GRCC Police Academy Graduation 2019

>>Good evening. Would everyone please stand
for the presentation of colors and the singing of
the National Anthem?>>(indistinct).>>(soloist)
♪ O say can you see ♪ ♪ By the dawn’s
early light ♪ ♪ What so proudly
we hail’d ♪ ♪ At the twilight’s
last gleaming ♪ ♪ Whose broad stripes
and bright stars ♪ ♪ Through the
perilous fight ♪ ♪ O’er the ramparts
we watch’d ♪ ♪ Were so gallantly
streaming ♪ ♪ And the rocket’s
red glare ♪ ♪ The bombs
bursting in air ♪ ♪ Gave proof through
the night ♪ ♪ That our flag
was still there ♪ ♪ O say does that
star-spangled banner ♪ ♪ Yet wave ♪ ♪ O’er the land
of the free ♪ ♪ And the home ♪ ♪ Of the brave ♪>>(indistinct). Color guard,
Squad!>>You may take
your seats.>>On my honor…>>(all graduates)
I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character,
or the public trust. I will always have the
courage to hold myself and others accountable
for our actions. I will always uphold the
Constitution, my community and the agency
I serve.>>Take your seats. Good evening, and
welcome to the 2019 Grand Rapids Community College
Police Academy graduation. On behalf of the GRCC Police
Academy staff and the recruits, I would like to thank
each and every one of you for taking time
out of your day to come and celebrate
the accomplishments of these young
men and women. I would also like to
thank the family members for your support, your patience,
and encouragement of our– or your family members
and our recruits over the last eight months,
as they have worked diligently preparing for their
career in law enforcement, completing nearly
700 hours of training. I would like to
acknowledge the greatest community college president
on the earth, Dr. Bill Pink. I would also like to
take the opportunity to acknowledge our board
of trustee members. I would also like to
thank and acknowledge Dean of Workforce Development,
Dr. Amy Mansfield, Associate Dean
Dr. Jimmie Baber, and our incredible
Criminal Justice staff. We have with us our
Department Head Nikki Banks, Senior Professor
Gary Ebels, and our backbone, our
administrative support in Rachael Crapo. We want to thank you
again for coming out to celebrate these young
men and these women as they have answered and
heeded the call to service, and committed their
lives to a service in their various
communities. At this time, we’re gonna
have a small snapshot to allow you to see
what the recruits experienced over the
last eight months. (dark, driving
rock music) (upbeat, forceful
rock music) (uplifting, upbeat
guitar music) (loud whirring) (audience laughing)>>Some of those, I just saw
those pictures the other day so we can see in the
midst of their training, they took full use of their
downtime in building fortresses and making sure that they
have fun with the swings and everything, but
there was training that took place during
those 700 hours, so… (audience chuckling) At this time, I want you
to join me in welcoming our President of the Grand
Rapids Community College as he comes and addresses
the recruits and the staff. Thank you. (applause)>>Good evening. Oh, my goodness! (scattered laughing) Okay, Director, is it okay if
these people are vocal tonight? Because I cannot
stand this quiet. (audience chuckling)
People! See, now, you got me mad.
(audience laughing) We have celebration
tonight! This isn’t–
I know we’re– I mean, and I’d love to
be in a church building, I love my
church family, but even when I’m in a church
building on Sunday morning, it’s not about… (audience laughing)
I hope it’s not that for you. This is about
celebration tonight.>>Whoo!
>>We get to– thank you! (applause) Thank you!
(applause) (applause, cheering) Take my coat off. You guys understand now, this is
a big week here on this campus because we have this
ceremony tonight where we get to celebrate
each one of you. And I’ll get to you
here in just a second. I got something say to you
separate from these people here. Hold on with me. We are celebratin’
this week because not only are
we celebrating tonight with these incredible
people who have withstood, and have persevered, and
have finished this academy but we also, tomorrow
night, here at GRCC, we have our
commencement. We have graduation
tomorrow night where we’ll have–
(applause) yes, thank you. (applause) Where this year, we have
somewhere around 1,500 who are graduating
from this institution with a degree
or certificate. And tomorrow night,
we’ll have over 450 that will walk
across the stage. And so, this is one of
those weeks of celebration. And so, as we are
together tonight, that’s what we are doing tonight
is that we are celebrating, and that’s what
it’s about. I’m not that kind of a person
who, if I’m celebrating, that it’s about sitting on my
hands and just being quiet. I’m about being loud
and celebrating, and I know as I look
at family and friends that are sitting here in
the auditorium tonight, I get a feeling that
you have that same thing because you have
a loved one, you have a friend, you
have a family member who is sitting up
here up front, that you are here
tonight supporting through your presence and
through your encouragement. My guess is that you have been
supporting them in other ways over these past
eight months as well, whether it be that you are
giving words of encouragement, whether it be that you were
getting some things done for them in
their absence, whatever it was, you have
been supportive to them. I’m so sure of it. And so, because of
your support tonight, it is only fitting that
you be able to make sure you are able to make
that celebration that we have tonight
a little more vocal than just sitting
there, and nodding, and saying,
“Oh, that’s nice.” (audience chuckling) We celebrate
tonight. And at GRCC, when
it’s about graduation, it is about
celebrating, because we have people who
not only have persevered but people who have
accomplished. And so, we’re grateful,
we’re happy for that. To our board of trustees
who are here, I would like to, as
Directory Reese said, I would like to reiterate having
our board of trustees here. We have several of our
board members here. I’m gonna ask them to
stand here in a second but the reason why
is because the thing that makes this
institution so great is that we have a great
faculty and staff who have been instructing
these fine young men and women, but we also, in regard
to our campus have a great board
of trustees that cares and loves every
student here at GRCC. The reason I know that is
because of the work that they do for this
institution. Would you please give
a round of applause, and I ask our board
members to stand and be recognized for
their work here at GRCC. (applause) Three of our seven
board members there, and I’m grateful
to them. Now, I’ll be
brief here but I need to say
something to our graduates, to those of you who
are graduating tonight. I am so happy
and proud to be able to be president
of an institution that does so much in terms
of providing the workforce for West Michigan,
for Kent County, and for the State
of Michigan. I’m proud of that because
I know the quality that is put out from
this institution, whether it be our
culinary program, whether it be our
manufacturing, whether it be those
students who leave here and go to another
institution and transfer, or whether it be
our Police Academy. Because I know that the folks
who teach in this academy care deeply, not
only about you but they care about our
people here in Kent County and in
West Michigan. I know they care
about them because of how much
attention they pay when it comes to
educating you and when it comes to
preparing you to be a police, and to be a corrections, or to
be a law enforcement officer in this
great state. My question
to you tonight that reminds me of myself
in graduating from college with an Associate degree,
with my Bachelor’s degree, I think about when
I’ve graduated with my
Doctorate degree. One of the things that
was always in my mind was even before
graduating college was how was I going
to change the world. How was I
gonna do that? And what I
thought early on is that what it meant
to change the world was that it meant that I was
gonna change this whole globe that we all
exist on. I thought, “I’m gonna
change this whole thing.” And then, after a while, I
started realizing more and more that when I started
thinking about how I’m gonna
change the world, I kind of dialed it down to,
“How am I gonna change MY world? “The world that I exist in,
the people that I affect? “The people I work with,
the people that I live with. “How am I going to change
or affect my world?” And what I have to say to
you tonight is thank you, because what you
have decided to do is that you are going
to change your world in a way that many people–
many people– are not able to. You have decided that you
are gonna change your world by putting your life in front
of and out there for others, and you decided you want to
do that on a daily basis. When I think about that and then
I look at some of our officers who have been officers for years
sitting right here in our midst, it moves me because
what it means to me is that without you,
without you, without you doing the work
of a law enforcement, without you doing that, we are
not at our best as a country. We’re not
our best. So that means that
the impetus on you in what you are getting
ready to set foot into is so important because
you will encounter people on a daily basis,
and, as I like to say, each and every time that I speak
to our Police Academy graduates, you will encounter
people at their best but you’re gonna encounter a
lot of people at their worst. And when, we as humans
are at our worst, bad things tend
to happen. And not so good
things will happen. And sometimes, when you
encounter us at our worst, all we need is someone
just to help us out, just to help us in knowing how I
need to get this thing straight because in the midst
of the moment, you might find
me at my worst. You will find that
on a daily basis, and you have decided
that you want to be one who will stand
in the gap and you want to be one who
wants to help those people, however that
help looks. That you want to aid
those who are in need, and, in some cases, aren’t gonna
be able to help themselves. I commend you
for that. I thank you
for that because without you having
that type of focus on the world that you
will be affecting, we are not as good as
a country as we can be. So I thank you. I encourage you
to learn and glean from those who have been
in this work for so long. I’m so thrilled to have so many
of our law enforcement officers here tonight, because that
not only shows their support for this program, that shows
their support for you, and it makes a strong
statement to you that when you see
these men and women who have been at
this work for years, you look to them with
the respect that you do but let me encourage you…
glean and learn from them. Don’t be afraid
to ask questions. Just because you find
yourself in the uniform, just because you find yourself
having finished this academy and you find yourself in
a job, never be afraid to ask those who
have gone on before and who are doing the work
and have been doing the work, never be afraid to say,
“Can I ask you a question?” Because you will
continually learn more. Lord knows these guys
do an awesome job but we can’t
do it all. Now, you learn more
through your gleaning from those who will be
right there to help you. So, again,
thank you. Congratulations. You are a Grand Rapids
Community College product. You’re one of ours, and we’re
proud and grateful of that. God bless you. Thank you. (applause)>>I wanna
thank Dr. Pink for giving those
words of inspiration and words of
encouragement. At this time, I
want to acknowledge our instructor staff. So, if you were– taught any
of the Criminal Justice courses, as well as instructed
in the Police Academy, could you stand
at this time? (applause) We wanna thank
these men and women who, after their tour
of duty is over, they take it
upon themselves, and we wanna thank
their command staff that are present as well
for allowing them to adjust their time
in some regards to be able to pour
into the lives of these young
men and women. So we thank you, and we thank
you as staff members as well. We want to acknowledge
our squad leaders. If the squad leaders
can stand, please. (applause) These recruits were
selected primarily because they
exhibited qualities exemplary of
leadership early on in their academic experience,
in the boot camp experience, and as they matriculated
into the Police Academy. They took care of the daily
business in their squads, doing things such as
conducting uniform inspections, relaying information
back and forth to me, making sure that they
had a leadership presence in the
classroom. They were an extension
of my office and served as a liaison between
the recruits and myself. This wasn’t always easy,
it wasn’t convenient, and it wasn’t a
comfortable role as being placed in a leadership
position over your peers. So I wanna personally thank
each and every one of you for your sacrifice and
your service to me and the squad
you represent. I encourage you to reflect
back upon your experience as you transition
into your careers and become future leaders
in law enforcement. You may be
seated. I ask that Recruits
Pedroza and Heard, Recruits Denarie Melendez
and Chad Huizinga, if you would join
me on the stage. (applause) Each year towards the end
of the academic experience, the recruits get
amongst themselves and then they select
an instructor who– uh, as an
instructor– the Outstanding
Instructor of the Year. So at this time, we’ll
have the presentation of A Squad’s
Instructor of the Year. Following that, we’ll have
B Squad’s presentation of Instructor
of the Year. And then, we’ll have some
brief words by the recruits.>>Good evening. On behalf of
Session 86 Squad A, we’d like to thank
all the instructors for their hard work
and dedication to teach us
their ways, teach us good
from bad, but there was one
instructor in our group that stood
out the most. And that is
instructor Kreg Brace. He’s actually
not here today, so hopefully, he’ll
be able to get this. We decided to give
him a fishing seat because he’s a big
avid fisherman, so hopefully, he
can be comfortable when he’s fishing
on the big lake. So, happy
retirement! Thank you. (applause)>>Good evening.>>(scattered)
Good evening. (laughing)
Well, we had a ton of great
instructors, and if we could pick them all
to be Instructor of the Year, then we could,
we should. However, we want to give
our Instructor of the Year to Captain Maguffee. (applause)>>Good evening,
everyone. Welcome to the
graduation ceremony of the 86th
Recruit Class of the Grand Rapids Community
College’s Police Academy. I’m honored to stand in
front of you all today as one of the squad
leaders from B Squad. We first wanna thank everyone
for being here tonight. This day is just as much
for you as it is for us. Without your support
and guidance, none of this
would be possible. We also wanna personally
thank Director Reese, Ms. Crapo,
CJ administration, and every instructor
that shared their time, leadership, and patience with
us the last eight months. It’s hard to believe
it’s been 32 weeks since we first met that Friday
in Sneden Hall in room 108. On that day, we sat
there with a mission. That mission was to
become police officers. Today, we accomplished
that goal. Recruit 86,
we did it. We put in the work,
we put in… We put in the work,
we worked really hard. On our first day,
we each stood up and explained why we wanted
to be police officers. The common theme was
either to help people or change the way people
perceive law enforcement. Let’s not forget
why we’re here. It’s now our time to contribute
to making a difference in the communities
we’re about to serve. We must hold
ourselves accountable and serve with
dignity and respect. Today, we also accomplished
another thing… family. We’re officially
a family. The 86 family,
to be exact. We started this journey
as individuals and, through ups and downs,
we came together as one. Some of us had our
differences along the way but, just like
any family, we communicated, we put
those differences aside, and we became
a unit. We’ve been through
a lot together. We’ve been
pepper-sprayed, we learned how to
drive police cars, we learned how to
shoot firearms in a safe and
tactical manner, and learned how to execute
in- and out-of-control holds while staying aware
of our surroundings. There are many things
that I could get into but we just don’t
have the time. So again, we wanna
thank everyone again for their support
along the way. We couldn’t have done
this without you. Thank you all. (applause)>>Good evening, and
thank you all for coming. First, I wanna start out by
giving everybody a fair warning. Session 86 actually has
a friendly bet going on on who can write
the first ticket, so watch out getting out of
the parking lot tonight, so. (audience laughing) I’d like to thank all
the faculty at GRCC that allowed recruits to
make a dream a reality. 32 weeks ago, recruits had
no idea what to expect. We learned early on that the
Academy wasn’t gonna be easy, as we were quickly told
to do sprints for hours. Some days were
harder than others but every time we
felt like giving up, the director would remind
us why we’re here. The director pushed us
to our breaking point, and yet still was
able to push us more. It was in the Academy where
we learned to never give up and keep
pushing forward. To all the family members of
these hard-working recruits, I wanna thank each
and every one of you for allowing these recruits
to focus on the Academy. Many of you had to
work long hours just to support us
while we went to school. You had to put your goals
and aspirations to the side to allow us to
reach ours. For that, we are
forever grateful. To the recruits
of Session 86, this has been a long,
yet rewarding journey. Before the Academy started, most
of us didn’t know each other… but now, we consider
each other family. Moving forward,
I have no doubt you will all shine a new
light on police work. No matter where we
are in Michigan… or Florida, if you’re
Recruit Tobar… (audience chuckling) just know that we are all now
brothers and sisters in blue. Recruits, I leave you
with this last message. Never stop learning, and
never stop working hard… (voice wavering)
and never give up. But above all else, do
whatever you have to do to make it home to your
families every night. Thank you. (applause)>>As you can see, we have
a very, very talented group of young
men and women. I want to thank Recruit Lyster
and Recruit Drake for putting together
the video presentation. It seemed as if
the songstress was a part of
the Honor Guard, but she was actually one
of the graduating recruits so I wanna thank
Recruit Ondovcsik for lending her gift and
her talent through her voice to render the
National Anthem. At this time, we’re gonna
move forward in our program and we’re going to present the
awards and acknowledgments. I have the privilege
and the distinct honor to present a
long-standing award to an individual who
embodies the principles of this great profession
that we have come to serve. The Kozminski Scholarship
was started in 2007 to honor the life and the
legacy of Officer Kozminski who died in the line of
duty on July 8, 2007. This year, our recipient for
the Kozminski Scholarship is Recruit
David Ziomkowski. (applause) The next award is
a new scholarship that was created by one
of our GRCC faculty and her husband
who actually serves in the law enforcement
profession again, as well. the Bragg/Harvard/Muhammad/Smith
“Why We Can’t Wait” scholarship was implemented to try to
offset some of the costs for individuals who
wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement, but
may not have had the funds and who embodied
cultural diversity and cultural
competency. I want to congratulate
and present this year’s “Why We Can’t Wait” scholarship
to Recruit Jesalyn Heard. (applause, cheering) (applause) At this time, we’re gonna
ask for a representative– Greg Will–
Wir– Willsh– get my thoughts together,
Greg Willshire… (chuckling)
to present the Firearms Award.>>Thank you for
everybody coming. To the recruits, welcome
to law enforcement. Some of the things that I talked
about at the range and that… fall, walk,
and run. We’re not
walking, okay? When you get to your
departments, you’re
gonna be running. Next thing I talked
to you about is this is the greatest
career ever, okay? You’re gonna be in
a roller coaster ride. You need to think
about that. One minute, you
could be eating, next minute, you go to
a “man with a gun” call, or maybe a domestic, or
maybe a medical call. For the families, wives,
girlfriends, significant others, there’s gonna be a lot of
emotions when they come home. They’re gonna be
working all night, and bear with them, and talk
things through with them. Myself and three
other instructors, the lead instructor
Sergeant Mark Reminga wanted to be here, but
he’s out of town right now, so he asked me
to fill in. And during
our range, again, we go back to
“crawl, walk, run.” We had people who have never
touched a handgun before, we have some
military people, or we have some people
that like to hunt. During this time,
we have to make sure that they can qualify with
the MCOLES qualification and make sure that they are
safe handling their weapons. At the end of the range, we
have a marksmanship course and a stress course
that we call it. They’ll do some
jumping jacks, they’ll run, they’ll run up into
the target area, there might be some yelling,
maybe no yelling. I think there was some
yelling with B Squad. (audience laughing) And so, everything they
learned during the range, they put that
together. There’s some surprises
with the folks because with rifle
and shotgun, we only have one day each with
each of those weapon systems. So when they
get to that, some of them operate
the weapon fine, other ones, it takes
them a few minutes to manipulate the
weapon, okay? But it’s gonna be the
same thing in your career. A lot of the stuff that we do
will be different each day but the same
each day, but you have to be prepared and
keep your head in the game. So at the end of
the stress course, we tallied up
all the points, and for A Squad,
Jack Maher. (applause)>>Whooo! (audience chuckling)>>And everybody wanted
to know where they fell but nobody until graduation
finds out who got the award, so– and for B Squad,
John Vanden Berg. (applause) I wanna
thank you all. It was great
instructing you. I look forward to seeing
each one of you at the jail, or out on the road, and we’ll
grab that cup of coffee, okay? Congratulations. (applause)>>Next, we have Captain
Stephanie Morningstar from the Kentwood
Police Department, who will come
and present the Emergency Vehicle
Operation Awards.>>I always write out a speech
and I never follow it. So I will try. Welcome everybody,
and thank you so much for supporting these recruits
for the past eight months and probably for
the last two years. Everybody has kind of
already touched on it but, please, continue to do
that through their career. They’re gonna
need it. So, congratulations,
you guys. It’s been awesome
watching you guys grow over the
last two years. You always started
out at boot camp, some of you
at 6 AM. You guys know what a
great morning person I am. (chuckling) But it’s just awesome to
see you guys sitting here. So– but I wanted to say thank
you to my fellow instructors, Officer Chad Hargrave
from Kentwood PD, Corporal Robin Maley
from Walker, and then Sergeant Kyle Griffith
from South Haven. So just kind of a
little of what we do for emergency
vehicle operations. We do an eight-hour class,
which is amazing, right,
you guys? Sitting inside
for eight hours. But then, the
payoff for that is we get to go outside
for three days. 10 to 12-hour days,
rain, shine, snow, whatever it is,
we’re out there. It’s amazing to see
how these guys grow throughout
the weekend. Friday morning,
they start out, they can just barely
do the serpentine. By Sunday, they are
amazing drivers. But we try to
impress on them that this is just the first
step, to continue to grow. Through the weekend, we watch
to see how the recruits interact with
each other. We watch to see how
they support each other. And we watch to
see how they drive, who’s a consistent
good driver. We do a little bit
of a competition. Sometimes, cones get
thrown really far away from, you know,
where they were, and they have to
run far, so– but then, we sit
down as instructors and we decide who that
recruit is from A Squad and who that recruit
is from B Squad. And it’s kind of cool
because I’ve been doing this for I think
13 years or so, and we actually made
history this year. So, from A Squad, I’d
like welcome up Mindy. (applause) And then, from B Squad, I’d
like to welcome up Elizabeth. (applause, cheering) (applause) And it’s just not
me voting on these. There’s three other
instructors, as well, so, but it was pretty cool
to give out two awards to two females
this year. It’s the first time we’ve
ever been able to do that. So… (applause) But I just wanna
remind you guys, remember your 80%
and be careful. Like other people have said,
you need to get home at night. You guys know
where I work. If you ever need anything,
call me or email me. And good luck. (applause)>>At this time, we’d
like to introduce our MCOLES field
representative, Mike Logghe, who will come
and present the Outstanding
Performance Awards. (applause)>>All right,
congratulations, recruits. MCOLES is the
Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement
Standards, which is the regulatory
body for law enforcement in the state
of Michigan. Every year or every
Academy session, we give an award to
the outstanding recruit for that
particular class, and it’s based on
just not academics but leadership,
integrity, and those types of things
which are so important for the law enforcement
profession. Having said that, I do
wanna thank the director… and of course,
Ms. Crapo. In essence, what
GRCC does here is run two academies
simultaneously and it is certainly
quite a bit of work. And know the commission
certainly appreciates that. And of course,
the instructors. Without great
instructors, you don’t have a
good Police Academy. We have 19 police academies
in the state of Michigan and I get to work
with them all, and I can tell you
that the training that the recruits
receive today is so far and above
what I received in 1985. It’s not
even close. The scenario-based training,
the hands-on training– that’s so
important today. That helps them
be successful when they go into
the FTO programs. So again, I wanna
thank the instructors and, of course, all
the staff at GRCC. So having said that, if
you could hand me that. Off the top of my head–
but this award is– I think it’s pretty
special award, and again, it’s based
on a number of things. Just not academics but,
again, the qualities that make a law enforcement
officer so special. Like the president said,
you’re gonna meet people at their very worst, and that’s when you have
to be your very best. And we’d like to
think that this reward, although, certainly,
all the recruits have quite an
accomplishment but these people, especially,
we wanna recognize. And for Squad A, that
is a Everardo Pedroza. (applause, cheering) (applause) (applause, cheering) And just so you know–
just so you know, I did rehearse those names
but they still tie my tongue, so just so
you know. And for Squad B, we’d like to
recognize Denarie Melendez. (applause, cheering) Thank you.
(applause) (applause)>>Let’s give our
award recipients another hand
of applause. (applause) I won’t take too long, but–
because I know I’ve said over I’ve had eight months
with you guys, and I would just echo
a few of those words, those sentiments that
I shared with you. Remember to always treat
people like individuals. Remember the expectation
for you is great because you are now the sum
of all of your instructors, as well as me. So the expectation is
that when you go forth that you’re better
than all of us… because we’ve
inputted some of us in each and
every one of you. I’m extremely
proud of you guys. You guys were a
very special bunch. Very talented, comical
at various times… (all chuckling) and so, it made it easy for
me after a transitional year to enjoy the role
of director. As I thought about what I could
say in these final moments, two things
came to mind. The oath that you guys
repeat every day for over
eight months… and then the word
“responsibility.” The Merriam-Webster
defines “responsibility” as “a duty or task that you were
required or expected to do, “something that you should do
because it’s morally right “or legally
required.” As law enforcement officers,
I’ve said this before but you don’t get
to pick and choose the people
that you serve. So with that
being said, it is your job and now
your responsibility to treat everyone
the same. Fair and impartial
policing is your duty. It also now becomes
your responsibility to honor the badge or
shield that you will wear. It is your
responsibility to always be a
person of integrity. It is your
responsibility to be a person of
good moral character, and honor the
public trust. It is your
responsibility to always hold yourself
accountable for your actions and have the courage to hold
others accountable for theirs. And it is also your
responsibility to always uphold
the Constitution of the United States,
your community, and the agencies
that you will serve. I say to remind you that
you must be vigilant to protect your heart
and your spirit, so not to become
overly cynical. And I’ll say this again,
as I said on day one as you sat
in that room, 40 individuals who
didn’t know each other, to remember to keep
normal friends. I define “normal people”
or “normal friends” as people outside
of your family who are not law
enforcement officers. Have positive outlets to
deal with your stress that are inherent
to this profession. To the families,
continue to be a support– or continue to support
your loved ones as they go through
this transformation because it will truly
be a transformation. When you see them come home
after the weight of the world has been placed on
their shoulders, know that if they don’t
share all the details of what occurred
during their shift, it is only out of
their love and nature to protect you from the
wrongs that they see. At this moment, I’m going
to ask that Dr. Jimmie Baber would join me in the
presentation of completion. Since 2009, the Academy
has joined in a tradition that dates to
World War I in the issuance
of challenge coins. The coin serves as
a reminder to you that you are now a part of
something greater than yourself. It is my challenge
again to you that you’d be better
than I was any day that I wore
the uniform. And again, a
greater charge is to be greater
than the sum total of all the other
instructors. Honor yourself,
your fellow recruits, and the GRCC
Police Academy, and the law enforcement
profession. And this time,
recruits… Attention! Right face! (scattered applause)>>First,
from A Squad. Ania Bareman. Bradley Becker. Troy Bloomer. Corey Burns.
>>Yeah, Corey!>>Jontae Burress. (applause, cheering) Samuel Calmo. (applause, cheering) Matthew Clapp. (applause, whistling) Lauren Conigliaro. (audience cheering) Braxton Crowder. (applause, cheering) Jesalyn Heard. (applause, cheering) Danielle Hunt. (applause, cheering) Melinda Hutchings. (applause, cheering) Joshua Lyster. (applause) John Maher. (applause, cheering) Erika Mejia. (applause, cheering) Everardo Pedroza. (applause, cheering) Cesar Ramirez. (applause, cheering) Nathan Schaap. (audience cheering) Jayson Tobar. (applause, cheering) Dustin Updyke. (applause, cheering) Marcus Williams. (applause, cheering) That concludes
A Squad. Congratulations. (applause) B Squad–
Cody Borta. (applause, cheering) Ezekiel Drake. (applause, cheering) Gavin Filkins. (applause, cheering) Chad Huizinga. (applause) Nathan Iacopelli. (applause, cheering) Constance Johnson. (applause, cheering) Denarie Melendez. (applause, cheering) Elizabeth Ondovcsik. (applause, cheering) Sang Pak. (applause, cheering) Nathanael Paulson. (applause, cheering) Mackenzie Prins. (applause, cheering) Dillon Schmitt. (applause, cheering) Tyler Stroud. (applause) John Vanden Berg. (applause) Kevin VanDussen. (applause, cheering) Michael Veldhouse. (applause, cheering) Jacob Vickery. (applause, cheering) Brendan Zandi. (applause, cheering) David Ziomkowski. (applause, cheering) That concludes
B Squad. Congratulations. (applause)>>As you can see by
the different uniforms, many of our recruits have
already received employment prior to
graduation. I want to thank the
law enforcement community for hiring these
young men and women. This Academy, I told you,
stated before that this was a
special group. Before graduation,
more than 50% of them had already had
preconditional or conditional employment
opportunities. Many of the other recruits
are in the process and getting close to getting
offers for employment as well. We have the
distinct privilege to pin several of our
graduates tonight. You may be
seated. Now, we’ll go
down the list. If I miss anyone,
I do apologize. This list is of
agencies that responded and asked if they
could pin their newly– their new officers. So would
Recruit Pedroza and representatives from the
Grand Haven Police Department please come
forward? (applause, cheering) (applause) Will Recruit Williams and representatives from the
Holland Police Department please come
forward? (applause, cheering) (applause) (applause, cheering) Will Recruits Crowder,
Ondovcsik, and Vickery, and representatives from the
Kent County Sheriff’s Office please come
forward? (applause) (applause) (applause) We have a
representative from Kalamazoo County
Sheriff’s Department, and Recruit Mejia,
please come forward? (applause) (audience laughing) (applause) Did you do that on
purpose, Erika? (audience laughing) Just plugged the holes up on
the shirt right beforehand? At this time, we ask
that Recruit Heard and representatives from the
Kentwood Police Department please come
forward? (applause, cheering) (applause) Will Recruit Hunt and representatives from the
Lake County Sheriff’s Department please come forward? (applause, cheering) (applause) Will Recruit Becker,
and representatives from the Mason County
Sheriff’s Department please come
forward? (applause) (applause, cheering) (applause) And so, in spite
of my best efforts– I believe I did this
last year as well– kind of went
out of order, and I don’t want to
forget Recruit Hutchings and the Lansing
Police Department. Will please
come forward? (applause) Will Recruits
Maher and Updyke and representatives from the
Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office please come
forward? (applause) (applause) (applause) Will Recruit Paulson,
and representatives from the Rockford
Department of Public Safety please come
forward? (applause) (applause) May I ask that
Recruit Ramirez and representatives from the
Wyoming Police Department please come
forward? (applause) (applause) We also had Recruits
Mackenzie Prins from Dowagiac. We have representatives from
their police department, if you could
come forward? (applause) I also wanted to acknowledge
Recruit Kevin VanDussen, who was hired by the Washtenaw
County Sheriff’s Department. (applause) I want to again thank
each and every one of you, our law enforcement
community from the West Michigan
and abroad. As we see, we have recruits
going as far as Canton, Washtenaw Sheriff’s
Department, and I don’t– the
expectation is I don’t doubt that the remaining recruits
will also land somewhere where they can make a
positive impact as well. Family, again, surround them
with your love, be supportive, encourage them
through this journey, and again, we want to present
the 2019 graduating class of the Grand Rapids Community
College Police Academy. Recruits, stand
to your feet. Congratulations. Again, I’m extremely proud
of each and every one of you. We wanna thank you
again for coming out. This concludes
our service. Have a
great night. (applause, cheering) (applause) Please feel free to take as
many pictures as you’d like, and everyone,
drive safely.

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