Nine students graduate from Eastern Arizona College Police Academy
By Lori Dugan
Thatcher, Ariz—Eastern Arizona College’s sixth Police Academy commenced last August with 20 cadets beginning police officer training. On May 12, nine cadets crossed the stage of the Lee Little Theatre as fully certified police officers, marking their successful completion of the intense nine-month, 720-hour program.
At the ceremony, Superior Court Judge Pro-Tem Corey Sanders was the keynote speaker, giving the cadets words of advice to follow in order to best serve their fellow citizens. A badge pinning ceremony and luncheon followed with family and friends.
The cadets were able to attend the academy while keeping their current full-time jobs because they were sponsored by local law enforcement agencies. The class was set up so that for the nine months of training, cadets attended classes all day Saturdays and every Tuesday and Thursday evening. Some additional days were also required. The nine graduating cadets are Edward Acres, Steven Carter, Caleb Hunt, John Hurston, Michael Lucas, Daniel Roach, Andrew Rodger, Jakob Wagemann, and Rebecca Williams.
EAC’s Police Academy was the second academy in the state to become certified by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board under a new state-mandated curriculum. Since that time, EAC’s academy staff has shared lesson plans and curriculum with numerous other police academies throughout the state.
Although several instructors were hired from metropolitan areas, most are from surrounding law enforcement agencies. Academy staff included Steve Johnson, director; Czerina Garcia, assistant; and Thatcher Police Officer Mike Cochran and DPS Officer Steve Loya, advisors.
Many of the Police Academy graduates have already secured full-time employment with various agencies such as police departments in Thatcher, Surprise, and Sedona. Others are in the hiring process with other agencies that have recruited them. Law enforcement agencies sponsoring cadets for academy Class 06 include the Graham County Sheriff’s Office and the Thatcher and Safford Police Departments.
Johnson said, “The academy was able to gain statewide recognition because of the great support it has received from both the local agencies and EAC’s administration. Once again, the dedicated instructors who taught our cadets have made the academy a huge success.”