Dylan Murphy wanted to be a police officer for as long as he can remember. On Wednesday, the Plymouth Meeting, Pa. resident took a big step closer to his dream, graduating with 29 other cadets from the Montgomery County Community College Municipal Police Academy during a ceremony at the College.
Murphy, however, did not have an easy path through the Academy. While enrolled in the mentally challenging and physically demanding 21-week program, his wife, Karri, gave birth to twins; and another child, Mia, was hospitalized for nearly two months because of complications following brain surgery. Through it all, he made it to class every class – including 6:30 a.m. runs.
Realizing the challenges Murphy was facing, his fellow cadets took up a collection for Murphy and his wife, and purchased a stuffed animal for Mia. For his determination and fortitude, Murphy was honored with the Award of Distinction at the graduation ceremony, presented to the cadet from each graduating class who best demonstrates the qualities of dedication and teamwork.
“Everything is coming together at once,” Murphy said following the ceremony, holding healthy and happy Mia in his arms. “There’s a sense of relief that it’s all over, and a real sense of accomplishment to complete the Academy.”
Warrington Township Police Department Sergeant Kenneth Hawthorn, a 1991 graduate of the Academy, served as the class-selected keynote speaker, and addressed the challenges the graduates face entering police work today. “This job is not getting easier, it’s getting harder,” Hawthorn said. “You’re about to jump into the deep end of the swimming pool.”
Despite those challenges, Hawthorn said he was confident in the abilities of the graduates and training they received. “This Academy is one of the finest in the Commonwealth,” he said. “I know it’s okay to sleep at night knowing this the next generation of police officers.”
Michael Gardner of Havertown, Pa., the class valedictorian, echoed Hawthorn's remarks about the current challenges of police work, and emphasized the personal and public benefits of the profession. “We will also experience the many rewards of the career, like making a community a safer and better place, helping someone get through a difficult time, and even saving a life.”
Michael Ludovici of Southampton, Pa., received the Platoon Leader Award of Merit, presented to the platoon leader in each class for their commitment, work ethic and outstanding leadership. The former Marine Corps sniper also received the Sergeant James R. Miller Marksmanship Award, presented to the graduate who attains the highest overall score in firearms training.
The graduating class included Paul Archambault of Philadelphia, Pa.; David Brown of Havertown; Samantha Butler of Lansdale, Pa.; Jared Carp of Churchville, Pa.; Kenneth Crawford of Langhorne, Pa.; Stephen Dallara of Blue Bell, Pa.; Andrew Davis of Philadelphia; Robert DiLella of King of Prussia, Pa. Conner Dilks of Lansdale; John Egan of Abington, Pa.; Rubiel Estevez of Lafayette Hill, Pa.; Shayla Felder of Cheltenham, Pa.; Hector Figueroa of East Norriton, Pa.; Michael Gardner of Havertown; Devrim Gencer of Penndel, Pa.; Shawn Grossman of Philadelphia; Casey Healy of Wynnewood, Pa.; Jordan Jones of Philadelphia; Michael Jones of Abington; Rashid Kulaib of Flourtown, Pa.; Tai Le of Lansdale; Michael Loane of King of Prussia; Francis Ludovici of Southampton; Zachary McLeish of Horsham, Pa.; Ryan Meinke of Oreland, Pa.; Matthew Molz of Holland, Pa.; Dylan Murphy of Plymouth Meeting; Maurice Richardson of Philadelphia; Jamie Samuels of Telford, Pa; and Michael Theiss of Warminster, Pa.
MCCC, in conjunction with the Municipal Police Officer's Education and Training Commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy. 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.
Photo Caption: Warrington Township Police Department Sergeant Kenneth Hawthorn (right) recognizes U.S. military veterans (standing) who are members of the fall 2016 graduating class of the Montgomery County Community College Municipal Police Academy. Thirty cadets graduated from the Academy on Wednesday during a ceremony at the College.