Among the 13 cadets is Tierra Travis, the academy's first female African-American graduate.
Dr. Christopher Wydra, police academy coordinator and a criminal justice professor at Cal U; graduate Tierra Travis, who is a senior criminal justice major at Cal U; and Dr. Julie Warnick, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Cal U.
Thirteen cadets graduated from Cal U’s full-time IUP Police Academy during a ceremony on Friday, Dec. 14, in the Performance Center on Cal U’s campus.
Among the third class of cadets was Tierra Travis, the first African-American female to graduate from the academy and one of three women to graduate from this academy class.
At the ceremony, Travis received a $6,000 scholarship from the Washington County (Pa.) District Attorney’s Office.
“I lost my parents in high school,” said Travis, of Pittsburgh, Pa., who is also a senior criminal justice major at Cal U. “I made a promise to my mom and dad that I would be the best that I can, and I’ve been sticking to my word.
“My experience during the academy was a challenge. It’s not easy without my parents being here. As the days went by I’ve noticed I’ve gained patience, discipline, time management skills and professional etiquette. I’ve come a long way in these past six months, and overall, I’ve noticed that I’ve become a strong and mature woman.
“I appreciate all the instructors — all their hard work and even their criticism!”
Guest speaker Maurita Bryant, assistant superintendent of the Allegheny County Police and retired assistant chief of Pittsburgh Police, was the guest speaker. Members of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and members of the NAACP Washington County also attended the graduation ceremony.
“Our police academy at Cal U is training police cadets not only in proper police techniques but also emphasizing public safety while upholding civil rights,” said Dr. Christopher Wydra, academy coordinator and an assistant professor of criminal justice at Cal U.
“Our cadets are also trained in procedural justice and professional communication to make police-citizen encounters more positive. Our police academy is a reflection of police diversity to serve diverse communities.”
Each of the cadets completed more than 950 hours of training to earn Act 120 Municipal Police Officer certification, which is required for employment as a police officer in Pennsylvania.
In addition to their Act 120 certification, police academy graduates are awarded 15 college credits at Cal U. Those who enter the academy without a degree can apply those credits to the B.S. in Criminal Justice or the associate degree in applied policing and technology. Both the bachelor’s and associate degree programs are available on campus or online.
Cal U also offers an M.A. in Criminal Justice Studies with an applied criminology concentration and a Doctor of Criminal Justice.
“Since the inception of the academy at Cal U last year, our faculty and academy instructors have provided excellent instruction for our cadets,” said Dr. Julie Warnick, Criminal Justice Department chair. “Each cadet is called to demonstrate the highest standards of professionalism and service to our diverse communities.”
For more information about Cal U’s full-time IUP Police Academy, contact Dr. Christopher Wydra at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-938-4294.