DCCC graduates 48 police cadets — including 12 women

Quest for the Best® President Taras Wochok (far left) and Vice President Dan Czaplicki (far right) with President Dr. L. Joy Gates Black (center) and Municipal Police Academy graduates Matthew O’Donnell and Rachel Keenan. O’Donnell and Keenan each received a $2,500 Quest for the Best® scholarship.

Delaware County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy has broken another record. Twelve female cadets—the most to have ever graduated at one time from the Police Academy—were among 48 students lauded at the Academy graduation ceremony held at Ridley High School in Folsom on June 14.

The newly graduated female cadets join 10 women who graduated last year, which broke a record, marking the most female cadets to have graduated at one time. “We are seeing an increasing number of women entering the Academy, and I could not be more pleased,” said Delaware County Community College President Dr. L. Joy Gates Black, a U.S. Air Force veteran and the first female president in the College’s 51-year-history.

Among the 12 female graduates was Rachel Keenan, one of two cadets selected to receive a $2,500 scholarship from Quest for the Best® for excellence and outstanding leadership. Quest for the Best® is a tax-exempt, private foundation that provides funding and services to groups committed to “strengthening the common good of mankind.” Cadet Matthew O’Donnell received the other scholarship. Quest for the Best® President Taras Wochok and Vice President Dan Czaplicki presented the scholarships to the two cadets, who did not know that they had won, until their names were announced at the graduation ceremony.

Keenan also was one of about a half dozen cadets who had the special honor of having a family member give them their Pennsylvania Act 120 certificate for successful completion of their municipal police officer training. She received her certificate from her sister, Sara Keenan, a police officer in Ridley Township.

William Davis, director of the Municipal Police Academy, said he selected the two Quest for the Best® scholarship winners based on “their attitudes, grades, can-do spirit and the hard work that they displayed during their time at the Academy.” Tuition for the Municipal Police Academy, which is held at the College’s Marple Campus, is $5,300, which includes books.

This year’s class of graduates had the distinction of being the first in the 41-year-history of the Police Academy to complete a new more rigorous, 920-hour curriculum, which included 166 more hours of instruction in firearms, physical fitness, self-defense, and Homeland Security, as well as scenario training and practical exercises. “Take pride in knowing you have successfully completed one of the most rigorous police training programs in the country, run by expert faculty, many of whom are active police chiefs, supervisors and law enforcement officers,” Dr. Gates Black said.

Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland, the graduation keynote speaker and a former instructor at the Police Academy, urged the graduating cadets to love and uphold the law and to serve the community. “You respect it. You prioritize it. You know it,” Copeland said of the law, adding that community residents will judge them based on how well they apply the law with honor, commitment and compassion.

Dr. Gates Black reminded the cadets of the Police Academy’s outstanding history. “Today, you will become part of a rich, history of Police Academy alumni who have utilized the knowledge and training they received to become some of the top law enforcement personnel in the country,” Dr. Gates Black said. “Like those who have graduated before you, you represent the best of what Delaware County Community College has to offer in education and training. It is no wonder that chiefs of police throughout the region, Delaware and Maryland look to us when they have openings.”

Delaware County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy conducts training for the Municipal Police Officer’s Education and Training Commission program in accordance with Pennsylvania Legislative Act 120. The Academy has been serving the community since 1977, and also conducts mandatory Act 180 in-service training for current municipal police officers. The Academy trains more than 95 percent of the police officers in Delaware County and more than 75 percent of the police officers in Chester County.

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