The Panhandle Regional Law Enforcement Academy (PRLEA) at Amarillo College graduated 20 people Thursday night at Oasis Southwest Baptist Church.
Graduation for the 124th class, according to faculty program coordinator Tyler Smith, was a 100% pass rate on the first attempt for the Texas Commission on Application’s state licensing exams. of the law (TCOLE).
“It means a lot. It’s actually, really unreal. I never thought I would be in this position or get to this point in my life,” said graduate China Alexander.
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Alexander spoke about his plans after graduating as a Hutchinson County Deputy and his motivation to be the best role model for his daughter.
“I’m really excited for the future. They (Hutchinson County) are really adamant about drugs and addiction, and that was one of the main things I wanted to talk about,” Alexander said. “I’m proud to be able to be a good influence on my daughter as a single mother. My main goal is to be someone she can look up to, someone who deserves to be admired.”
According to the coordinator, all but two of the graduates are already serving as statewide peace officers.
“With the exception of these two, they are all employed, so they are already entering the community tomorrow and serving the citizens of their area. We have a few serving Borger, Plainview, Potter and the county of Randall, Cactus, …pretty much the whole Panhandle,” Smith said.
The five-month program began October 5, 2021 and included 800 hours of training.
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The first class of the Panhandle Regional Law Enforcement Academy was organized in 1968 with nine recruits. This inaugural class lasted less than a month and included only 150 class hours.
Today, the Basic Peace Officers Course consists of 42 sections of instruction, including the Texas Criminal Code, and focuses on topics such as defensive tactics, firearms, vehicle operation, and more. emergency, crisis intervention, traffic rules, physical fitness and arrest, search and seizure. .
Graduate Jacob Cochran, who holds a position with the Randall County Sheriff’s Office, shared what excites him the most.
“I’m really excited to start using what I’ve learned to help the community, to start being proactive and using what I’ve learned and worked hard for,” Cochran said.
The PRLEA is conducted annually as part of Amarillo College’s Criminal Justice Programs. Anyone interested in learning more about PRLEA should call (806) 354-6081 or visit www.actx.edu/cj. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.