Each week it became more difficult, and each week fewer stuck around.
The program at the Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy is hard because it has to be.
Making the program hard is how tactical staff weeds out those who lack the grit to take on the challenges that come with being a police officer.
More importantly, making it hard is how the staff is assured the officers they train are prepared to handle the job.
“Real-life stress encountered by officers in the field is difficult to safely reproduce,” said Lt. Keith Mittermeier, academy commander. “However … our Tactical Staff is quite effective at their jobs.”
At the end of a grueling 26 weeks of testing their physical and mental resolve, 39 new officers graduated June 9 from the OCSTA.
In a poignant ceremony in front of hundreds of the officers’ colleagues, families and friends, each recruit walked across the stage to accept their badges.
“The badge is a shining reminder of a peace officers’ willingness to put service above self,” Mittermeier said. “It is the highest honor placed upon those who choose law enforcement as a profession.”
The class started with 52 people, but whittled down to 39 as each week progressively became more difficult.
To help each recruit persevere, OCSTA tactical staff drilled down on one important lesson: “Just do your job.”
“That has been a constant theme (in the academy),” said class president Blake Williams, who will join Torrance PD. “Regardless of how things were going on around you, how overwhelmed you felt, just do your job.”
The recruits did their jobs, got it done, and now are ready to do the same for the agencies they serve.
Class No. 220 represents 16 agencies across Southern California, including 12 in Orange County.
“You are all good men and women,” Orange Police Chief Tom Kisela told the new officers. “You were selected because of your character, but character without commitment is not enough. This profession demands results.”
Kisela implored the class to always maintain a desire to know more and be better.
“Your training was designed to provide you with some level of basic competency,” he said. “In the coming days, weeks, months and even years, you will learn how little you know. This profession requires a lifetime of learning.
“If you want to be successful, you have to be committed to learning. If not, you will not be effective.”
Meet class No. 220:
The Physical Training Award: Burbank PD Officer Jonathan Montalban
A.C.T. – Arrest and Control Techniques: OCSD Deputy Dallas Mihalik
Practical Application: Tustin PD Officer David Valencia
Firearms proficiency: Pasadena PD Officer Ryan Goetz
Written Examinations: Burbank PD Officer Joseph Nunez
Outstanding Officer Award: Costa Mesa PD June Juong
Officer Miguel Nicolas Ojeda, Jr.
Buena Park PD:
Officer Daniel Delgadillo
Officer Rashaad Coleman
Officer Gregory DeBelius
Officer Jonathan Montalban
Officer Joseph Nunez
Costa Mesa PD:
Officer June Jeong
Officer Dillon Flores
Officer Jonathan Alvaradejo
Officer Lawrence Hayes
Officer Christian Gray
Officer Alejandro Diaz
Officer Christopher James Roberts
Deputy Jason Busk
Deputy Kyle Deaton
Deputy Steven Gibson
Deputy Elias Gomez
Deputy Jason Kyle Hicks
Deputy Mircea Daniel Leoca
Deputy Dallas Mihalik
Deputy Nathan Muldoon
Deputy Christopher Rosales
Officer David Nguyen
Officer Priyesh Patel
Officer Timothy Ralston
Officer Judd Wilkerson
Officer Ryan Goetz
Officer Robert Griffith
Officer David Kilgore
Santa Ana PD:
Officer Connor Ahearn
Officer Leonardo Gonzalez
Officer Jaime Lopez
Officer Patrick Marshall
Officer Blake Williams
Officer Ismael Aurelus
Officer Leah Barrett
Officer David Valencia
Officer Nicholas Akingbemi
Officer Christopher Doan