Four Area Residents Among Police Academy’s 21 New Grads

BLUE BELL PA – Four area residents are among 21 students who just graduated from the Municipal Police Academy at Montgomery County Community College, the institution announced Wednesday (June 22, 2022).

Celebrating in their accomplishments are Jessica Barbitta of Pottstown, Landon Detweiler of Pennsburg, Christopher Douglass of Collegeville, and Sgt. Jason Eckman of Phoenixville, the college reported. They were joined by 17 other graduates from Class 22-01, as it’s known, hailing from Warrington, Langhorne, Doylestown, West Chester, Media, Maple Glen, Huntingdon Valley, Southampton, Richboro, Sinking Spring, Wynnewood, Oreland, Hatboro, Wayne, Elkins Park and Churchville.

The June 15 (Wednesday) evening graduation ceremony inside the Health Sciences Center gymnasium on the college’s Blue Bell Campus was a last chance to say goodbye to their classmates each goes their separate ways to serve and protect. An audience of about 150 admiring friends and family members were witnesses to the spectacle.

“It’s a challenging profession that you’ve each chosen to go into,” Dr. Gloria Oikelome, college vice president of academic affairs, told the graduates (at top). “It is one that requires character and courage. We appreciate you choosing to serve in this way, and as we send you out into your communities remember the principles and values this program has instilled in you.”

Past graduates who preceded this class are already at work in several communities, Academy Director Georgette Hill observed. Police departments that recently hired former academy students include those in Limerick and Upper Providence townships, as well as in Abington, Cheltenham, Lower Gwynedd, Lower Merion, Middletown, Newtown, Upland Borough, and Whitpain.

Cadets who “are seated before you worked extremely hard for 24 weeks of instruction, a total of 919 hours,” and took 26 written exams, Hill noted. “It is a competitive process,” she added, because before entering the academy, each cadet had to successfully complete a psychological exam, physical exam, vision exam, reading comprehension, and physical agility exam, as well as rigorous interviews.

They made many sacrifices, too, Hill said. “Time with their family, friends, personal time and for most, a paying job. Not everyone is capable of this undertaking. However, the cadets you see before you were up for the challenge, and they crushed it.”

Hill later recognized the individual accomplishments of the Class of 22-01. The Professional Development Award, presented to a cadet who has shown the greatest overall development and improvement, was presented to Collegeville’s Douglass.

Since 1973, the Municipal Police Academy has been the training center for more than 3,500 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 90 percent. The 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.

Photos by Susan Angstadt provided by Montgomery County Community College