MCC’s Meridian Public Safety Academy graduate six
Graduates of MCC’s Meridian Public Safety Academy include Mike Marlow, left, Jonathan
Colby Bishop, Thomas Ryan Laird, Kevin Demond Russell, Fabian J. Gillis and Edward
Six graduates received their certificates from the Meridian Public Safety Academy during a completion ceremony held at Meridian Community College-Riley Workforce Development Center.
Part-time law enforcement graduates include Jonathan Colby Bishop, Thomas Ryan Laird, Mike E. Marlow, Edward A. Odom, and Kevin Demond Russell. Refresher Law Enforcement Graduate Fabien J. Gills also received his certificate.
Meridian Public Safety Academy provides refresher and part-time reserve law officer certification per the Mississippi Department of Public Safety Board on Standards and Training guidelines. To enter the Academy, cadets must be 21 or an emancipated minor, have a current CPR card, proof of high school graduation diploma or GED, medical physical, background check, and complete an entrance physical test that includes a one-and-a-half mile run, push-ups, and an agility run.
While in the Academy, the cadets attend classes twice a week for four hours each evening and some occasional Saturdays. Some topics in the state-mandated curriculum include law (civil, constitutional, juvenile), courtroom testimony/mock trial, firearms (simulator and range), emergency vehicle operation, active shooter, subject control techniques, criminal investigation, and DUI. The Board on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Training (BLEOST) requires 307 hours for part-time officers and 200 hours for refreshers.
This class started on Aug. 10, 2021, and was completed with finals on June 6, with the group posting an academic average of 95. “It’s very rare in the Academy to have that type of average,” said Michael Street, Academy director and instructor, as he congratulated the students.
The highest firearm score award was given to Odom; Laird received the academic and physical fitness awards.
Additional Academy instructors include Jerry Bratu, William Brunelle, Greg Crain, Mark Chandlee, Eddie Larkin, Andy Matuszewski, Steve Robinson, and Karey Williams. Officials with the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation also contribute to the instruction.
Street told the audience that participating in the Academy is a commitment from the students and their families. “We thank you for stepping up and answering that call, for this is a calling,” he said.
In his keynote address, Mississippi Rep. Troy Smith told the graduates, “It is you who have been selected as guardian angels of our communities and cities to protect the public safety. Willingly you have accepted this commission.”
The next Academy will begin in August with the physical entrance test on July 23.