‘Every day you’ll be doing important work’
MCC cadets graduate from police academy
By Maria Allard
Carly Allen, of the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, right, receives her certificate from Academy Director Raymund Macksoud. Allen received the academic achievement award.
Posted May 23, 2017
MACOMB COUNTY — As National Police Week was observed May 14-20, a group of 41 Macomb Community College police cadets officially graduated during a commencement ceremony May 16 at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township.
The students completed a 17 1/2-week course as Class 101 at the college’s police academy. Several guest speakers, including Academy Director Raymund Macksoud, were on hand to honor the cadets as they move toward their next step in patrolling the streets.
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith served as the keynote speaker. His late father, Robert Smith, had once served as Clinton Township police chief.
“As I stand before all of you today and see many of you in uniform, I’m mindful of the things we take for granted. You see countries around the world where law and order are an obsolete idea,” Smith said. “Every day you’ll be doing important work. You’ll be helping your fellow American. I thank you for the commitment you’ve made.”
The perks will be few.
“You’ll sacrifice for the public with long hours, short pay and the continued intervention into the dark places of human (conditions). You’re not going to get a lot of applause for what you do. You’ll be in the middle of every domestic brawl. You’ll hear every doughnut joke. You’ll get hassled and sneered at,” Smith said. “You’ll hear about the thin blue line. I’ve seen it. My dad lived it.”
“When people are at their very worst, you’ll be at your very best,” Macksoud said as the ceremony wrapped up. Macksoud had just been in Washington, D.C., and said the White House was lit up in blue in honor of National Police Week. “We have your back. I’m sure you’ll make us proud.”
During the ceremony, several graduates were recognized as scholarship winners. Special awards also went to the following students: Deputy Carly Allen, of the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, received the academic achievement award; Deputy Robert Richard received the firearms proficiency award; and Troy Police Department Officer Steven Boussie received the physical training award and the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards outstanding performance award.
Many of the graduates have already been hired by local departments. Officer Owen Pash, for example, was scheduled to begin his first 12-hour shift at the Center Line Public Safety Department at 4 a.m. May 17, one day after graduation.
Pash, who earlier this year graduated from the fire academy at Oakland Community College, first aspired to become a police officer in the fourth grade. The school’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer was an influence.
“Ever since then, I couldn’t wait to do it,” Pash said. “I wanted to make a difference in life, no matter how small it might be. You get to see all types of people. Someone who is willing to do so much for so little … I don’t think there’s a more noble profession. I’m ready.”
Center Line Public Safety Director Paul Myszenski has no doubt that Pash will be an asset to the department.
“We were looking for someone to be a part of the community,” Myszenski said. “We were looking for dedication. He fit the criteria we have.”
Pash will undergo field training over the next three months with another officer to get acclimated to his new position.
There has been some negativity toward law enforcement nationwide over the last couple of years.
“It’s only a small minority that’s creating the problem. A lot of it comes from the media,” Myszenski said. He said the Center Line department does “a lot” to keep up the morale of staff. “We show them how to do things the right way and how to be successful.”
Brandon Wickersham, the son of Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, has been hired by the Chesterfield Township Police Department. He credits his dad; his mom, Pamela Weir; and his stepfather, Keith Weir, for all their support.
“I’m fortunate to follow in the large footsteps they’re leaving for me,” Wickersham, 23, said. “They’ve been huge role models in my life that helped me get to this career.”
Part of the academy training includes bookwork, firearms training and emergency vehicle operations.
“There is so much training,” Wickersham said. “They do the best to prepare us for whatever you might face. It’s the uncertainty that comes with this career. No day is the same. It’s always different.”
For Wickersham, stepping into his uniform for the first time “was an unbelievable feeling.” Chesterfield Township Police Chief Brad Kersten said the department has hired 13 cadets from the academy within the last three years.
Part-time MCC faculty member Darnell Blackburn gave the invocation, and James Disser played bagpipes as the graduates entered the auditorium before the commencement ceremony and exited after the ceremony.
About the author
Staff Writer Maria Allard covers the school districts of Center Line, Fitzgerald, Van Dyke, Warren Consolidated and Warren Woods, and Macomb Community College for the Warren Weekly newspaper. She also covers the City of Grosse Pointe Woods and the Grosse Pointe Public Schools System for the Grosse Pointe Times newspaper. Allard has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University, and she is in love with the Rolling Stones.
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