GOLDSBORO - Eight cadets have graduated from the 76th Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) class conducted at Wayne Community College.
The cadets are Blake Ryan Davis of 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 and Hunter Derrick Walker of La Grange.
Each cadet, who completed the college’s academy, received certificates to work as sworn law enforcement officers in North Carolina.
Davis received the Major J. Memmelarr Student Excellence Award as the overall top graduate. The award is in memory of Jay R. Memmelarr Jr., an officer with the Goldsboro Police Department who died in the line of duty in 2017.
Memmelarr had the valedictorian of his WCC BLET class and later became an instructor with the academy.
“Every situation [Davis] was put into, he always came out with a positive and professional attitude,” said Beverly Deans, WCC Public Safety Division Chair.
Deans said Davis demonstrated a “true and sincere dedication” to the law enforcement profession.
Walker earned the Physical Fitness Award. He excelled in all activities designed to prepare the recruits for the Police Officer’s Physical Ability Test and timed runs.
Gray received 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 garnered the Leadership Award. He “exemplified the definition of leadership,” according to Angie Blizzard, WCC Law Enforcement Coordinator.
Selected by their peers to speak during the ceremony, Davis and Walker each talked about the rigors of the program, the dedication and sacrifices of their loved ones and friends that allowed them to complete it.
They both expressed 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.
“This class learned what it meant to be fluid,” Blizzard said.
Walker, Davis and their instructors noted that the cadets were “the quietest class” in academic 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 24-7 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.”
"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.