BUFFALO—Erie Community College celebrated its latest round of police officers and pre-employment candidates while awarding first-time scholarships to both a pre-employment candidate and two U.S. veterans at its Law Enforcement Training Academy's 122nd Basic Course for Police Officers graduation on Friday, December 20, 2013 inside ECC's City Campus Minnie Gillette Auditorium.
The graduating class included 32 candidates, including 10 officers, one investigator, and 21 pre-employment candidates. The graduating investigator and officers will continue on past their graduation into the New York State Office of the Attorney General (1); NYS University Police (UB) (1); Buffalo State College (1); and police departments in the City of Tonawanda (1), Village of Kenmore (2), and towns of Orchard Park (3) and West Seneca (3).
Angola native and pre-employment candidate Cody Catalano accepted the first Frederick Garrasi III Memorial Scholarship, named for former ECC student, safety officer and Town of Evans police officer who tragically lost his life in a May 2013 traffic accident. Garrasi had a tremendous impact on both ECC and the LETA program, and the award will serve to honor his memory.
Buffalo residents and U.S. veterans Jonathon Wagner and Antonio Torres received the program's $500 Law Enforcement Veterans scholarships. Wagner has served through two tours of duty (one in Afghanistan, one in Iraq), and Torres served four tours with Army Special Forces before taking his LETA class's reins as platoon leader.
Since 1946, Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state's SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC's faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership.