Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Training Academy held a graduation ceremony for 20 law enforcement officers from six area agencies at the academy headquarters in Plain Dealing Friday.
Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington hosted the class as recruits from BPSTA Class 023 completed nearly 16 weeks of training to officially become P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards and Training) law enforcement officers, learning a myriad of skills, including legal issues, weapons qualifications, physical fitness, non-lethal force, officer survival skills, and much more. They will report to their respective agencies for assignments and follow-on training.
Chief Deputy Duane Huddleston of the Bossier Sheriff’s Office congratulated the graduates for earning the right to wear the uniform of a law enforcement officer, an achievement with great respect…which didn’t come easy.
“None of us knew that as (the year) progressed, we would deal with COVID-19, killer hornets, the unfortunate tragedy with George Floyd, social unrest, wildfires, and now an election that’s still up in the air,” Chief Huddleston commented. “Who knew that this is what we would face? But in spite of all that…in spite of all the craziness of 2020, you have decided to answer the call…to be that group, the next generation of guardians that stands in between the unfortunate evil in this world and the good people that you have sworn to protect.”
The guest speaker was Army Maj. Constantin Rieger, Commander of the Alpha Company, 1st BN, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Ky. He was born in Bossier City, but moved away with his family early in his life and has traveled the globe serving our country for the cause of freedom. He is a friend to law enforcement and has assisted Bossier Sheriff’s Office over the years.
“We both raised our right hands in an oath to serve…the difference is you actually serve the citizens of your community,” said Maj. Rieger. “And this is why I sincerely thank you for your service. Your willingness to serve and protect the citizens of your own communities in such tumultuous times as the chief spoke about in our nation’s history…it speaks more about you than you’ll ever know.”
The academy staff comprises director Capt. Sarah Rhodes and staff – Lt. Clint Robins, Lt. Robert Teague, Lt. Mickey Rellin, Sgt. Jeremy Haas, Sgt. Joey Bowen, Dep. Bruce Teutsch, Dep. Al Langley, Dep. Kenny Viola, and Miss Laurel Nerren.
Lt. Robins presented four academy awards to the recruits:
- Physical Fitness Award – Deputy Blake Hines, Bossier Sheriff’s Office
- Firearms Proficiency Award – Deputy Sebron Grice, Bossier Sheriff’s Office
- Academic Award – Deputy Joseph West, Bossier Sheriff’s Office
- Honor Graduate Award – Deputy Joseph West, Bossier Sheriff’s Office
The graduating class of BPSTA Class 023 is:
Bossier City Police Department
Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office
Grambling State University Police Department
Haughton Police Department
Many Police Department (* Refresher)
Minden Police Department
Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office
The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Training Academy, formerly known as the North Louisiana Criminal Justice Academy, held its first graduation in 2009. Over the past 11 years, instructors have trained about 500 recruits to become POST-certified law enforcement officers. BPSTA Class 024 begins training on Jan. 8, 2021.