CEDAR CITY – The Iron County Sheriff’s Office graduated nine students from its Junior Deputy Academy during a ceremony with family and friends June 26 at the Heritage Center in Cedar City.
The 2015 graduating class included Shaylyn Brumbaugh, Jasmin Santiago, Austin Fogg, Andrew Wilde, Dylan Matheson, Trevor Douglas, Avangelina Medina, Nikole Johnson and Trey White.
The Junior Deputy Academy was established seven years ago in an effort to give high-school aged students a hands-on learning experience and an inside look into the world of law enforcement. Since then, four graduates of the program have gone on to pursue careers in law enforcement, including two Utah Highway Patrol officers and an Enoch Police Department officer.
“This gives (students) an opportunity to experience what law enforcement is all about,” Iron County Sheriff Mark Gower said at the graduation. “(They) get a taste of it; it’s not all encompassing, but (they) get to experience what the academy portion of it is like.”
The three-week course gave students a chance to engage in realistic law enforcement training techniques. They went through a rigorous physical training regimen and learned defense, use of force and fire arms safety and use.
In addition to hands-on training, academy students were required to pass written exams every week, based on law enforcement methods and techniques learned throughout the program.
The students’ dedication to the rigorous academic and physical training regimen impressed the instructors of the academy, especially considering many of the students’ peers were participating in more relaxed summer activities.
“This was a really good group of kids,” Sgt. Nik Johnson, of the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, said at the graduation ceremony. “I can’t stress that enough … These guys have been awesome to hang out with and spend time with and watch them grow.”
“These guys now know how to push themselves, how to accomplish a goal and how to push themselves past their limits,” Gower added, speaking of the academy graduates. “They know how to dig deep and find the strength they need.”
The guiding principle behind the three-week academy was integrity. It was a common theme of the students’ training and it was brought up again at graduation.
Speaking directly to the students, Gower said, “Through these three weeks you’ve learned one important thing. I know it’s been shoved down your throats, (but) you have learned integrity … Being a peace officer, that’s the most important tool we have in our belts … Without that, we can’t do our jobs.”
In addition to receiving certificates of graduation, Medina and Douglas received recognition for most improved physical training. Both students took over a minute off their mile-and-a-half run times over the course of three weeks. Wilde received honors for best male physical training, and Nikole Johnson and Shaylyn Brumbaugh shared honors for best female physical training. Brumbaugh also received the award for best academics and best overall cadet.
“It was amazing to see how we came together as a team and helped each other,” Matheson, one of the Junior Deputy Academy graduates, said of the experience. “If we succeeded, we succeeded as a team. If we failed, we failed as a team. I learned so much about teamwork and had so many wonderful experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”Share