by Alana J. Mauger
Thirty-five cadets graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy last month during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Theater, 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell.
The ceremony began with a moment of silence in memory of Plymouth Township Police Officer Bradley Fox, who was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 13, 2012. Fox was a graduate from academy class 603.
Retired Pennsylvania State Police Lieutenant Michael Ford, a Vietnam veteran and instructor at the academy, was selected by class 1204 to give the keynote address.
During his remarks, Ford commended the cadets for their “tenacity, focus and professionalism,” stating that class 1204 “ranks with the best I have ever seen.”
“There’s a reason [academy] instructors come back to teach year after year. [The cadets] are a part of what I do – my legacy. I want them to be the best they can possibly be and make me proud,” he said.
Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. and Montgomery County Chief of Detectives Edward Justice also attended the ceremony, along with representatives from Lower Merion, Quakertown, Upper Darby and Abington police departments.
As valedictorian, Cadet Dwight Kondravy, Philadelphia, offered remarks on behalf of his fellow graduates. Other honors presented during the ceremony included the Leadership Award to Cadet Lieutenant Kevin Saffell, Norristown, and the Spirit of Distinction Award to Cadet Sergeant Richard Lewis, Willow Grove.
Academy Director Frank Williar presented the Director’s Teamwork Achievement Award to Cadet Corporal Brenna Stemler, Hatboro. This new award recognizes a cadet who best exemplifies the concept of team over self. Williar also presented the class 1204 guidon to George William Hallahan, West Chester. The class flag is occasionally presented to a graduating cadet who overcomes the greatest number of challenges to succeed.
Two cadets, Timothy Miller, of Upper Darby, and Edward Sarama, of Galloway, N.J., achieved perfect scores on the range, earning them the Sgt. James R. Miller Marksmanship Award. The award is presented in memory of Upper Dublin Police Sergeant Jim Miller, who died in an automobile accident while on duty in 2004.
Additionally, Ryan Bunda, of Bristol, was presented with the Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship. The $2,500 scholarship honors former East Norriton Police Chief John McGowan, who was killed in a fatal motorcycle accident in June 18, 2010.
Cadets from class 1204 attended the academy full time, Monday through Friday for 22 weeks. Graduates include Ryan Bunda, Bristol; Joseph Cantymagli, Pottstown; Sean Clements, Bensalem; Jack Davis, Towamencin; Matthew Dougherty, Media; Ronald Ernst, Newtown; Samantha Grebe, Lansdale, G. William Hallahan, West Chester; Brandon Hertzog, Lansdale; Paul Houseknecht, East Greenville; Tyrone Johnson, Penllyn; Kyle Knowles, Levittown; Dwight Kondravy, Philadelphia; Jonathan Kramer, Perkasie; Richard Lewis, Willow Grove; Matthew Lynch, Upper Darby; Matthew MacNeal, Glenolden; Robert Maier, Skippack; Timothy Miller, Upper Darby; Ryan Paskel, Bridgeport; John Prestia, Plymouth Meeting; James Robb, Pottstown; Timothy Romanek, Levittown; Kevin Saffell, Norristown; Edward Sarama, Galloway, N.J.; Matthew Stead, Schwenksville; Breanna Stemler, Hatboro; Will Suren, Philadelphia; John Wade, Bristol; Jeff Ward, Warminister; Madeline Welsh, Phoenixville; Paul Welsh, Roslyn; and Robert Whitt, Hopewell, N.J.
Montgomery County Community College, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus, 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken, PA 19428.
The academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,400 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.
Photos by John Welsh