Wake Tech News


College Celebrates Law Enforcement Graduates

RALEIGH, N.C. (July 9, 2024) – A new class of highly trained law enforcement officers will soon be on patrol in communities in Wake County and beyond. Seventeen cadets graduated Tuesday from Wake Tech's rigorous Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy (BLET). Many of the graduates have already been hired at local departments, including Cary, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale and Angier.

The cadets received certificates and awards in front of proud family and friends during a ceremony at the Southern Wake Campus. Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls congratulated the cadets and thanked them for choosing a career in law enforcement.

"It takes intellectual rigor, grit and perseverance to graduate from Wake Tech's BLET program," Ralls said. "We are proud of your accomplishments, and we thank you for your courage and commitment to serve and protect our community."

Wake Tech's BLET program includes 768 hours of training, and cadets are required to pass the Police Officers Physical Ability Test, a timed series of search and rescue, physical agility and mental alertness drills.

Five cadets received awards for their accomplishments:

  • Award of Excellence (Highest Academic Average): Emily June Rainey-Padgett
  • Johnny Blackman Memorial Award (Most Physically Fit): Daeshawn Lewis Smith
  • Award of Excellence (Highest Firearms Average): Ty Cobb
  • Best Police Officers Physical Ability Test: Daeshawn Lewis Smith

Wake Tech also recognized graduate Charles Melvin Ong with a special award named in honor of Knightdale Police Officer Ryan Hayworth, a Wake Tech BLET graduate who was killed in the line of duty in 2021. Hayworth's parents were on hand to present the award.

Ong, who is also class sergeant, offered advice to his fellow graduates.

"Our desire to serve helped us reach the goals we are celebrating today," Ong said. "We are now embarking on a new career in public service. Let's always be better today than we were yesterday."

Wendell Police Chief John Slaughter was the guest speaker for the event. Slaughter, who has served in law enforcement for more than 20 years, reminded the officers to rely on their training.

"You have a toolbox of knowledge you gained from Wake Tech," Slaughter said. "Use what you have learned, never stop training, stick to your core values, treat people the way you want to be treated and always have a servant mindset."

The ceremony also included special recognition for Jon Gregory, who recently retired as dean of Public Safety Education & Training. Gregory, credited for shaping the program into its current form, received a special retirement award from the college.

Wake Tech was the first community college in North Carolina – and the second in the nation – to earn CALEA® accreditation for its Public Safety Training Academy. CALEA, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, recognizes best practices and professional excellence in policy and practice.

Enrollment for Wake Tech's BLET program is up in response to an increase in demand for training from local agencies. Additional classes have been added for the Fall semester.

The Public Safety Education Campus provides training for law enforcement and corrections officers, firefighters, as well as State Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Homeland Security personnel.

The college's state-of-the-art Public Safety Simulation Complex, located at Wake Tech East in Wendell, offers comprehensive reality-based training for first responders from across the county, state and other parts of the country. Wake Tech's Emergency Medical Science program will also be offered at the complex.

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June 2024

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