Law Enforcement Cadets Graduate

RALEIGH, N.C. (February 22, 2021) -  Wake Tech celebrated the graduation of nine cadets from Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) today during a ceremony at the Public Safety Education Campus.

The cadets – eight men and one woman -- received their certificates and were honored in-person while family members and friends watched remotely on Microsoft Teams.

Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls praised the cadets for their accomplishment and thanked them for their noble choice to serve as law enforcement officers.

“While some of us are called essential workers, our law enforcement officers are truly perhaps the most essential of all,” Dr. Ralls said. “They choose to run into challenges even in a time of a pandemic, not thinking so much of their safety, but thinking of the safety of others. And that’s a choice we celebrate here today.”

Jeff Robinson, Wake Tech’s dean of Public Safety, was the featured speaker. He encouraged the graduates to make an impact and make their agencies better.

“If ever there was a time to repair the breech, it’s now,” Robinson said. “Some people are disappointed in this profession, some people are disenchanted, and some people have distrust in this profession, but we can change that one day at a time, one person at a time.”

Wake Tech has offered its BLET Academy for more than 45 years. The rigorous program includes 768 hours of training and cadets are required to pass the Police Officers Physical Ability Test (POPAT), a timed series of search and rescue, physical agility, and mental alertness drills.

During the ceremony, three cadets received awards. William Johnson received the Highest Academic Average Award; Caleb Carter received the Johnny Blackmon Physical Fitness Award; and Joshua Smith earned the Highest Firearms Average Top Gun Award.

Smith, who was also the class sergeant, said he’s excited about his future as a law enforcement officer. “I’ve had a great time here at Wake Tech,” Smith said. “It’s bittersweet because you make friends, and it’s like family, but the training I’ve received has prepared me to take the next step and go out here and do my job. I’m excited.”

Katelyn O’Brien plans to start working as a patrol officer in Holly Springs in a few weeks. “I’ve always known I want to work in law enforcement,” she says. “Being the only female in the class, everyone treated me with so much respect. This whole experience has been awesome.”

Smith was also awarded the Bob Barker Scholarship and O’Brien received the 200 Club Scholarship from the Wake Tech Foundation.

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.

Applications are now being accepted for the next daytime BLET academy starting in July and night academy starting in June.

To learn more about basic law enforcement training at Wake Tech, visit


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March 2023

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