BRTC’s Law Enforcement Training Academy held a graduation ceremony Friday, April 13, for 45 officers completing the Basic Police Training Course. State Representative Butch Wilkins served as guest speaker during the ceremony held in the Randolph County Development Center on the Pocahontas campus.
Graduating students completed a thirteen-week course that included instruction in standard police tactics, firearms, legal ducation, technical skills and practical exercises. Officers are required to score at least 70% on each exam, and consistently fire at least 80% during firearms training exercises in order to graduate.
Marcus Perez of the North Little Rock Police Department received the Top Overall Award, which is earned by having the highest overall average in the areas of academics, firearms, and physical fitness. Scott Byrd of the Jonesboro Police Department received the Top Physical Fitness Award. Bryan Bailey of the Jonesboro Police Department received the Top Firearms Award, and Shaine Keasler of the Paragould Police Department received the Top Academics Award.
Everette Davis of the Bryant Police Department was the class spokesman and Christopher Kimbrough of the Hughes Police Department sang the National Anthem.
Another highlight of the ceremony was an honor conferred on Gage Clay, a local seven-year-old cancer patient, naming him an honorary police officer. Clay is the son of Mitchell Clay and Melanie Clay, both of Pocahontas, and the grandson of Larry and Melissa Kirk of Pocahontas, Jackie Mann of Jonesboro, and Linda and Robert Jones of Imboden. This past October, Clay was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and continues treatment through St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“Gage wants to be a police officer when he grows up,” explained LETA Director Steve Shults, “so his grandfather, Larry Kirk, former State Trooper and Randolph County Sheriff, brought him to the academy to show him around. The students fell in love with him and wanted to do something special.” During the graduation ceremony, Clay received a certificate, cap, t-shirt and a real badge, all made possible by contributions from the LETA students.