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Ƶ Municipal Police Academy celebrates 24 graduating cadets

By Eric Devlin
Twenty-four cadets graduated from the Ƶ Municipal Police Academy during the June 12 ceremony. Photos by Linda Johnson

Twenty-four cadets graduated from the Ƶ Municipal Police Academy during the June 12 ceremony. Photos by Linda Johnson

Twenty-four Ƶ (Ƶ) Municipal Police Academy cadets began their careers as newly minted officers recently, following the program’s graduation ceremony June 12.

Graduating cadetsOf the graduating class members, 11 cadets were sponsored by area police departments coming into the Academy. Seven cadets were hired or received conditional offers upon completion of the program. Three more are expected to be hired over the next few weeks.

Ƶ Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Chae Sweet congratulated the cadets on their achievements and said they will always be welcome at the College.

“As you embark on your careers in law enforcement,” she said, “I encourage you to carry the values of justice, fairness and equity instilled in you throughout this program. Let the principles you learned at Montco guide your actions as you serve and safeguard the diverse communities entrusted to your care.”

The Academy requires 919 hours of training and 26 exams, said Director of the Municipal Police Academy Georgette (Sissy) Hill. She told the graduating cadets to remember two things: treat everyone with respect and practice makes permanent.  

“I want to congratulate you, Class 2401,” she said. “This is your accomplishment. This is your reward. I applaud you.”

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin SteeleMontgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, a guest speaker at the ceremony, reminded the graduates they needed to be leaders and role models in the community. They also need to have grace under pressure.

“What you do, how you respond,” he said, “will define you. We are expecting you to be great.”

Class valedictorian cadet Lt. Roderick Fancher III, a former prosecutor in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, who previously worked for Steele, scored a 99.11 average over 26 exams, the highest score the Academy has ever seen, said Hill.

Lt. Roderick FancherAs valedictorian, Fancher challenged his classmates to do three things: stay true to who they are, be genuine individuals and remain good people.

“Life may try to derail you,” he said. “We must remain mentally strong and morally straight.”

Several prosecutors currently working in the District Attorney’s Office were among those in the audience to celebrate Fancher’s achievement.

Cadet Sgt. Nicholas Higgins with Scott McGowanWhitpain Township Police Officer Seth Homan was this year’s class-selected guest speaker. He challenged the cadets to seek justice, spread love and kindness, stay humble and always be ready.

“Your moment starts now, as soon as you walk out these doors,” he said. “Be ready. When the unthinkable shows its face, fall back on your training, act swiftly and do your job.”

Hill later recognized the achievements of Class 2401. With a score of 97.67, cadet Andres Diaz received the Sgt. James R. Miller Marksmanship Award. He also received the Corporal Brian Kozera Physical Fitness Award. Cadet Staff Sgt. Scott Boegly received the Award of Distinction. The Professional Development Award was given to cadet Dylan Maddux. Fancher received the Platoon Leader Merit Award.

Quest for the Best Scholarship recipientsScott McGowan, on behalf of the McGowan family, presented the $2,500 Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship to cadet Sgt. Nicholas Higgins. The McGowan family started the scholarship fund in memory of their husband/father, Chief John J. McGowan, III, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2010. The scholarship is awarded annually to a cadet who has completed the program and is financing his or her tuition and has been helpful to many cadets over the years.

Daniel Czaplicki, of the Quest for the Best Foundation, awarded cadets Steven Priest and Justin Nyce each a $6,887 Quest for the Best Scholarship Award, covering their entire tuition for the Academy. Quest provides funds and/or services “to those who are committed to strengthening the common good of mankind.”

The AT&T Foundation awarded a $1,000 scholarship to 10 cadets each, as part of a $20,000 scholarship awarded to both Municipal Police Academy classes this year. The Class 2401 recipients are: Kimberly Balderas, Nicholas J. Higgins, Dylan R. Maddux, Nathaniel J. Miller, Elizabeth A. Moran, Justin A. Nyce, Steven Priest, Louis R. Ricci, Ryan Roche and Jessica Vogenitz.

AT&T Foundation scholarship recipientsLastly, cadet Jeremy Geisler received the $1,000 Whitpain Police Association Award, which is given to a cadet that has exemplified superior conduct throughout the duration of the police academy program. The award goes to the cadet who went above and beyond to help, encourage, and support their fellow cadets.

The graduates of Class 2401 are Kimberly Balderas, Levittown; Staff Sgt. Scott M. Boegly, King of Prussia; Ryan M. Boyd, Leesburg, Va.; Michael A. D’Annunzio, Audubon; Andres F. Diaz, New York; Elijah F. Eckert, Simsbury, Conn.; Lt. Roderick M. Fancher III, Lansdale; Sgt. Tyler E. Forr, Hatboro; Sgt. Jeremy L. Geisler, Royersford; Sgt. Nicholas J. Higgins, Downingtown; Dylan R. Maddux, Doylestown; Brandon R. Martinez, Philadelphia; Nathaniel J. Miller, Doylestown; Elizabeth A. Moran, Worcester; Peter J. Moreni, Quakertown; Justin A. Nyce, Perkasie; Steven J. Priest, Paulsboro; Kevin D. Redding, Havertown; Sgt. Louis R. Ricci, Telford; Ryan A. Roche, Solebury; Vincent E. Short, Dresher; Luke A. Turner, King of Prussia; Jessica L. Vogenitz, Oakford; Eliana L. Weiler, Glenside.

Whitpain Police Association scholarship recipientSince 1973, the Municipal Police Academy at Ƶ has been the training center for more than 4,100 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 90 percent. The 919-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate degree in Criminal Justice. The Academy is certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission. Many of the Academy’s alumni serve as officers and in leadership roles throughout Montgomery County and the region. Ƶ operates the Municipal Police Academy in the Health Sciences Center at the Blue Bell Campus.