Delaware County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy has broken another record.
Twelve female cadets – the most to have ever graduated at one time from the Police Academy – were among 48 students lauded at the Academy’s graduation ceremony held recently at Ridley High School.
The female cadets join the 10 women who, last year, were the most female cadets to have graduated at one time.
“We are seeing an increasing number of women entering the Academy, and I could not be more pleased,” said Delaware County Community College President Dr. L. Joy Gates Black, a U.S. Air Force veteran and the first female president in the college’s 51-year history.
Among the 12 female graduates was Rachel Keenan, one of two cadets selected to receive a $2,500 scholarship from Quest for the Best for excellence and outstanding leadership. Quest for the Best is a private, tax-exempt foundation that provides funding and services to groups committed to “strengthening the common good of mankind.”
Cadet Matthew O’Donnell received the other scholarship.
Quest for the Best President Taras Wochok and Vice President Dan Czaplicki presented the scholarships to the two cadets, who did not know that they had won until their names were announced at the graduation ceremony.
Keenan was also one of six cadets who had the special honor of having a family member give them their Pennsylvania Act 120 certificate for successful completion of their municipal police officer training. She received her certificate from her sister, Sara Keenan, a police officer in Ridley Township.
This year’s class of graduates had the distinction of being the first in the 41-year history of the Police Academy to complete a new, more rigorous, 920-hour curriculum, which included 166 additional hours of instruction in firearms, physical fitness, self-defense, and Homeland Security, as well as scenario training and practical exercises.
“Take pride in knowing you have successfully completed one of the most rigorous police training programs in the country, run by expert faculty, many of whom are active police chiefs, supervisors, and law enforcement officers,” Dr. Gates Black said.
Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland, the keynote speaker and a former instructor at the Police Academy, urged the graduating cadets to love and uphold the law and to serve the community.
“You respect it. You prioritize it. You know it,” Copeland said of the law, noting that community residents will judge them based on how well they apply the law with honor, commitment, and compassion.