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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

APD Gains Two Exemplary Recruits From NCSC

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

Once again North Central State College (NCSC) has turned out a group of highly professional next generation leaders, and two of those Cadets will be serving in the Ashland Area. So many proud parents, spouses and family members congregated, greeting each other with smiles, handshakes, and hugs at the Basic Peace Officer Training Academy Graduation of class #50 of 2023.

A word of prayer and the pledge of Allegiance set the stage for the Graduation Ceremony at Kehoe Center in Shelby, Ohio. During the recognition of special guests, former Police Chief Dave Koepke reminded the audience that “the key ingredient to a successful student is family.”

Dr. Dorey Diab, President of North Central State College informed the students that they not only have changed their lives and their families lives, but they will be changing other people’s live, changing their community, and improving the quality of life of the people they serve. Dr. Dorey went on to say that being an officer is a great calling to serve and protect. He ended his speech with a thanks to the students for their commitment to serve and their courage to protect.

The Guest speaker for the graduation was Ashland Police Division, Chief David Lay. Chief Lay started out by saying thanks for choosing a career in public safety, reiterating that being an officer is a calling. His speech is summarized as follows: “I firmly believe that it is more of a calling. But it can be dangerous and highly stressful.” He went on to say that the key to being a great officer required 4 basic elements: Integrity, Humility, Motivation, and Resilience. “Integrity is the values and moral principles that you hold as your own. To have integrity means that you are trustworthy, loyal, reliable, honest, and willing to be held accountable to the oath that you will soon be taking. It’s tough to stay motivated right now. Anti-police sentiment is high. The poor decisions of a few ARE being projected upon our entire profession. Let’s break motivation down into the three things that drive most motivated people, Autonomy, Purpose, and Mastery. We were discussing resiliency recently and one Sergeant compared officer wellness to vehicle maintenance. He said, you don’t wait until the engine blows up to perform that maintenance. We change the oil every 5000 miles or so to prevent that from happening. Just like your car, your body will tell you when it needs maintenance. Don’t ignore those warning signs. Have hobbies and interests that will take your mind off your job. Those activities are like oil changes. Everyone experiences adversity. We all have bad days, sometimes weeks. The difference between a motivated person and one who is just going through the motions is how quickly they recover. How fast they can shake it off and move on to the next challenge. That is resiliency.

He concluded his speech with words of encouragement, “In closing, let me stress that you are the future of law enforcement. Our history has been written. The future has yet to be told. It is up to you to determine how that story unfolds.”

Commander Brad Copeland, Academy Commander reported that class #50 was the first group of students that started and ended the Academy with the same number of students.

Dr. Kelli Gray, Vice-President of Academic Services at NCSC said that this is the first cohort of students that she can remember in the last 30 years, who started and ended together and on time. Kelli Gray said, “I was impressed by the way this group of students got behind each other and cheered each other on.”

Chelsie Betancourt and Soren Osicka were the two students representing the Ashland Police Division. During the Commencement special recognition was given to the students in 4 categories, top driver, top gun, top physical, and top academics. Arianna Marx received the award for best in class for academics. Best in class for physical abilities went to Steve Oney. Cadet Soren Osicka, representing Ashland Police Division, was awarded 2 of the four awards, Top Gun and Top Driver.

Class speaker, Chandler Holbrook began his speech with, “Family, friends, and distinguished guests.” He said, “When I think of the instructors from North Central State College and the students, I attended class with, I think of the word Honorable.” He went on to describe what honorable meant to him, “honest, fair, and worthy of respect. This group of cadets has grown to become so close, and I am honored to have been through this journey together with them. What is special about this class of cadets is the ability to work together, when someone needs picked back up every single person is there to help and not a single person is going to leave anyone behind. But don’t let that take away from the fact that we may or may not have gotten on each other’s nerves from time to time (Subject Control got those feelings out of the way though) Also, the level of competitiveness between us that makes each other better. (Even though Osicka got Top Driver, Budd I still beat you in the driving course).” He concluded with, “Thank you for pushing us to be the best version of ourselves,” to the faculty and staff at NCSC.

Commander Brad Copeland who has been doing training for nearly the past 22 years was rewarded for his good efforts with a fine “victory cigar.” Graduation ended with a prayer of protection for the new recruits and charge and dismissal by Academy Commander Brad Copeland.

Commander Brad Copeland told me, “The North Central State College police academy has trained officers that are in every agency in our area. In Richland Ashland Crawford Huron, Wayne, Morrow and beyond. We are proud to produce excellent officers from our academy to serve the wonderful communities in our area. The instructors at the NCSC Academy are a diverse group of officers from a variety of agencies, with a wealth of experience and knowledge. It is due to the quality and effort of the instructors that allow us to graduate quality officers for our region.”

A story on the Police Academy would be amiss if I didn’t mention Sam Wade, R.I.P. Sam, your professionalism is still evident even now.


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