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Hancock College holds graduation ceremonies for students in its public safety programs

Hancock College Fire Academy Graduation
Hancock College holds its Fire Academy graduation ceremony on its Public Safety Complex in Lompoc on Dec. 7. 2023. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

LOMPOC, Calif. – Allan Hancock College is celebrating the graduation of dozens of students from its public safety programs, including law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services and nursing.

On Wednesday, 26 recruits graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Academy at the college’s Public Safety Training Complex in Lompoc.  

"You have strapped into the seat of one of the greatest rollercoaster rides of your life," Grover Beach Police Chief John Peters told the cadets during the ceremony. "This profession will have you experiencing more things than you ever imagined."

The graduation for Class #23-126 marked the completion of more than 856 training hours required to graduate from the academy and enter careers as peace officers.

The recruits received training in community policing, search and seizure, firearms, ethics, investigation procedures, patrol techniques, arrest and control, physical training, CPR/First Aid, emergency vehicle operations and other important skills.  

On Thursday morning, 27 cadets in the program's Battalion 152 earned certificates from the college's Fire Academy during a graduation ceremony held in Lompoc.

"They're motivated," said Leonard Champion, Hancock College Fire Academy Coordinator. "They're at their peak of their physical training, their mental training. They've graduated after 17 1/2 weeks, putting in 680 hours of training. They graduate with 13 certificates and the most important certificate is their firefighter, one that their EMT academy certificate gets them to apply for any department anywhere in the country, and it just states that they've gone through the fundamental foundational training for a firefighter."

According to the college, 13 of the graduating cadets have already secured jobs as firefighters for various agencies across California, including class valedictorian Jake Ethington.

"It's robably the hardest thing I've ever done, but my one of my proudest moments for sure." said Ethington, a Santa Rosa native who begins a job in Sonoma County next week. "It just shows the dedication that we all put in. We're ready to start an in-service academy with an actual department. That's what this academy is for us to prepare us for that moment so we can jump right into him being the rookie and learning how to."

Following the Fire Academy graduation ceremony, the Public Safety Training Complex held another one for 31 students earning certificates in Emergency Medical Services prorgram.

On Thursday night, Hancock’s nursing program will host a graduation and pinning ceremony in Santa Maria.

During the ceremony in the Marian Theatre, 33 students will graduate from the vocational nursing (LVN) program, and 46 students will graduate from the registered nursing (RN) program.  

Article Topic Follows: Education
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Dave Alley

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