GOLDSBORO – Wayne Community College recognized graduates of its 83rd Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) class at a ceremony held Dec. 13. Seven cadets received certificates that will allow them to work as sworn law enforcement officers in North Carolina. The graduates, listed by hometown, are:
Chase Antony Absalao
Nathaniel Walker Best
Matthew Dylan Keith
Chloee Rheannon Lamb
Jonathan Andrew Powell
Ashley Kiara Bryant
Hunter Stephen Whitaker
Awards were presented for outstanding performance in various training areas.
The Physical Fitness Award went to Bryant. Cadets were required to complete a timed mile-and-a-half run and a Police Officer’s Physical Abilities Test. Bryant met and exceeded these requirements, showing improvement throughout the course of the program.
Keith was given the Leadership Award. This award recognizes a cadet who has demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout the academy and put the needs of the class before their own.
Lamb received the Major Jay R. Memmelaar Student Excellence Award as the student with the highest academic average who has excelled throughout the academy. A check from the George D. Williams Foundation was presented along with this award. Williams was a significant supporter of public safety and law enforcement.
The Top Gun Award went to Powell for his proficiency in the program’s firearms portion, which includes handgun, shotgun, and decision-making courses.
WCC Dean of Public Safety Angie Blizzard congratulated the cadets on their accomplishments. “The four months of training you have been through have been intense, taxing, tiring, but worth it all because it has helped prepare you for the profession you are entering,” she said.
Blizzard mentioned the numerous hours of training that the cadets underwent to complete the program. “You have been pushed mentally, physically, and emotionally, and your perseverance through it all has you sitting here today, successfully completing Basic Law Enforcement Training.”
Cadets Jonathan Powell and Hunter Whitaker were chosen to speak at the ceremony on behalf of their class. They thanked their fellow classmates, instructors, and the officers they worked with during their training, along with family members and friends in attendance for their support and encouragement.
“Becoming a law enforcement officer is a high calling. It’s a way for me to help protect my community, ensuring that justice is served and that people are held accountable for their actions,” Powell shared.
Whitaker expressed gratitude to WCC for offering “a top-tier program” with the resources and equipment needed to prepare students for law enforcement. “This class was nothing short of one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced,” he said. “Everybody here goes above and beyond to make sure this program gives us the best opportunity for success.”
“I’m proud to call these people my brothers and sisters,” Whitaker said of his fellow classmates.
WCC President Patty Pfeiffer recognized the graduates’ dedication and commitment. “Your decision to serve and to protect our community is commendable and deserves recognition,” she said. “You will encounter difficult situations and face challenging decisions that will test you, but your training has prepared you to handle these with poise and with courage.”
WCC Vice President of Academic and Student Services Brandon Jenkins noted that this event was the culmination of the students’ hard work. “I find myself awestruck as I stand in front of these students who have chosen to pursue one of our noblest professions,” he said. “You have chosen a profession that epitomizes service and sacrifice. We will forever be proud of you and your accomplishments.”
“Students, you are now on the front line,” said WCC BLET Coordinator John R. Anderson. “You are entering into the law enforcement profession seeking to protect, serve, and lead your community to a safer tomorrow.”
“Maintain your moral compass,” Anderson advised. “As you go about life and perform your duties, never forget the principles for which you stand.”
BLET is a state-accredited program mandated by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission through the Community College System.
WCC’s BLET academy has graduated around 1,200 students who work for approximately 53 different law enforcement agencies on the local, county, and state levels.