April 1, 2016, Blue Bell, Pa.—“This job is the greatest job on the planet,” said Robert Sands, Abington Police Department training director and Municipal Police Academy instructor. “A starring role in the greatest show on earth. Why? Because it matters.”
The 31 cadets of Municipal Police Academy Class 1504 asked Sands to speak at their graduation ceremony, held Wednesday, March 23 at Montgomery County Community College, during week two of their training. The training lasts 22 weeks.
“Thank-yous don’t come in paychecks,” Sands told the cadets. “Thank-yous come in moments that change you. You get to touch greatness.”
Abington Police Department Training Director and Municipal Police Academy Instructor Robert Sands addresses cadets from Montgomery County Community College Municipal Police Academy Class 1504 during the graduation ceremony on March 23. Photo by Sandi Yanisko
A leading star in the greatest show on earth is Cadet SSgt. Justin Anderson, of Harrisburg, according to Academy Director Jude McKenna. Anderson, who was awarded the Platoon Leader Award of Merit during the ceremony, commuted weekly from Dauphin County, leaving behind his family and young son during the week, to complete his training. Anderson has already accepted a position with the Swatara Police Department.
Anderson was not alone in securing employment or achieving awards. Cadet Sgt. David McKechnie, Phoenixville, earned the Sgt. James R. Miller Marksmanship Award, with “scores of 100 across the board,” McKenna said. Daniel Gorham, of Willow Grove, earned the Award of Distinction for his qualities of dedication and achievement. Joseph Kamp, formerly of Cochransville, was the valedictorian with a 98 academic average.
Cadet SSgt. Justin Anderson (left), recipient of the Platoon Leader Award of Merit, presents Cadet Joseph Kamp, valedictorian, with a certificate for earning the highest GPA in the class. Photo by Sandi Yanisko
In all, seven cadets have earned spots in seven police departments who all sent representatives to the ceremony: Swatara, Bristol Township, Harrisburg, Lower Pottsgrove, Pottstown, Whitpain Township and Upper Merion have all hired graduates, McKenna said.
In his remarks, Kamp thanked Director McKenna, Administrative Assistant Jane Molt, instructors and fellow cadets.
“We came a long way from a group of strangers to a group of brothers and sisters in this family we call 1504,” he said. “Putting on the uniform, we automatically become role models. We must not be good role models, but the best that we can be.”
Cadet Sgt. David McKechnie (left) earned the Sgt. James R. Miller Marksmanship Award. Photo by Sandi Yanisko
Interim MCCC Dr. James Linksz said he did some calculating before the ceremony and discovered that 22 chiefs of police have come through the Academy, along with many police officers and members of the court.
“We take pride in working with Montgomery County to make this program the best,” said Linksz.
The ceremony was bittersweet for Benn Prybutok, MCCC director of Protective Services, who will retire in June. He asked for prayers from the families of the assembled cadets so that they can “attain a higher sense of purpose, bound by friendship and devoted to justice.”
Daniel Gorham (right) earned the Award of Distinction for his qualities of dedication and achievement. Photo by Sandi Yanisko
Class 1504 graduates are: Justin Anderson, Harrisburg; Joshua Bausch, Langhorne; Christopher Berrang, Collegeville; Jacob Blickley, Fairless Hills; Ben Brunner, Hatfield; Alex Clark, King of Prussia; Bianca DeLuca, King of Prussia; Jevin Downs, East Greenville; Abdenour Fahem, Harleysville; Kaitlyn Falcone, Warrington; Zach Fifer, Phoenixville; Sylvester Gomes, Horsham; Daniel Gorham, Willow Grove; Kevin Green, Warminster; Casey Harrell, Horsham; Patrick Hedgepeth, Douglassville; Joshua Heistand, Richboro; Joseph Kamp, formerly of Cochransville; Brian Kiselewsky, Riegelsville; Samuel Lynch, Holmeville; David McKechnie, Phoenixville; Shelby Miller, Harleysville; Jeremy Mulders, Collegeville; Aaron Radtke, Perkasie; Zachary Robinson, Stowe; Gerard Russi, Langhorne; Rossman Shaffer, Feasterville; Corre Sommers, Harleysville; John Stritch, Havertown; Jarrett Wise, Phoenixville; and Kevin Yacovetti, King of Prussia.
Montgomery County Community College, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus, 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken.
The academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,500 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 90 percent. The 800-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Studies.
To learn more, visit the Municipal Police Academy webpage.
- Neree Aron-Sando