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MAC Law Enforcement Academy Holds Graduation Ceremony
5/18/2017 1:00:00 AM
By: Sarah Haas, Communications Director

PARK HILLS – Mineral Area College students of the 1,000 Hour Law Enforcement Academy Class 15-94 walked through their program’s commencement ceremony held at the community college’s Fine Arts Theatre on May 18.

Those students were:

Richard Anderson, Bonne Terre; Loralee Bader, Farmington; Zackary Durham, Ste. Genevieve; Mohamed Elmaliki, Ballwin; Joshua Flieg, Ste. Genevieve; Dallis Francis, Fredericktown; Nathan Hicks, Farmington; Amanda Hopkins, Crystal City; Jason Kaempfe, Fletcher; Julie Owen, Farmington; Takiesha Rice, Mineral Point; Derek Richard, Desloge; Matthew Rion, Park Hills.

A number of awards were given:

Chris Parsons Valedictorian: Amanda Hopkins;
Academic Acheivement: Richard Anderson, Loralee Bader, Zackary Durham, Mohamed Elmaliki, Joshua Flieg, Dallis Francis, Amanda Hopkins, Julie Owen, Takiesha Rice, Derek Richard, Matthew Rion;
Driver Training Award: Loralee Bader;
Handgun Award: Matthew Rion;
Shotgun Award: Zackary Durham;
Patrol Rifle Award: Derek Richard;
Defensive Tactics Award: Derek Richard;
Michael Tripplett Spartan Award: Julie Owen;
Perfect Attendence: Mohamed Elmaliki, Matthew Rion;
Director’s Award: Amanda Hopkins;
Top Physical Training Achievement: Derek Richard.

LEA Director Rich Flotron was the coordinator of the event, and spoke of the importance of the field to a safe society, and noted thousands of men and women have laid down their lives in order to serve and protect.

“Last Friday night, I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker for the Backstoppers banquet,” he said. “It is an honor to work among dedicated and committed professionals, and when one falls in the line of duty, we all grieve with the families, agencies and communities.”

The commencement ceremony’s keynote speaker was retiring vice president of Mineral Area College, Gil Kennon, who recounted that some of the best officers have tempered law enforcement with judicious lenience and compassion, knowing when a gentle admonishment or a stern warning will work just as well or even better than a ticket or court appearance.

“You won’t be able to use that kind of tactic in every situation, but there will be many times when you’ll be able to address the person you’re dealing with, without the use of force or authority,” he said. “Those of us who work in the public sector, work for the very people with whom we might be able to share this lesson, someday.”

Kennon said a good mindset to adopt when beginning a career in law enforcement is to maintain compassion.

“I’ve attended quite a few Highway Patrol graduations since I became dean in 2001, and I’ve heard this advice given many times,” he said. “Treat those we serve with respect and dignity. You’ll be dealing with someone’s dad, daughter, mother, sister, child. Be the kind of officer who recognizes they are here to serve and protect, not to instantly malign or degrade those with whom they come into contact. In each situation, ask, ‘How would I want my loved one treated?’”

Amanda Hopkins was the class president and thanked the Mineral Area College instructors and staff who made the day possible. “A wise instructor told us that the academy is only the introduction to our career, we have to keep learning and growing, striving to be better,” she said.

The ceremony ended with the benediction by The Rev. Kevin Kappler.

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