On Friday, the Tyler Junior College Law Enforcement Academy graduated its most successful cadet class to date.
The 11 graduates of TJC Cadet Class No. 19 successfully completed the 19-week Basic Peace Officer Course as required by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement – and the majority of the class scored above 90 percent on the state-licensing exam.
The state average for the licensing exam test score is 78. TJC Cadet Class No. 19 had a class average of 91.
Graduates and their designated agencies include: Cody Blossman (named Top Gun – best shot), independent; Austin Cryer, Smith County Sheriff’s Office; Aaron Decur, Tyler Police Department; Samuel Dickerson, Tyler Police Department; Collin Hale (valedictorian), Tyler Police Department; Pedro Maya, Tyler Police Department; Melinda Melara, Tyler Police Department; Olimpia Morales, Tyler Junior College PD; Cody Moss, independent; Bobby Roberts, independent; and Rod Simington, Tyler Police Department.
“The TJC Law Enforcement Academy is rated as a top police academy based on its 99.5 percent first-attempt passing rate on the state licensing exam,” said Dr. Tom Johnson, director of the TJC Law Enforcement Academy. “Graduates are given up to three times to pass the exam, but ours do it on the first try. Additionally, we’ve had a 100-percent job-placement rate for all independent graduates of our police academy during the past six years under my tenure as director.”
Johnson attributes the academy’s success to the fact that most of its instructors are current Smith County Sheriff’s Office or Tyler Police Department officers who are instructing in their areas of expertise. For example, a traffic officer teaches the traffic course, and a current crime scene officer teaches the crime scene course.
“The unique partnership between TJC, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office and Tyler PD is critical since this allows these agencies to work and train together during the entire academy,” he said.
Cadets undergo physical training two hours, three times a week so that and they are able to run six miles by graduation. They are trained in a paramilitary fashion with a great deal of mental and physical stress designed to challenge them while they are in the academy, so they can make good decisions in stressful environments. Since members of the elite Tyler Police Department SWAT team conduct physical training, TJC cadets are some of the most physically fit in the state, Johnson added.
The TJC Law Enforcement Academy has had a proud tradition of graduating many peace officers for the East Texas region.
“Our hope is to one day have a Tyler Junior College Public Safety Institute, so that we can have a facility where we can train police, fire and emergency medical service personnel in one location and become a regional hub for training,” Johnson said. “By having all three programs learning and training together, TJC would become the region’s go-to training area for city, county, state and federal agencies.”
For more information on the TJC Law Enforcement Academy, go to www.tjc.edu/lawenforcement.