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Last Friday, there were 91 recruits who graduated from the Sheriff’s Training Academy and Regional Services (STARS) Center in Whittier, as Class #399. Of these recruits, 68 were male and 23 were female; 67 were Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriffs; 24 were Police Officers from the participating agencies of the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Investigations; and the El Monte, El Segundo, Gardena, Glendora, Inglewood, Los Angeles School, Monrovia, and Pasadena Police Departments.
Sandra Hutchens, Sheriff-Coroner of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, was the keynote speaker and delivered inspirational remarks to the graduates and their guests.
As part of the graduation, a badge-pinning ceremony was conducted, with the new Deputies and Officers receiving their badges from a family member or loved one. After receiving their certificates, the graduates were officially sworn in as peace officers by Sheriff John Scott.
In a special segment of the ceremony, Officer Matthew Rushton of the El Segundo Police Department was named the Honor Recruit. This award is given to the recruit who achieves the highest numerical average based upon leadership qualities, academics, marksmanship, and physical performance throughout the training period. Officer Matthew Rushton was also named the Academic Recruit for graduating with the highest academic scores.
As a unique point of interest, a mother-son duo attended and graduated Sheriff’s Academy Class #399 together. Deputy Gina Contreras and Deputy Jeremy Sepulveda were both employed with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as Custody Assistants, prior to attending the Sheriff’s Academy, and were happy to graduate together today.