STC fire and police cadets celebrate end of an ‘exceptional’ year

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Texas Border Business

South Texas College celebrates a remarkable year for its Fire and Police Academies.  Despite learning challenges stemming from the current COVID-19 pandemic, eight out of nine Fire Academy students passed their licensure exam, and all seven police cadets from the 18th Academy Class passed their Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) Licensure Exam in order to become peace officers with the state. 

MCALLEN, TEXAS (June 23, 2020) – A tremendous amount of collaboration at South Texas College’s Fire and Police Academies are driving exceptional success for students.

Through teamwork, STC is celebrating its two groundbreaking classes of fire and police cadets who have made this year among the best ever for the college. Students persevered even as the college went fully online due to the COVID-19 pandemic mid-semester.  

This year, eight out of nine students with the Fire Academy passed their Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) licensing exam, a remarkable achievement, according to leaders with the department.

“These students worked so hard during this challenging semester,” said Sara Lozano, point of contact for the Division of Business, Public Safety, and Technology. “Our community really needs to hear about the wonderful things South Texas College is accomplishing.”  

Despite learning challenges stemming from the current COVID-19 pandemic, all seven police cadets from the 18thAcademy Class passed their Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) Licensure Exam in order to become peace officers with the state.  

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Police students completed the course under unique circumstances, having to adjust for a curriculum that included traditional instruction and online instruction, according to academy instructors. 

STC worked with the City of Pharr and Hidalgo County to ensure that all safety measures were implemented so students could return to the classroom to complete their training.  

“This was in itself a remarkable feat for a historically traditional licensing course,” said Robert Vela Jr., program chair for the South Texas College Police and Fire Academies. “Faculty and staff with STC made the transition with ease, and helped make the student’s dream of becoming a Texas certified peace officer real today.”

The class of cadets successfully completed STC’s part-time academy which met Monday through Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for 44 weeks. The academy consisted of intensive classroom instruction, and hours of rigorous real-world simulation training. The STC Police Academy consists of two academic routes including an Associate Degree in Law Enforcement and a Basic Peace Officer Certificate.

STC has been training police officers since Sept. 3, 2012. The academy is both physically and academically challenging. They must take 32 chapter exams and six comprehensive exams. Admission to the STC Police Academy is highly competitive, requiring all applicants to pass polygraph tests, physical fitness tests, background checks and other standards, such as medical and psychological screening.

“We are extremely proud of the achievements of these Police Academy students,” Lozano said. “Even under normal circumstances, we would be honoring them, but given the challenges that our community is facing, these students were able to achieve a huge victory. 

“This took a tremendous amount of collaboration from everyone, not only within our institution, but within the community. The City of Pharr and Hidalgo County were very helpful in ensuring our students and staff were safe to return to campus to complete their semester, our campus administrators implemented the Safety Guidelines, and the faculty worked directly with the students to prepare them for their exams. Our students’ success is the result of  this great teamwork,” Lozano said.

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