Pictured are Southern Marylands newest police officers, who graduated from the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy on Feb. 19. [click image for larger rendition](Submitted photo)
LA PLATA, Md. (March 07, 2010)—The Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy celebrated the graduation of 13 police recruits at a ceremony held Feb. 19 in at Leonardtown High School in St. Marys County.
The recruits completed a six-month training program, which began Aug. 8. Four of the graduating officers joined the Charles County Sheriffs Office, two joined the Calvert County Sheriffs Office, six joined the St. Marys County Sheriffs Office and one joined the La Plata Police Department.
At the ceremony, Academy instructors presented awards to students who excelled in four categories. Cheyann Gilroy earned the scholastic award, having achieved a 97.97 percent academic average. Glen Knott of the St. Marys County Sheriffs Office received the firearms award, having achieved a final firearms score of 97.25 percent. Officer Nathan Funchion of the Calvert County Sheriffs Office received the Physical Training Award, having earned 789 points out of 800 possible points. Will Thompson of the St. Marys County Sheriffs Office received the vehicle operations award.
The Academy also introduced a new award, the Staff Award of Excellence, which was presented to Gilroy for her unmatched initiative and dedication. Gilroy sought additional physical training, arrived early for class and maintained a positive attitude that inspired her fellow recruits.
The class boasted a 95.25 final class academic average. Their class motto, chosen by the recruits at the beginning of the training program, was Live to Serve Serve to Protect.
Mary Atlas Terry, a St. Marys County native who became a victim advocate for the Department of Justice following her husbands brutal murder, was the keynote speaker. Nicholas Valltos, associate professor of criminal justice at the College of Southern Maryland, spoke about the articulation agreement between the Academy and the College, which provides each graduate with 15 college credits toward a criminal justice degree. Monsignor Karl Chimiak, a police chaplain for the St. Marys County Sheriffs Office, delivered the invocation and benediction. Charles Rapp, executive director of the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions, shared opening remarks. The Academys board of directors Charles County Sheriff Rex W. Coffey, St. Marys County Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron and Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans, the boards president and the class speaker, Officer Gilroy, also addressed the graduates. Officer Jeffrey Hitaffer of the La Plata Police Department sang the National Anthem and the St. Marys County Sheriffs Offices Color Guard presented the colors.
The Sheriffs also specially recognized Lt. Rey Aportadera, who was celebrating his final graduation ceremony as the Academys commander. In the three years he served as commander, Lt. Aportadera introduced new training techniques and extended the training of the police and correctional officer entry-level programs by two weeks each. Lt. Aportadera, a member of the Charles County Sheriffs Office, transferred to a new assignment the next day. The Academys new commander, Capt. Richard Gray, is a member of the St. Marys County Sheriffs Office.
The recruits dedicated their Academy session and graduation ceremony to Cpl. Stephen Bunker (Retired) and TFC Mickey Lippy, who were killed in the Maryland State Police Trooper 2 med-evac helicopter crash in 2008. Recruits also presented plaques during the ceremony to TFC Lippys mother, Wilma Lippy, and TFC Carl Hardcastle.
Following is a list of the graduates.
Charles County Sheriffs Office:
John P. Campbell
Christopher P. Curtis
Frederick E. Davis, Jr.
Cheyann L. Gilroy
Calvert County Sheriffs Office:
Jeffrey G. Denton
Nathan A. Funchion
St. Marys County:
Cory M. Ellis
Kenneth H. Flerlage
Brandon T. Foor
Ryan E. Kampf
Glen D. Knott
La Plata Police Department
Matthew J. Norris