DOVER — After completing a 19-week program, 12 recruits from five Delaware agencies graduated Thursday from the Dover Municipal Police Academy.
The Dover Police Department hosted the graduation at Dover High School.
Speakers included Robert Coupe, chief of staff of the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, who represented Attorney General Kathy Jennings; Dover City Councilman and Dover police retiree Ralph Taylor; Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen; and Dover Police Chief Thomas Johnson.
Several awards were presented for outstanding performances by recruits:
- Catherine Hazell of the Ocean View Police Department earned the Academic Achievement Award, presented to the recruit who continued to demonstrate a high level of academic proficiency throughout training. Based on a series of tests to prove their understanding of course content, the recruits received a final GPA. Officer Hazell earned a class-best 97.6.
- The Top Shot Award went to Andrew Devine of the Dover Police Department. The honor goes to the recruit who demonstrated the highest level of marksmanship proficiency and firearms safety throughout a series of day and night training and qualification courses.
- Officer Devine and Brooke Tucker of the Smyrna Police Department won Physical Fitness Awards, given to the male and female police recruits who demonstrated a high level of physical fitness, strength and endurance. These recruits also continued to push themselves to a higher level throughout the academy.
- Wilfredo Crespo of the Wilmington Fire Marshal’s Office received the Francis T. Schneible Resiliency Award, given to the recruit who showed the most resiliency. The late Mr. Schneible began his law enforcement career with the Dover Police Department in 1968. One year into his tour, he was shot by a shoplifting suspect, but his resiliency allowed him to serve four more years with Dover and later join the Delaware State Police. Mr. Schneible died 24 years after the shooting, due to difficulties stemming from that injury. Members of the Schneible family were recognized during the presentation of this award.
- Gunnar Goad of the Dover Police Department captured the Cpl. Thomas Hannon Top Recruit Award. The award is given to the recruit who displayed an outstanding effort and demonstrated quality leadership. Cpl. Hannon began his career with the New York City Police Department, before joining DPD in 2005. He was also named the top municipal recruit of his Delaware State Police Academy class. In 2012, Cpl. Hannon suffered a leg injury during the arrest of a suspect and lost his life as a result of complications Sept. 1, 2017. Members of the Hannon family were also honored during the presentation of the award.
In his closing remarks, Academy Instructor Master Cpl. Christopher Bumgarner reminded the recruits of the challenges that lie ahead and of the core values of the Dover Municipal Police Academy.
“Life has thrown all of us many challenges, and the world we live in is far from perfect,” he said. “But I have faith because of you and your commitment to this profession, despite those challenges. I believe you will make your community and our world a better and safer place, as you continue to be the examples of courage, professionalism and integrity.”
Graduating recruits were:
- Dover Police Department — Officer Devine, Officer Goad, Brittney Finnegan, Jacob Miller and Connor Schell.
- Smyrna Police Department — Officer Tucker, Ian McArdle, Cameron Nash and Aaron Sarkissian.
- Seaford Police Department — Erin Cooney.
- Ocean View Police Department — Officer Hazell.
- Wilmington Fire Marshal’s Office — Officer Crespo.