Hancock academy graduates 27 new police officers

Staff report

Twenty-seven recruits graduated this spring after months of intense education and training at Hancock College’s Law Enforcement Academy, and 26 of them already have jobs waiting for them.

Eight will be joining the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and two will work for the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. Four will work for the Paso Robles Police Department, four for Santa Maria, three for Pismo Beach, two for Atascadero, and one each for the Lompoc, San Luis Obispo and Shafter police departments.

“We’re honored by the sacrifice of these young men and women who have dedicated themselves to a life of public service,” said Dr. Kevin G. Walthers, Hancock’s superintendent and president. “When something goes wrong at your house and someone responds, it’s probably a community college graduate who shows up in that ambulance, police car or fire truck. They are community college graduates, who are there to help in your time of need. I can assure you that if you’re in a moment of need, and you need a law enforcement officer, you’re going to want an Allan Hancock College graduate.”

The class includes four women, seven former collegiate athletes and six U.S. military veterans.

Recruits started training in January at the college’s Public Safety Training Complex in Lompoc. Nearly 830 hours of training later, each recruit had shot more than 70,000 rounds of ammunition, passed 14 scenario exams and 26 written exams, and completed testing for arrest and control, physical training, report writing and emergency vehicle operations.

“These graduates have received the best training at this premier facility from some of the very best instructors the law enforcement field has to offer,” said Jake Miller, Pismo Beach Police Chief, who delivered the keynote address.

Miller encouraged graduates to always follow the common courtesies of life and always show respect.

“Never compromise your integrity. The only thing that will allow us to do the job that we need to do is if the community trusts us,” said Miller, himself a graduate of Hancock’s academy. “Find your niche, be humble, keep your humor, know that what you do is one of the most respectable jobs that you could possibly do. Stay safe, good luck and Godspeed.”

“Our instructors have pushed us beyond what we thought we could achieve. I can attest that each recruit here is a stronger, more capable individual,” said valedictorian Kenneth Stanley, who was hired by the Paso Robles Police Department.

“We have been through one of the most stringent academies in California and it is now time to apply what we have learned in the real world. We are about to embark on a great and exciting adventure. We must hold ourselves to high standards, serve with honor and respect, wear the uniform with pride and always treat others as we would want to be treated,” he said.

In addition to the written and skills tests, recruits underwent hours of physical training. As a class, recruits completed more than 3,000 sit-ups, more than 63,000 pull-ups, 80,000 push-ups, and ran more than 1,200 miles. Twelve of the recruits lived away from their hometowns for the past six months, either staying at area hotels or renting a house in Lompoc. One recruit will also complete his master’s degree in criminal justice later this month.