A torrential downpour wasn’t enough to dampen the mood Thursday as agencies from all over Nevada welcomed graduates from the 2017 POST Academy.
Carson City Sheriff’s Office Deputies Ryan Greb and Jordan Hadlock; Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Mariah West and Scott Wharton; and Carson City Juvenile Probation Officer Edgar Macias were among the 19 peace officers sworn in as POST certified officers. The academy is a 17-week training program that works to swear in deputies as Category I peace officers, meaning they have all of the necessary training to qualify as a Nevada law enforcement officer.
The training is difficult; only 19 of the original 32 officers graduated Thursday.
“Not everyone who wants to be a peace officer can be or should be one,” said POST executive director Michael Sherlock. “If you only had to read a book and do what the book told you to do, anyone could be a peace officer.”
One of the most difficult aspects of the academy is the time spent away from loved ones. The officers have to spend the 17 weeks at the academy, living on site during training.
“We had numerous conversations Sunday after a weekend at home and we mentioned the struggle to come back and leave our loved ones,” said Wharton, attempting to hold back tears. “Every weekend when my girls would beg and plead for me to stay home. But they were very supportive and knew, as we did, the importance of training here and I can’t thank them enough.”
But in the end, it’s all worth it and the deputies can share their graduation day with their families, friends and coworkers.
“Today is the start of our finest hour,” Wharton said. “No matter what is thrown at us we have to keep our faith, hope and courage because we are the defenders, the keepers and the sheepdogs.”
The speakers talked about how important it is for the peace officers to remember their ethics and morals as they continue through their careers.
“Morals and ethical behavior is what you’ll have to live through your whole career,” said keynote speaker retired LAPD Chief of Police Bayan Lewis. “You came here 17 weeks ago with a moral compass. Each of you has a strong compass to begin with and you need to carry that through your career.”
Lewis said it’s that moral compass that helps protect each community.
“Law enforcement is a truly noble profession,” Lewis said. “Your job is to create a better quality of life for those in that community, think of yourselves as the shepherds for that community ... you do the right thing for the right reasons always.”
Lewis also told the graduates he wouldn’t be concluding his speech with the typical good luck ending.
“I won’t wish you good luck because good law enforcement isn’t based on luck,” Lewis said. “It is based on perseverance, experience, training and education, dedication and loyalty ... but I wish you a safe and long and successful career.
“But this is a career you will love if you dedicate yourself to it, don’t let the excitement of the job wear off.”
Wharton concluded the speeches as the presenter for the class, making jokes and telling light-hearted anecdotes about the academy so the officers would remember the good parts about it.
“We learned a lot about being in formation, such as that you need permission to pick a wedgie while in formation,” Wharton laughed.
Three deputies were also presented with this year’s awards: Lyon County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Christopher Arrison was given the Superior Marksmanship Award, Carson City Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jordan Hadlock was given the Physical Fitness Award, Humbolt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Manda Howard was given the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award and Wharton was given the Outstanding Graduate Award.
Then at last, the 19 newly certified peace officers took their Oath of Office, officially swearing them in as Cat I law enforcement.
“It feels like relief, I am ready to get to work,” said Carson City Sheriff Deputy Ryan Greb. “It was a tough academy, it was tough being away from my family but it was worth it.”