TSJC Law Enforcement Training Academy celebrates graduates

Photo by Rebecca Copley  Trinidad State Junior College held its Law Enforcement Training Academy Graduation on Friday, May 14, in Monte Vista.

MONTE VISTA — Family and friends of the 18 graduates from Trinidad State Junior College’s Law Enforcement Training Academy honored the accomplishments of the class of 2020 on Friday, May 14 at Chapman Park.

A graduation ceremony was held at the park. Trinidad State College Vice President James Kynor gave an address to the 2020 class. 

Kynor spoke about how people who wear uniforms are a different breed, sharing about the bravery of astronauts, nurses, doctors, soldiers, firefighters, and law enforcement.

“Then there is the law enforcement. Our deputies, our troopers, our officers, who when they put on their uniform to get ready for their shift never know what fate might await them,” said Kynor. He gave examples of the dangerous ways in which they may have to serve. “Not all superheroes wear capes. 

“Each of you graduates have residing in you an innate desire, a deep calling to protect and to serve,” said Kynor, later adding, “Most human beings protect those that they love, but as police officers, you will be called upon to render aid to complete strangers. You will be called upon to protect those who distrust you because of the career that you’ve chosen.” 

After Kynor’s address keynote speaker a County Sheriff Richard Valdez addressed the graduates. Valdez who also instructed the class during their training spoke about how impressed he was with this class of graduates who went through nine months of training when a normal police academy is four months.

“That’s nine months, working every day, going to classes every night, and on the weekends,” said Valdez. “I want to say that this is a very impressive class. I had the opportunity to talk to them one on one and get to know them and realize just how hard working they truly are.” 

Valdez shared some of what graduates can expect as they begin their careers in law enforcement, telling them that they will have to make major decisions in a matter of seconds.

“But then you’re going to be subjected to those Monday morning quarterbacks, be ridiculed about the actions you either did take, or you didn’t take," Valdez said. "You’ll be challenged on such things as your integrity and your honesty and your ethics.” 

Valdez also said a career in law enforcement will be rewarding.

“Being a law enforcement officer has many rewards," he said. "Those rewards will not come in a paycheck; they’re found right here in your heart."

He encouraged them to remember their families and to move forward with the same discipline they have already displayed.

“Remember your oath and respect the authority that you were given. Don’t abuse your authority but rather respect it and be humbled by it,” Valdez said. 

Student representative Stacey Kiesel spoke next.

“Our journey has been comprised of thousands of steps to get us to today,” said Kiesel. “When I think back to that first day I remember sitting in a room, with such a diverse group of people. We all came from different places, we all had different backgrounds and we all shared the same goal, one that as of today we have achieved.” 

She talked about the strong team they became. Kiesel also took the opportunity to thank their instructors, family and friends who helped them get to where they are today. 

Awards were then handed out. Brett Crowther received the Driving Award. Jamie Coffman received the Arrest Control Award. Antonio Edwards received the Firearms Award, and Austen Reneau received the Academics Award. 

After this, the graduates were presented with their certificates. Sheriff Garth Crowther read the Peace Officer’s Creed. Then law enforcement agencies from around the Valley swore in their cadets and presented them with their badges. 

Monte Vista Police Chief George Dingfelder closed the ceremony by sharing that May 15 was Law Enforcement Memorial Day.

“We would be remiss if we did not pause and honor the men and women in law enforcement that have made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in service of their community,” said Dingfelder. A moment of silence was held for the lives of law enforcement officers lost in the line of duty, with special recognition given to Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley who bravely enter the King Soopers in Boulder during the mass shooting on March 22 and died protecting others. 

The Trinidad State Junior College Law Enforcement Training Academy graduates for 2020 are as follows: Jareb Aziz, Steven Bagwell, Marcy Baker, Angel Barrera, Sergio Cazares, Jamie Coffman, Brett Crowther, Corey Dye, Antonio Edwards, Cristian Guaderrama, Mollee Heeney, Stacey Kiesel, Twila Martinez, Saul Martinez, Javier Moreno, Austen Reneau, Eduardo Soria, and Kenneth Wilson.