Black River Technical College’s (BRTC) Law Enforcement Training Academy (LETA) held its Spring 2023 graduation ceremony on Thursday, Apr. 13 for the 45 officers who completed the Basic Police Training Course.
The Spring 2023-A class finished with a 100 percent pass rate.
The Jonesboro Firefighters Pipes and Drums, Brett Bassham and Ty Damron, played as the LETA graduates entered the auditorium.
BRTC President Marin Eggensperger said, these cadets have “integrity, honor and a deep understanding of the community they serve,” as he wished them well in their future endeavors in the opening address.
Garrett Reed of the Bald Knob Police Department was chosen by his peers to act as the class’s speaker. He commented about how proud he was of his class, “I’m glad we started out with 45 people and ended with 45 people.”
Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training Director Chris Chapmond was on hand to congratulate the graduates and offer words of wisdom. He also presented the United Police Supply’s Jonathan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship to Patrolman Thomas O. Tuggle Jr. of the Heber Spring Police Department.
Patrolman Tuggle was selected for the scholarship by the LETA instructional staff based on his excellent attitude and work ethic. The $500 scholarship awarded to Smith will be used for his professional development.
The United Police Supply’s Jonathan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship was named in honor of Trumann Police Officer Jonathan Schmidt, a 2007-B LETA graduate, who was killed in the line of duty.
Chapmond also presented the Jami L. Cook Award of Excellence to Andrea L. Street. The award is presented to an exceptional student who exhibits an exemplary commitment to ethical service as a law enforcement officer in the State of Arkansas. The student’s foundation of excellence should be demonstrated through perseverance, resilience, and integrity-driven conduct that distinguishes the student from their peers.
The top LETA cadets from class 2023-A were recognized. Nathaniel D. Horton of the Paragould Police Department earned the Top Overall Award, which is obtained by having the highest overall average in the areas of academics, firearms, and physical fitness. Myles C. Clem of the Cherokee Village Police Department earned second in this category. Virgil K. Griffin of the Arkansas Highway Police earned third. .
Top Physical Fitness awards went to Jacob A. Crebbe of the Jonesboro Police Department, 1st; Daniel E. Young of Craighead County Sheriff’s Department, 2nd; and Nathaniel D. Horton of the Paragould Police Department, 3rd.
The Top Academic awards went to Mark W. Looney of the Beebe Police Department, 1st; Nathaniel D. Horton of the Paragould Police Department, 2nd; and Nicholas B. Murphy of the Arkansas Highway Police, 3rd.
Top EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course) students were Johnny R. (Robby) Fry of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, 1st; Steven L. Williams of the Jonesboro Police Department, 2nd; and Douglas O. Hicks of the Wynne Police Department, 3rd.
During a qualifying round for firing accuracy, four cadets shot perfect scores, so a tie-breaking shoot off was performed between the perfect scoring cadets. The outcome was Jordan C. Drum of the Craighead County Sheriff’s Office, firing at 98 percent accuracy, earned the top Firearms Award; John T. Carroll of the Arkansas Highway Police and Myles C. Clem of the Cherokee Village Police Department tied for second place, firing at 96.4 percent accuracy; and Zachery L. Jones of the Piggott Police Department, earned third place, firing at 87 percent accuracy.
Prosecuting Attorney for the 2nd judicial district Sonia-Fonticiella-Hagood addressed the graduating class as keynote speaker during the ceremony, “This kind of work is a calling. You have to continuously reeducate yourself daily, and know constitutional law- that’s what our founding fathers fought and died for and that’s what all of you will protect….go out and show the world how wonderful you are.”
For more information about the LETA program at BRTC, visit https://blackrivertech.org/academics/service-programs/leta or contact Jared Bassham at (870)248-4193 or email at email@example.com.