The ceremony was held July 12 in Kara Alumni House.
Graduates Phillip Saracco (left), Jordan Dollard, Kaley Barota, John Frederick, Aaron McClelland, Colton Gray, Matthew Rouse, Benjamin Baldwin and Kyle Stawowczyk.
Nine cadets graduated from Cal U’s full-time IUP Police Academy on July 12.
Gene Vittone, the Washington County district attorney, was guest speaker at the ceremony, which was held in Kara Alumni House. This is the fourth class to graduate at Cal U.
“What attracted you to this program?” Vittone asked the group of cadets – Benjamin Baldwin, Kaley Barota, Jordan Dollard, John Frederick, Colton Gray, Aaron McClelland, Matthew Rouse, Phillip Saracco and Kyle Stawowczyk.
“A desire to serve others, make the community better, and help out the best I can,” replied class president Stawowczyk, also speaking for his colleagues.
“You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have a desire to help others,” Vittone said.
“You’ll be expected to react to a situation where most people would rather run for the hills. The best officers honor their oaths to serve and protect every day and act accordingly.”
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.
Dr. Christopher Wydra, coordinator and instructor for the police academy at Cal U, praised the graduates.
“This was an excellent class,” said Wydra, who is an assistant professor of criminal justice at Cal U. “It takes special courage and love for the community to serve as a police officer. These cadets demonstrated a high level of professionalism and commitment to community service with an emphasis on civil rights.”
Graduate John Frederick is enrolled in Cal U’s criminal justice program, with 25 credits left to graduate.
“Earning a degree is important to me because it’s possible I may want to pursue a career in federal law enforcement, and many of those positions require a bachelor’s degree,” Frederick said.
“It’s a really good program,” Stawowczyk said. “Each of the instructors brought something different to the table, and we learned a lot from each of them. This has definitely better prepared me for a career in law enforcement."