Seventeen new cadets graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program at Vance-Granville Community College in a ceremony held in the Civic Center on Main Campus. After passing the state certification exam, all are authorized to work in any law enforcement agency in North Carolina.
Honored during the May 15 ceremony in VGCC’s 106th BLET class were Tyima Barbara Johnson, William Gant Sipfle and Dylan Blake Wilson of the Henderson Police Department; Lauren Elizabeth Matthews and David Alan Watson of the Granville County Sheriff’s Department; Jonathan Cameron Burnette, Alan Gregory Mitchell and Devin Antonio Younger of the Oxford Police Department; Michael Patrick Burns and Torrance Danyel Terry of the Vance County Sheriff’s Department; Dontravious Marques Harrison, Darnell Anthony Powell and Kenneth Latrel Richardson of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office; Brice Anthony Warren of the Roxboro Police Department; Randy Dale Parrott of the Crabtree Special Police Department; and Margaret Alyssa Bailey and Brian Nicholas Vermilya, VGCC students.
Also recognized were graduates of VGCC’s 105th BLET class: William Furman Douglas of the Henderson Police Department; and Stephanie Paige Covell and Angel Rosemaria Tanner, VGCC students.
In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Levy Brown, VGCC’s vice president of academic affairs, applauded the graduates and thanked their families for providing support during the 16-week program. Dr. Brown expressed his appreciation to the faculty and staff who had instructed Class 106 and thanked the area law enforcement agencies who sponsor and hire the cadets.
“These cadets of Class 106 vary in age, background and experience, but they are united by their common desire to protect and serve their respective communities,” said Dr. Brown. “They now join the ranks of the 105 classes before them who have given this program its excellent reputation for preparing law enforcement professionals.”
Speaking as leader of the class, Cadet Devin Younger added his thanks to the instructors and introduced Capt. James Champion of Butner Public Safety, representing the instructors of the program, who chosen by the cadets as the keynote speaker for the graduation.
“We cannot change the past, but we can affect the future,” Capt. Champion told the cadets. “One way we can affect the future is to maintain and protect our own integrity. Building trust with the community is fundamental to effective policing. Sound conduct by law enforcement officers such as yourself improves community interaction and enhances communications. No matter how much good you do, people will only remember the bad.”
Citing a variety of synonyms for the word “integrity” — honesty, honor, good characters, strong morals, among them — Capt. Champion said, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. Your personal choices in your life and in your career are the only things that can make you lose your integrity.”
“Please remember, it’s OK to fail,” he said. “When you make a mistake, admit to the mistake, learn from it and get better.”
Citing Proverbs 10:9, Capt. Champion concluded, “People with integrity walk securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.”
In recognition of National Police Week, May 13-19, and Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, being observed on the day of the cadets’ graduation, the Butner Public Safety captain led a moment of silence for 129 officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2017.
Glen Boyd, coordinator and instructor of Law Enforcement programs and BLET at VGCC, presented awards to several students. Lauren Matthews took home the Academic Achievement Award for having the top grade average in the written tests each cadet must pass. Torrance Terry earned the Physical Fitness Award for scoring highest in the various fitness tests the cadets undergo during physical training. David Watson won the “Top Gun” Award for having the highest accuracy score in firearms qualification.
Certificates were presented to the graduates by Andrea Hyson, the director of Law Enforcement programs and BLET at VGCC, and Boyd. Abidan Shah, pastor of Clearview Church, provided the invocation and the benediction for the ceremony.
Shown above in the photograph are the latest graduates of the VGCC Basic Law Enforcement Training program with the program administrators: front row, from left, Andrea Hyson, VGCC Law Enforcement/BLET director and graduates William Douglas, Torrance Terry, Margaret Bailey, Michael Burns, Lauren Matthews, and VGCC Law Enforcement/BLET coordinator/instructor Glen Boyd: second row: graduates Tyima Johnson, Devin Younger, Johnathan Burnette, Alan Mitchell, Randy Parrott, Brian Vermilya, and Dylan Wilson; and back row, graduates Dontravious Harrison, Darnell Powell, Kenneth Richardson, David Watson, William Sipfle, and Brice Warren. (VGCC Photo)
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