Monday, January 23, 2017

Southern Ohio Police Training Institute cadets celebrate graduation milestone

Four students from Southern Ohio Police Training Institute class BAS 16-044 celebrated a milestone on Jan. 20, 2017 in their journey to becoming certified peace officers in the state of Ohio, by graduating from the rigorous course.

At the culmination of nearly six months of coursework, studying, physical tests, and challenging scenarios, Erikka Martinez, Bryant Gibson, Conner Smith and Jesse Kontras, accepted their certificates for the completion of the SOPTI program.

First year commander Terri Mikesh, touted their accomplishments during the formal graduation ceremony held in Ohio University Chillicothe’s Stevenson Center.

“I congratulate our graduates on their tremendous achievement,” said Mikesh. “The academy is extremely challenging, requiring cadets to balance nearly 700 hours or SOPTI class time and outside study time with their own family and work commitments. It takes someone who is driven and focused, committed to doing the hard work required to succeed. These graduates have demonstrated that type of commitment.”

Numerous distinguished guests, family and friends joined OUC and SOPTI faculty, staff and instructors to celebrate the cadets’ accomplishments.

Executive Director of SOPTI, Dr. James McKean, addressed the graduating class during the ceremony offering words of advice for the future.

“Toady’s officers are challenged to work in an increasingly culturally diverse environment that is socially complex, that requires an even higher level of critical thinking and problem solving skills than officers in my day,” said McKean. “But rather than view these challenges as obstacles, I encourage BAS 16-044 to view them as opportunities to demonstrate the spirit of public service, dedication to your communities and commitment to your profession instilled in you by your instructors.”

In addition to receiving formal certificates for course completion, Mikesh presented awards for overall academic achievement, driving, firearms proficiency and a commander’s award for outstanding performance throughout the program. Smith took home three of the four awards for driving, academic achievement and the commander’s award. Gibson was the recipient of the “Top Gun” award for firearms proficiency.
SOPTI is a Basic Peace Officer Training program that is conducted in strict compliance to all rules and regulations prescribed by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. Cadets gain exposure to and conduct hands on training in traffic enforcement, field sobriety, firearms qualification, subject control, ethical decision making and physical readiness among numerous other blocks of instruction.

SOPTI will begin its next class with a new cohort of cadets in late Spring. For more information on the program, visit or contact Commander Mikesh at or 740-774-7286.

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