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Deputy academy graduates 43

Sheriff inspects, welcomes them to LASD's ranks

Posted: July 18, 2008 12:25 a.m.
Updated: September 18, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Members of Sheriff's Academy Class No. 372 stand at parade rest during Thursday's graduation ceremony at the College of the Canyons. Forty-three deputies and officers graduated from the program.

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They served in several military campaigns worldwide. Now they want to serve their communities.

Sheriff Lee Baca presented Sheriff's Academy Class No. 372 at College of the Canyons on Thursday evening, as 43 recruits completed their training and prepared for new careers as deputies or officers.

Friends and family looked on as the recruits filed in to the parking lot just outside the college's Performing Arts Center, where Baca personally inspected and congratulated each graduate.

Moments later, as loved ones filled the seats of the Performing Arts Center, the 43 graduates descended the stairs to the front of the hall as fellow graduate Shawn Rodriguez sang a Marine Corps hymn.

"My goal was to be a Marine and an officer," he said as he anxiously waited backstage moments before he took the microphone to sing his hymn. "Today, I've achieved both."

As a Marine, Rodriguez served in Iraq in 2003 and Djibouti in 2006. He will begin his law enforcement career at Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic.

"As soon as I came back home, I immediately went into training to be an officer (of the law)," he said.

Rodriguez's story was shared by the 42 men and women who sang with him as he recited the Marine Corps hymn he rewrote for the graduates' grand entrance.

The new deputies and officers served on many fronts worldwide, from the Middle East to South America, the sub-Saharan desert to the Asian forests.

Among the graduates were four female and 31 male county sheriff's deputies, plus eight male police officers from the Beverly Hills, Burbank, Culver City and Glendale police departments.

As part of the graduation ceremony, various officers and deputies were honored for their military and/or law enforcement service. A badge-pinning ceremony also took place, with the graduates receiving their badges from a family member or loved one. After receiving their graduation certificates, they were officially sworn in as peace officers by Baca.

Saugus resident Jason Viger, a new deputy of the Sheriff's Department, was named the Honor Recruit for Class No. 372, an award given to the recruit who achieves the highest numerical average based upon leadership qualities, academics, marksmanship and physical performance throughout the training period.

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