Speaking to an all-time record number of 55 graduates of the Law Enforcement Training Academy at BRTC during a ceremony November 15, former Congressman Asa Hutchinson acknowledged the important role law enforcement officials play in “everything we want to achieve in Arkansas.”
The officers from around the state had just completed a 13-week program as required by the state. The program includes more than 600 hours of intensive training and lab experience in areas including standard police tactics, firearms, legal, educational, technical and tactical skills, physical education and conditioning, community relations, and other areas.
The previous record number of graduates per class stood at 52. LETA Director Steve Shults estimated that the total number of LETA graduates from the 29 groups to complete the program to date is approximately 1,400 police officers.
Formerly the Undersecretary of Homeland Security, Hutchinson reminded the large audience in attendance that “our society would be in disarray” but for the men and women of law enforcement. He noted the changing role of law officers, whose primary area of focus is no longer threats from nearby communities, but now has grown to include also global threats.
Shults emceed the ceremony, which included the singing of the National Anthem by class member De’Andra Warren of the Wynne P.D., and a presentation by class spokesperson Dale Peters of the Sherwood Police Department. Peters acknowledged the class’s appreciation to their instructors, including Shults, Jared Bassham, Carl Dyer, Chris Hankins, Christy Jeffery. Heath McEntire, Mark Mosier, Darren Plaster, Ben Runnels, and Administrative Assistant Judy Ballard.
Peters noted a career in law enforcement is “not about the money. It’s a calling,” he said. He also noted he and his classmates are “not out to become heroes—just good officers.” He also spoke of the importance of integrity in law enforcement, saying: “I believe integrity is about doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
Also recognized were individual award winners. They included Firearms Award recipients Austin Morgan, Jonesboro P.D., William Shannon, Jonesboro P.D., and William Williams, North Little Rock P.D., first second and third place respectively.
Winning Academic Achievement Awards for first, second, and third place, respectively, were William Shannon, Jamie Counce, West Memphis P.D., and Nathan Threlkeld, Trumann P.D.
PT Award winners in order of award were Nathan Ivy, Jonesboro P.D., Michael Stanley, North Little Rock P.D., and Black Miller, Jonesboro P.D.
Top Overall Award recipients, in order of highest award, were Michael Stanley, Nathan Ivy, and Edward Furcron, N. Little Rock P.D.
Shults concluded the ceremony by reminding the graduates of the basic police training course, “This is just the beginning.” He urged them to take advantage of every future opportunity to continue to advance in their skills. He also urged them to always keep their lives and their work in the right perspective and to remember, “Family comes first.”