Ten men graduated from the Delaware Area Career Center Ohio Basic Peace Officer Academy on May 23 and now qualify to be law enforcement officers in the state of Ohio.
Lt. Molly Harris, Ohio State Highway Patrol Marysville Post commander and an instructor in the course, served as the master of ceremonies for the event. She congratulated the graduates and praised their hard work.
DACC Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman also congratulated the class.
“We’re here to recognize the commitment and hard work you’ve demonstrated,” Freeman said. “I can’t think of a more honorable profession than becoming a law enforcement officer. You chose to become a law enforcement officer because you wanted to be a person of value in our society.”
Kyle Schneider, a member of the class, also gave a speech at the ceremony and said the class has been through an “adventurous journey” together and have grown close.
“If there’s any doubt of how long this journey has been, look at me!” Schneider said, joking that he had a full head of dark hair before the class.
Schneider told the crowd at the ceremony about every member of the class and shared the memories they had made together.
“Call me anytime. I will be your backup,” Schneider told his classmates.
Schneider also thanked his family, and he added the students’ families deserve appreciation for allowing them to go through the eight-month course, which included long nights and studying over weekends.
“Our families went through this with us,” Schneider said.
The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer, who said, “This job will always be here, but family is number one.”
“If you don’t have the support and understanding of your family, you are not going to do well in this position,” Morbitzer added. “We preach ‘true north’ at our police department, meaning your private life and professional life have to match up. If your morals and ideals aren’t the same in both lives, you will crash and burn.”
Morbitzer said by becoming police officers, they’ve committed themselves to a life of service and urged them to serve the right way.
“Make sure we are the thin blue line, not the thick blue wall,” Morbitzer said. “We are here to protect and serve. Tomorrow’s police officer is not a highly tactical, knock-down-the-door person that you see on some of these ridiculous TV shows that we watch. Tomorrow’s police officer understands the commitment to helping people. We want people who are going to serve.”
Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin echoed Morbitzer’s sentiments by adding when he hires officers, he hires based on character.
“We hire for character and teach competence,” Martin said. “Keep your head on a swivel, keep your powder dry, and serve with integrity.”
Martin said the most significant part of being in law enforcement is the social contract with the public. Martin asked the graduates to stand up and face their friends and family in attendance.
“Make a commitment. Do not let these people down,” Martin said. “This is an honorable calling. This nation needs fine men and women in law enforcement.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.