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OJC Press Release ID: 2598

Thursday, December 1, 2016

OJC Graduates 38th Law Enforcement Academy Class

On November 23, the 38th class of the Otero Junior College Law Enforcement Academy gathered with family and friends to celebrate the completion of a difficult 15 weeks of learning and training.

Miner Blackford, OJC Law Academy director, welcomed guests and provided thanks to the families of the graduates. He explained that without the excellent work they did in raising and supporting the graduates, these students would not have had what it took to succeed in the program.

OJC President Jim Rizzuto added his thanks to the families and instructors and wished the graduates the best and most successful of careers.

Student speaker Jeremy Leisure addressed his classmates just prior to the presentation of certificates: 

“First I would like to thank all the family friends and loved ones for being here today. Without all your support, we would not be here. Fifteen weeks ago, we started one amazing adventure, we have endured things we never thought we would have the fortitude to do. Some of us overcame fears and some of us sharpened the tools that we already had. Today is a joyous day for not only us, but the thin blue line that we have chosen to uphold.

Within the 15 weeks of being at the academy, we all overcame some sort of obstacle whether it be muscling up enough courage to drive 50 miles an hour in reverse, or the 5 seconds of shock therapy at 50,000 volts. Let’s not forget the hours of PPCT, the 2000 rounds at the range or the dousing of devils spit they call OC. All the obstacles placed in our way were learning and teaching moments. Each step we took we learned more about others as well as ourselves. No matter the situation, we know we will succeed we know we will win. We know we will come out on top.

This experience was challenging and stressful, but with this group of people there was never a dull moment. Whether it was the great Wookie battle call, or the famous ‘seizure seizure’ war cry. Man, those were great moments. We need to thank Naomi for supplying power rings, aka doughnuts, just about every weekend. We all became better cops because of you. Garrett, I have never seen someone so energetic to get sprayed with the devil’s spit, and the class thanks you for bleeding all over them on multiple occasions. Knife fighting class was never dull, we will never forget how Fish threw Moose through the wall. Miner, if there’s any structural damage I’m sure they’re sorry. Talking about damage, thank you Cunningham for not following Lincoln County tradition and not shooting the patrol car, but somehow you turned a Glock to a full auto, that’s impressive. We spent many nights at the basketball court. Those were great times. Gerlach, aka GI Jordan, no one knows how you made half the shots you did. Finally, Christian, no one could pull off the ninja turtle driver’s suit as well as you did. Who could forget moments of pure magic who knew learning some of the most complex algebra could be so easy to learn, pure magic I tell ya. We will never forget these moments.

We owe a great deal of thanks to our instructors. None of this would have been possible without them. Whether we knew it or not, they pushed us to become better at every turn. We cannot thank you enough for the sacrifices you all have made. You gave up time with your families, took time off work, some even skipped social outings. We thank you so much! A huge thank you goes out to Miner Blackford. Without you none of this would be possible, we wouldn’t have instructors, materials, but most of all, we wouldn’t have the knowledge you provided. Our last thank you goes out to all the spouses, children, and other loved ones that kept the home a home and functioning properly while we were gone, as well as supported us each step of the way. When days got tough, you were the ones to keep us motivated. We can never thank you enough.

To all my fellow graduates, as we embark on our next journey, we must always remember, every single day you will have the ability to protect the weak and vulnerable. And you will. Every single day you will have the chance to fight crime and foster hope. And you should. Every single day you will be called upon to be courageous. And you must. Today the thin blue line got a little bit deeper.  Blessed are the peace makers for they will be called the children of god. Thank you.”

Graduates in this class included: Jeremy Leisure, Sterling; Dustin Cunningham, Limon; Coty Smith, Trinidad; Christian Genereux, Sterling; Shalynn Martinez, Lamar; Dustin Fisher, Sterling; Naomi Martinez, Rocky Ford; Wayne Gerlach, Sterling; Cody Phillips, Springfield; and Garrett Meister, La Junta.

Following the ceremony, graduates, family and guests enjoyed refreshments and photos.

Registration is open for the Spring 2017 academy session.  For more information on the program, contact Miner Blackford at or (719) 384-6867.

Press Release Photo
The Fall 2016 OJC Law Enforcement Academy graduates are: Back Row L to R: Jeremy Leisure, Sterling; Dustin Cunningham, Limon; Coty Smith, Trinidad; and Christian Genereux, Sterling. Middle Row L to R: Shalynn Martinez, Lamar; Dustin Fisher, Sterling; Miner Blackford, OJC; and Naomi Martinez, Rocky Ford. Front Row L to R: Wayne Gerlach, Sterling; Cody Phillips, Springfield; and Garrett Meister, La Junta.