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Academy graduates told not to take shortcuts with the law

June 18, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Two days of classroom firearms training, eight days on the range, 2,000 fired rounds and 14 blisters later, Patrick J. Kemmerer Sr. came out the best shot in his seven-member Western Maryland Police Academy class.

Kemmerer won the academy's Firearms Proficiency award, but the entire class all had reason to hold their heads up Friday.

The group became the academy's 38th class to graduate, after spending six months training for the police force.

The ceremony was at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater.

Kemmerer was hired by the Washington County Sheriff's Department, along with fellow graduates Bryan M. Glines and Ryan L. Socks.

Graduates Gary M. Anderson and Timothy M. Culp were hired by the Hagerstown Police Department, and Brian K. Shaffer and Scott L. Wolff work for the Taneytown (Md.) Police Department.

In addition to the Firearms Proficiency award, Kemmerer received the Scholastic Achievement award for earning a 99.1 grade-point average and the Class Sergeant award.

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Culp won the Physical Fitness award and Socks won the Police Driving Skills award.

Capt. Charles R. Summers, acting chief of the Hagerstown Police Department, said the new officers will face exciting and rewarding days.

But they also will face numerous challenges as they are out on the streets dealing with people "at the worst of their times," Summers said.

He asked the families of the new graduates to understand should the officers return home from the job feeling hardened or cynical.

"What they need from you is a compassionate ear," explaining that police officers often see on a daily basis what some people wouldn't experience in a lifetime, Summers said.

David T. Yohman, associate professor of administration and justice at Hagerstown Community College, urged the new officers to make ethical decisions and to never "take the shortcut with the law."

"You are responsible for your actions, and you are accountable for your decisions," Yohman said. "Make the right decisions even when no one is looking ... As a citizen, we look to you to treat us fairly even when we don't deserve it."

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