Black River Technical College’s (BRTC) Law Enforcement Training Academy (LETA) held its Fall 2023 graduation ceremony on Thursday, November 9 for the 33 officers who completed the Basic Police Training Course.
The Jonesboro Firefighters Pipes and Drums, Korley Martin, played as the LETA graduates entered the auditorium.
BRTC President Marin Eggensperger congratulated the cadets “on this considerable accomplishment” as he wished them well in their future endeavors in the opening address.
Matthew Richardson of the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office was chosen by his peers to act as class speaker. He commented that the class 2023-B started with 38 and ended with 33, making the class the smallest ever to graduate from BRTC’s LETA, “but the best B class of the academy.”
District 40 Arkansas State Representative Shad Pearce was the keynote speaker. He reminisced about his days in law enforcement and promised the LETA graduates he would fight for them as long as he was in a position to do so.
“You will always be in my heart, always. You have embarked on a challenging and noble profession that demands unwavering commitment, integrity, and the highest level of responsibility,” said Pearce. “You are now the protectors of our communities. You are the thin blue line that separates order from chaos, justice from injustice, and safety from harm.”
Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training Director Chris Chapmond presented the United Police Supply’s Jonathan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship to Willis B. Morris of the Dover Marshal’s Office.
Morris was selected for the scholarship by the LETA instructional staff based on his excellent attitude and work ethic. The $500 scholarship awarded to Morris will be used for his professional development.
The United Police Supply’s Jonathan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship was named in honor of Trumann Police Officer Jonathan Schmidt, a 2007-B LETA graduate, who was killed in the line of duty.
Willis B. Morris
Chapmond also presented the Jami L. Cook Award of Excellence to Matthew J. Fahey of the Marion Police Department. The award is presented to an exceptional student who exhibits an exemplary commitment to ethical service as a law enforcement officer in the State of Arkansas. The student’s foundation of excellence should be demonstrated through perseverance, resilience, and integrity-driven conduct that distinguishes the student from their peers.
Matthew J. Fahey
The top LETA cadets from class 2023-B were recognized. Matthew J. Fahey of the Marion Police Department earned the Top Overall Award, which is obtained by having the highest overall average in the areas of academics, firearms, EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course), and physical fitness. Willis B. Morris of the Dover Marshal’s Office earned second in this category. Matthew R. Richardson of the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office earned third.
Top Physical Fitness awards went to William A. French of the Cherokee Village Police Department, 1st; Matthew R. Richardson of the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Department, 2nd; and Hunter W. Middleton of the Beebe Police Department, 3rd.
The Top Academic awards went to Matthew J. Fahey of the Marion Police Department, 1st; Joseph T. Bradish of the Corning Police Department, 2nd; and Dalton L. Sparks of the Independence County Sheriff’s Office, 3rd.
Top EVOC students were Juston C. Collins of the Paragould Police Department, 1st; Willis B. Morris of the Dover Marshal’s Office, 2nd; and Edward A. Dorris III of the Bono Police Department, 3rd.
Top Firearms were Matthew R. Richardson of the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office, 1st; Matthew J. Fahey of the Marion Police Department, 2nd; and Joshua H. Bland of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, 3rd.
For more information about the LETA program at BRTC, visit https://blackrivertech.org/academics/service-programs/leta or contact Jared Bassham at (870)248-4193 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.