saving a child’s life . The many difficult cases that will be handled where evidence will have to be collected and presented in a specific way in order to put criminals away from the law abiding public they are sworn to serve….dealing with dangerous situations where a life threatening decision must be acted upon in a split second and above all, keeping in mind that at the end of your shift, you want to go home to your family safely. Sheriff Rader ended by saying that. “… you guys are awesome and I thank you…”.

While seven of these new recruits will be hired on as full time deputies with the Sheriff’s Office and twelve more will join the ranks of the Reserves, some of the other graduates will move on to other agencies for either full time or Reserves. In any case, the citizens of Liberty County can rest assured that twenty-four of the very best and well trained Peace Officers have earned their badges and are ready to step up and answer their call to duty.

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