• by Paul Slocumb •

Prepared to protect and serve, fifteen cadets graduated from Sul Ross State University’s H. Joaquin Jackson Law Enforcement Academy on Monday, June 11 in Alpine.  Having already passed the state licensing exam, all 15 are now qualified to become licensed peace officers in Texas following an appointment by a law enforcement agency.

Guest Speaker Dr. Bill Kibler, Sul Ross President, commended the Academy graduates for completing the rigorous training program and for choosing to embark in a heroic vocation.

He noted the graduates were heading into an increasingly stressful law enforcement workplace but encouraged them to focus on the positive symbolism of such stress.

“In many ways, the stressful times we are experiencing in our country today are the signs of the price of freedom,” he said.

Kibler thanked the officers and their families for making the commitment to pay that price.

Class Sgt. James Wells addresses the 2018 Academy graduation audience.

Class Sgt. James Wells then spoke on behalf of the graduating class, briefly describing some of their hundreds of hours of training in legal codes, firearm use, and professional policing.

He thanked the Academy instructors and issued a challenge to his classmates.

“In all things you do, on or off duty, be courageous and true in providing your community with the utmost respect and service.  And in all things be fair,” he said.

Wells reminded his Academy brothers and sisters to always consider other points of view because community members they encounter on the job “could be experiencing the worst day of their lives.”

The 2018 Academy graduates are: Louis Acosta, Fort Stockton; Joseph Chew, Odessa; Christopher Colona, Westchester, PA; Keith Hale, Mertzon; Ismael Hernandez, Del Rio; Alejandro Luna, El Paso; Victoria Mejia, Fort Stockton; Tyrin Merriweather, Seguin; Lindy Montgomery, Comfort; Cristian Montoya, Presidio; Ricardo Nunez, Marfa; Devon Portillo, Alpine; Clayton Schmidt, Austin; John Turner, Lamesa; and James Wells, Fort Stockton.

Sul Ross State University was first licensed as a certified Texas law enforcement academy in May 1982.  The University’s Academy concentrates on small-town and rural law enforcement.