Current and Future Law Enforcement Officers Graduate BLET Academy

  Current and Future Law Enforcement Officers Graduate BLET Academy

RALEIGH, N.C. (December 19, 2018) - Twenty students were honored at Wake Technical Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) graduation ceremony. The event was held at Wake Tech’s Public Safety Education Campus.

For more than 45 years, Wake Tech has offered students BLET that includes 758 hours of training with dozens of instructors, and more than 40 exams. Trainees are required to pass the Police Officers Physical Ability Test (POPAT), a rigorous, timed series of search and rescue, physical agility, and mental alertness drills.

Keynote speaker at the graduation ceremonies, Fuquay-Varina Police Chief Laura Fahnestock, a graduate of Wake Tech’s Criminal Justice Technology program, offered practical tips and insights to the graduates. “We are law enforcement officers, teachers, counselors, mentors, and mediators. Continue your education and never stop learning.”

Among the graduates participating in the ceremonies was Aaron Joseph Ruff, the 2017 Scott Scholar, who is now an officer with the Garner Police Department.

Class sergeant Joseph Pistone paid tribute to his fellow trainees by recapping memorable and humorous moments from class. “We had to break out of our comfort zones, and teamwork was the only way to ensure our success.”

Graduates received awards in the following categories:

Award of Excellence for Highest Academic Average
 - Evan Charles Churchill, 96.59 GPA

Award of Excellence for Highest Firearms Average “Top Gun Award”
 - Joseph Peter Pistone, score of 99.70

Johnny Blackmon Physical Fitness Award
 - Nicholas Ray Yarbrough, who also had the fastest POPAT completion time in recent memory at 2:16 minutes for the first part and 1:01 minute for the second part.

Monique Mitchell Memorial Scholarship Award, established in the memory of the daughter of Mr. Gerald Mitchell, Wake Tech’s former Executive Vice President. The scholarship assists BELT cadets who demonstrate discipline, integrity, and leadership qualities. They must be 25 or older, in good academic standing with at least a 90% GPA, and on track to graduate.
 - Joseph Peter Pistone

Wake Tech Associate Vice President of Workforce Continuing Education Monica Gemperlein gave a final word of appreciation to the graduates., “The fact that you are driven by your willingness to put your life on the line – for that decision, Wake Tech is grateful.”

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.  To learn more about Wake Tech’s BLET program, visit