MCCC Municipal Police Academy celebrates 18 graduating cadets

Eighteen Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Municipal Police Academy cadets will soon serve and protect the public, as they begin their careers as new police officers following the program’s Dec. 13 graduation ceremony.

Of the graduating class members, six cadets started the Academy already sponsored by area police departments, with nine additional cadets hired or receiving conditional offers while in the Academy. A total of 15 cadets will have jobs upon successful completion of their state certification exam Dec. 14.

MCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Chae Sweet congratulated the graduates for their outstanding efforts and dedication while in the academy.

“Today marks a pivotal moment as you prepare to walk across this stage, joining the distinguished ranks of more than 4,100 who have been trained through our Municipal Police Academy since its inception in 1973,” she said. “As you embark on your careers in law enforcement, I encourage you to carry the values of justice, fairness and equity instilled in you throughout this program. Let the principles you learned at Montco guide your actions, as you serve and safeguard the diverse communities entrusted to your care.”

Coordinator of Public Services Training Programs Stephen Salera, speaking on behalf of Director of the Municipal Police Academy Georgette (Sissy) Hill, who was in attendance but had laryngitis, congratulated the cadets for their 919 hours of work in the Academy, including 26 written exams. Hill has two rules for cadets to live by, he said.

“The first is practice the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” said Salera. “We, as public servants, need to treat everyone with respect no matter the interaction.”

The second rule for the cadets is “practice makes permanent,” he said.

“Many things that we learn here at the academy are perishable skills,” he said. “Whether it be from physical training to academics, it’s important to always stay on top of your training and to keep sharp and ready for whatever you are faced with. That is why it is so important to continue to practice these skills.”

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele told the graduates they would be taking on an enormous responsibility as police officers.

“How you act, how you treat people, it matters,” he said. “It matters to your departments and how citizens in communities feel about law enforcement.”

Being a good police officer means becoming a leader in the community and a role model for others, said Steele.

“Treat everyone equally,” he said. “Treat them with respect. It’s your duty to treat them with the respect they deserve. It’s what the law and justice demand.”

Sgt. Matthew Stadulis, of the Whitemarsh Township Police Department, was this year’s class selected guest speaker. He told the cadets to remember the ceremony.

“Cadets, I want you to take a moment to look around and take this all in,” he said. “Cherish these memories. Surrounded by your fellow classmates, family, friends, fellow law enforcement officers seated behind you. Most importantly, remember this evening as it is the beginning of what will hopefully be a long and successful career. You all have worked extremely hard to get to this point and have earned the recognition you are receiving this evening.”

Salera later recognized the achievements of Class 2302. Cadet Lt. MacLain Brostrom received the Sgt. James R. Miller Marksmanship, the Corporal Brian Kozera Physical Fitness and the Platoon Leader Merit awards. Cadet SSgt. Max Bernstein received the Award of Distinction. Cadet Cristian Ochoa received the Professional Development Award.

Cadet SSgt. Max Bernstein, Class 2302 Valedictorian, congratulated his classmates on all they’ve achieved in the Academy. He challenged them to remember what it means to be a police officer.

“Every action that we now take on and off duty, represents our municipalities and policing as a profession,” he said. “The public expects us to be confident and knowledgeable about what we’ve learned over the last 24 weeks, and they deserve no less. Class 2302, each one of us is ready for this challenge.”

John McGowan, on behalf of the McGowan family, presented the $2,500 Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship to cadet Sgt. Richard L. Henning. The McGowan family started the scholarship fund in memory of their husband/father, Chief John J. McGowan, III, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2010. The scholarship is awarded annually to a cadet who has completed the program and is financing his or her tuition and has been helpful to many cadets over the years.

Daniel Czaplicki, of the Quest for the Best Foundation, awarded cadets Sgt. Chase Rondeau and Sgt. Richard Henning each with $3,436 Quest for the Best Scholarship Award. Quest provides funds and/or services “to those who are committed to strengthening the common good of mankind.”

Brian Ferry, FirstNet Principal Consultant, AT&T Foundation, awarded a $1,000 scholarship to 10 cadets as part of $20,000 scholarship awarded to both Municipal Police Academy classes this year. The Class 2302 recipients are: Alexander Garcia, Sgt. Richard Henning, Sgt. Brandon Kinest, Ashley Narke, Sgt. Conor Perdoch, Sgt. Chase Rondeau, Nicholas Sonetto, Donnell Wessels, Thomas Wood, and Dylan Zerby.

Lastly, the $1,000 Whitpain Police Association award was given to Cadet Nicholas Sonetto. The award is given to a cadet that has exemplified superior conduct throughout the duration of the police academy program. The award goes to the cadet who went above and beyond to help, encourage, and support their fellow cadets.

The graduates of Class 2302 are SSgt. Max R. Bernstein, Philadelphia; Lt. MacLain L. Brostrom, Downingtown; Brock N. D’Aulerio, Warrington; Matthew P. Fernandez, Newtown; Alexander M. Garcia, Philadelphia; Sgt. Richard L. Henning, Hatfield; Sgt. Brandon M. Kinest, Levittown; Jeremy R. Mask, Sellersville; Ashley L. Narke, Eagleville; Cristian M. Ochoa, Norristown; Sgt. Conor G. Perdoch, Yardley; Sgt. Chase H. Rondeau, Worcester; Brian L. Salguero, Trenton, N.J.; Nicholas D. Sonetto, Fort Washington; Donnell J. Wessels, Abington; Kaeli H. White, Perkasie; Thomas J. Wood, Pottstown; and Dylan M. Zerby, Doylestown.

Since 1973, the Municipal Police Academy at MCCC has been the training center for more than 4,100 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 90 percent. The 919-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate degree in Criminal Justice. The Academy is certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission. Many of the Academy’s alumni serve as officers and in leadership roles throughout Montgomery County and the region. MCCC operates the Municipal Police Academy in the Health Sciences Center at the Blue Bell Campus.

Photos: Linda Johnson