Twenty-one recruits graduated from Allan Hancock College’s Law Enforcement Training Academy on Thursday. Seventeen of the 21 graduates have already been hired by area law enforcement agencies, including 10 by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
Twenty-one recruits graduated from Allan Hancock College’s Law Enforcement Training Academy on Thursday. Seventeen of the 21 graduates have already been hired by area law enforcement agencies, including 10 by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

In front of hundreds of friends, family and members of Central Coast law enforcement agencies, the 110th class of Allan Hancock College’s Law Enforcement Training Academy graduated on Thursday. Twenty-one recruits, including 17 who already have jobs lined up with area agencies, received their certificates. The ceremony took place at the same facility where the recruits had spent the previous 21 weeks, the college’s $36 million state-of-the-art Public Safety Training Complex in Lompoc.

“What you see here today is the heart of our community college,” said Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers, Ph.D.  “The fact that you 21 individuals have agreed to respond in the most serious emergencies in your communities is nothing short of heroic. It speaks greatly of the commitment you’re making to all of us and we’re grateful for it.”

The class included recruits from five countries, four military veterans, three former Division I athletes, 12 recruits with bachelor’s degrees and one with a master’s degree.

Kohuske Kashiwazaki, hired by the University of California, Santa Barbara Police Department (UCSBPD), was named the class valedictorian.

“My classmates are some of the smartest, most driven, selfless and honest people I have ever met,” said Kashiwazaki. “What an amazing moment in our lives this has been. There are more than one million words in the English language, and not one can describe this feeling now that we are done.”

Kashiwazaki was one of three recruits in the class hired by the UCSBPD, joined by Ramon Adams and Juan Rubio.

“Hold your heads up high as you leave the academy gates, Class 110. Our watch begins now,” he said to his classmates at the end of his valedictorian speech

Ten recruits were hired by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. They include Jesus Gutierrez, Margaret Kunigonis, Andrew Long, Mathew Maxwell, Charlene Petersen, Gregory Plett, Michael Rodriguez, Jr., Theo Sullivan, Derek Taylor and Eddie Vega. Former Cal Poly football palyer Arturo Munoz and Matthew Gavette will begin their careers with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. The Paso Robles Police Department will welcome Hancock graduate Maeghan Smallwood, and Kristina Condon-Sherwood will join the Pismo Beach Police Department.

Four recruits are in the middle of the interview and hiring process with various law enforcement agencies.

During the 21-week, 843-hour course, Class 1110 combined to run more than 2,500 miles, completed 62,000 pull-ups and 82,000 push-ups, fired nearly 116,000 rounds of ammunition, and wrote 1,900 reports. Each recruit completed 26 written exams, eight emergency vehicle operations, eight firearms tests, 14 scenario tests and eight arrest and control tests. The class also had an average score of 93 percent on written exams.

The class was the first to complete taser and less lethal impact shotgun training in the academy.

Paso Robles Chief of Police Robert Burton delivered the keynote address. Burton graduated from Hancock’s academy in Class #58.

“You have all accomplished something special and it is an accomplishment to be proud of,” said Burton.”I am confident all of you demonstrate tremendous professionalism, accountability, compassion, courage, integrity, honor and humility that will help you succeed in your law enforcement careers.”

Various organizations and agencies presented awards to recognize recruits for excellence in areas such as physical fitness, most improved, leadership, report writing and firearms.

For more information about Hancock’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy, call (805) 922-6966 ext. 3264.