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'You just keep pushing through': Carroll County training academy graduates 29 officers and deputies

The 29 members of Class 2 of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Training Academy entered the auditorium of Winters Mill High School as recruits, and left as officers and deputies of seven law enforcement agencies throughout Maryland.

Recruits began training Sept. 10 and endured 28 weeks of training based out of the former North Carroll High School.

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Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees thanked the members of his office and all those who work to make the training academy possible. He also thanked the gathered chiefs and sheriffs of other jurisdictions for trusting the academy to train their newest members.

“I’m honored that you felt comfortable with what we put together, and I’m convinced that your new officers and deputies will make a positive impact on your jurisdiction.”

He advised the newest graduates that “the sooner you realize that the heartbeat of your community is the people in it, the more rewarding and prosperous your career will be.”

He told them he is confident they have been trained well and have what it takes for a career in law enforcement, and highlighted the importance of the support of their friends and families through both success and failure.

Elaine Miller, member of the Ocean City Police Department and president of the class, looked back on moments in the weeks of training that ranged from exciting to painful to funny.

Through the strenuous days, a common goal brought them together, she said. She thanked their instructors, friends and family who serve as their support system.

Many of those support systems included family members and friends who were also law enforcement officers, and some joined the ceremony to pin badges on the graduates.

Fourteen graduates will join the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, five will join the Ocean City Police Department, five will join the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, two will join the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office, one will join the Boonsboro Police Department, one will join the Thurmont Police Department and one will join the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Deputy Kyle Dedmon said he decided he wanted to join the training academy after working as a dispatcher in the county for two and a half years. After speaking more with deputies and doing a ridealong, he decided it was the path for him.

His instructors instilled in the class to never give up, no matter the circumstances, he said.

“That’s what all the training is about,” Dedmon said. Born and raised in Carroll, he graduated from Francis Scott Key High School.

Deputy Valerie Mizansky joined the training academy after graduating from college with a degree in criminal justice, and is working toward a career as a detective.

“Starting as a deputy is the first step to achieving my goals,” she said. She and her fellow recruits were Tased, gassed and pepper-sprayed in the course of the 28 weeks.

“You don't think you can get through it, but with the help of your classmates and instructors, you do,” she said.

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The campus of the former North Carroll High School where the recruits train must have been familiar to her — she graduated from high school there.

Deputy Gregory Harris was a teenager when he decided to pursue law enforcement. The auditorium of Winters Mill was familiar to him because he graduated from the school.

“I knew I wanted to be a public servant and serve my community,” he said.

Persistence was an important part of the training.

“You just [have] the the thought in your head that says ‘This is hard.’ You just keep pushing through,” he said.

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