Wayne Community College has graduated its 76th Basic Law Enforcement Training class. The eight cadets who completed the college’s academy received certificates to work as sworn law enforcement officers in North Carolina.
Certificates were conferred on:
- Blake Ryan Davis, Goldsboro
- Estefan Antonio Daza of Fremont
- David John Gravatt of Pikeville
- Timothy Jacob Gray of La Grange
- Stephen Timothy Harper of Kinston
- Todd Michael Jessee of Goldsboro
- Dioselina Maldonado Osorio of Walstonburg
- Hunter Derrick Walker of La Grange.
Awards were presented for outstanding performance and leadership.
Davis garnered the Major J. Memmelarr Student Excellence Award. In addition to being the overall top graduate, WCC Public Safety Division Chair Beverly Deans said that “every situation [Davis] was put into, he always came out with a positive and professional attitude” and he demonstrated a “true and sincere dedication” to the law enforcement profession.
Formerly the valedictorian award, it has been renamed to honor Jay R. Memmelarr Jr., an officer with the Goldsboro Police Department who died in the line of duty in 2017. He had been the valedictorian of his WCC BLET class and later became an instructor for the academy.
The Physical Fitness Award went to Walker. He excelled in all activities designed to prepare the recruits for the Police Officer’s Physical Ability Test and timed runs.
Gray was presented the Top Gun Award for demonstrating the most overall proficiency in use of firearms. Cadets complete 40 hours of firearms work in both the classroom and on the firing range.
Daza earned the Leadership Award. According to WCC Law Enforcement Coordinator Angie Blizzard, he “exemplified the definition of leadership.”
Davis and Walker were selected by their peers to speak during the ceremony. Both talked about the rigors of the program, the dedication and sacrifices of their loved ones and friends that allowed them to complete it, and the respect they have for their instructors and their new profession.
“It was a long and tiring eight months, but I would not trade it,” Davis said.
Davis and Walker praised their classmates and instructors for their “adaptability” when program formats changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Blizzard agreed, saying, “This class learned what it meant to be fluid.”
Davis, Walker, and their instructors noted that the cadets were “the quietest class” in academy history. “We were a very serious class,” Walker said. “It was time to get down to work.”
Deans acknowledged the mental and physical challenges the cadets had faced during 702 hours of training covering a minimum of 39 aspects of law enforcement. She congratulated them for the commitment that got them through all of it and will continue to serve them in the service profession they are entering.
“The first line of defense for your community lies with you,” Deans said. “We are the 24/seven helpline and defense to our streets and neighborhoods. It is your responsibility to protect and serve the citizens of our communities.”
“You now have a unique opportunity because you can dramatically change someone’s life for the better by taking the time to care, truly protect, and serve,” Deans said.
“You have learned a lot about the words ‘integrity,’ ‘honor,’ and ‘discipline,’ and now it is time to go out and not just speak those words, but live those words,’” Blizzard said. “Uphold the sense of duty, dignity, and discipline that you feel today. Keep your head high, your boots shined, and your badge untarnished.”
With this graduating class, the school has produced 1,170 graduates since its establishment in 1983. Currently, WCC graduates work for 52 different law enforcement agencies in this state and more elsewhere.
WCC’s academy is accredited by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and North Carolina Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission through the N.C. Community College System.