Marine academy graduates police

Eight new civilian officers will head to Camp Lejeune
May 16, 2008 - 11:55PM
LINDELL KAY
DAILY NEWS STAFF

The first of 1,200 new civilian police officers that will be working Marine Corps installations on the East Coast graduated from a new police academy Friday - eight of them headed to Camp Lejeune.

After a stringent hiring process and a rigorous nine weeks of training, the first class of the East Coast Regional Marine Corps Police Academy graduated at the Officers' Club aboard Camp Lejeune. They are preparing to join Marines in provost marshal's offices on Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point and Blount Island, Fla.

"You are the vanguard," keynote speaker Raymond F. Geoffroy, assistant deputy commandant of plans, policies and operations told the graduating class. "As you go, we go."

Geoffroy told the 21 new PMO police officers that they now represent not only themselves and what they have learned, but the entire Marine Corps.

"You are serving and protecting 300,000 Marines and family members," he said.

The Marine Corps established the academy to train qualified candidates and turn them into civilian police officers in an effort to reduce the operational stress on military police and enhance security and police services aboard military installations.

James Hayes, a husband and father of three from Fayetteville, said the new program is his chance to merge the two things he has been good at: the military and law enforcement.

"I was in the Army for six and a half years and worked as a police officer," he said after the graduation ceremony.

He has been working the last few years as a company police officer with Wackenhutt Inc.

"This is my chance to get back into police work," he said.

Now that he has completed the course, Hayes said he will move his family to Jacksonville.

The first class is a mixture of civilians with law enforcement experience and prior military; 60 percent are former Marines.

Some of the graduates fit both billets. Retired Lt. Col. Michael Kerrigan worked in the PMO at Cherry Hill and then spent 16 years in civilian law enforcement.

"I was with the Dallas Police Department and then worked in Virginia," he said.

Due to his level of experience, Kerrigan will be joining Camp Lejeune's PMO as a major.

"I think this will really work," he said. "These are good people, many of them former Marines and most of them former military."

Camp Lejeune is the first major military base to add civilian officers to its military police academy.

During the nine-week training, candidates learned patrol techniques, crime scene processing, traffic stops, accident investigation, interviews and interrogations, response to alarms, weapons qualifications, defensive first aid and other law enforcement activities.

Contact crime reporter Lindell Kay at lkay@freedomenc.com or 910-554-8534. Read Lindell's blog at http://onslowcrime.encblogs.com.

Ellie