Law Enforcement Graduation
12/16/2014 3:29:51 p.m. - Hobbs, NM.
[Story courtesy of Sonya Petroski, Hobbs News-Sun - Wednesday, December 10, 2014]
After 16 grueling weeks and 32 credit hours of course work, the Southeastern New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Class A-14-33 graduated.
The graduation took place Dec. 9 at the Lea County Event Center.
Family law enforcement history seemed to play a large part in the decision making for many of the new officers.
Jeremiah Harrison, 33, will be joining the Loving Police Department. Harrison was also the recipient of the Firearms Award. He shot 97 percent throughout the academy and was the top shooter in this class. He grew up watching his father as a police officer in Deming, and is a fourth generation police officer. His father transferred to Carlsbad when he was young and he has lived
"I grew up doing it, living it, learning it," said Harrison. "It's family, that's about the best way I can describe it. It's family."
The decision to join the Loving Police Department was an easy one for Harrison to make. An opportunity came up and the Loving police chief, Jason Waller, was hiring and once Harrison heard about Waller's history and his knowledge he knew that is where he belonged.
"His whole family is law enforcement, just like mine, that's where I decided to go because of the family and experience he has," Harrison said. "I knew he would be good one to work for."
Thomas Heck Jr., 28, was named as the class leader and distinguished graduate. Heck is set to join the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
Angela Byrd, director of the academy, said the class leader is based on who has shown leadership and skills. The staff evaluates and votes for each candidate on the first day, which is the day the cadets are awake for a full 24 hours.
"It was a lot of work but it was very rewarding," said Heck. "I think the experience will help me out in my future career."
Heck is second generation law enforcement. He chose his grandfather, a retired police officer with the El Paso Police Department, to pin his badge on him during graduation. He is originally from El Paso but will do his field training in Hobbs. From there he will be issued a district anywhere in New Mexico but hopes to find himself somewhere in northern New Mexico.
"It's an important job to me because some of my most treasured memories are being able to enjoy the resources within the state," said Heck. If there's no one out there protecting those resources they won't be around for future generations."
Byrd stated this was the first time since the academy started that a class was required to stay on the NMJC campus, even if cadets live locally. Because of that, Byrd believes there was more comradery with this class. "The academy was verychallenging but I couldn't have got through it without my teammates," said Rudy Hille, 28, who is scheduled to join the Hobbs Police Department. Hille is second-generation law enforcement. His father is a recently retired police chief in Texas.
Hille recalls when he was a young child he had a desire to be in law enforcement. He grew up watching his father and wanting to go on ride-alongs as well as go on patrol with his father.
Hille got his first chance at law enforcement while in the Navy and his desire spread from there. Hille, originally fromArlington,Texas, was attending school at Texas Tech University when he heard Hobbs PD was hiring. He jumped on theopportunity and was hired by the Hobbs Police Department in May.
"My main focus is just to help people," said Hille. "That's what I really want to do."
Skye Wentland was awarded the Physical Fitness Award. Harrison, Joshua Hooper, Nickolas Laurenz and Karina Tello, were honored for making the 80 percentile of the Cooper Standards for physical fitness. Mitch Billings received the Academic Achievement award.
A video of the 16 week course is available here.
The article from the Hobbs News Sun is available here, including an article of Director Angela Byrd, Director of the Law Enforcement Academy.