84 Graduate to Become Peace Officers
On Friday, December 20, 2019, a total of 84 polished recruits lined up at the Sheriff’s Training and Regional Services (STARS) Center in Whittier, in what would be their final platoon formation as academy classmates. After 22 weeks of rigorous academy training, the recruits pressed through an equally intense and meticulous formal class inspection by law enforcement executives just before the ceremony.
The ceremony was a formal transformation of academy recruits into sworn peace officers. Sheriff Alex Villanueva presided over the graduation ceremony and delivered encouraging remarks to the 10 female and 74 male graduates and guests.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva was joined on stage by Chief John N. Incontro, San Marino PD; Chief Todd Chamberlain, LA School Police; Chief Mark Fronterotta, Inglewood PD; Chief Carl Povilaitis, Glendale PD; Assistant Chief Ronald Lizukak, Culver City PD; and Assistant Chief Mark Coopwood, Beverly Hills PD, in presenting the 84 graduates with their Peace Officer Standards and Training certificates. The graduates were then officially sworn in as California Peace Officers.
In a special segment of the ceremony, Richard Aaron Mejia, LASD, was named as the class Honor Recruit. This award is earned by the recruit who achieved the highest numerical average based upon leadership qualities, academics, marksmanship, and physical performance throughout the training period. Officer Jake Spurgeon, Beverly Hills PD and Deputy Joseph Solares, LASD were honored as Academic Recruits. This award is earned by the recruit who achieved the highest academic scores.
Each class of recruits processed through the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department STARS Center brings together a collection of unique aspects, qualities and experiences. Academy Class #442 is a largely international collection of backgrounds, reflective of the vast array of cultures found within Los Angeles County. Of the 84 graduating recruits, 5 were born outside the United States in the countries of Mexico, Taiwan and United Kingdom; 6 recruits lived abroad in the countries of Germany, Lebanon, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, and United Kingdom; and 40 recruits speak a language other than English, including Arabic, Armenian, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese and American Sign Language (ASL).
These graduates bring with them a large source of higher education (27), service experience in the armed forces (11), and backgrounds in law enforcement (12), and many come from families with a tradition of serving in law enforcement (29).
Congratulations Academy Class 442!