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2017 SOPTI Cadets TAM9305
December 12, 2017 : SOPTI Graduates


The Ohio University Chillicothe Southern Ohio Police Training Institute (SOPTI) recently learned that the 2017 class has a 100% state certification pass rate for the nine cadets who graduated from the program on November 3.   The state certification exam, administered by the Ohio Peace Officers Training Commission, certifies cadets who have graduated from an Ohio police training academy for employment as a peace officers with Ohio police departments or similar agencies.  The 200 question, multiple choice exam is typically administered two weeks following academy graduation.  In order to successfully graduate from the program, cadets must complete over 700 hours of both classroom based and practical education in topics including administration, legal issues, human relationships, firearms, driving, subject control, first aid, patrol, civil disorders, traffic, investigation homeland security, physical assessments, and more.  This year's OUC class was led by SOPTI Commander Terri Mikesh.

SOPTI Commander Mikesh is still relatively new the position after stepping into the role in May 2016.  Her first academy began that July and ended in November with seven graduates.   As with any change of leadership, her first year was not without challenges as she quickly had to evaluate the curriculum to assure it was up to state standards and find instructors to teach each unit.   With her second class, Mikesh found that her acceptance and graduation rates increased.  This year's class was the first class where eligible cadets were able to use veteran's benefits to pay for their program tuition.  Of the nine graduates, two took advantage their veteran’s benefits and graduated.  Mikesh hopes this incentive will encourage more veterans to apply to the program in future years.  This year's class included cadets from Ross, Pike, Jackson, and Pickaway counties and ranged in age from nearly 21-years-old to over 40-years-old.  While all nine graduates in this year's class are male, one female cadet, sidelined by an injury during the academy, is expected to complete the required hours, graduate, and pass the state certification exam in the coming months.

To gain acceptance into the program potential cadets must meet several qualifications.  In addition to having a high school diploma or GED, students must be at least 20.5-years-old, have a valid driver's license, and pass a background check as well as a drug screen, a medical assessment, and physical fitness exam.  Once these requirements are met and proper paperwork is submitted, selected potential cadets must meet with Commander Mikesh for an interview.  From there, each year's class is chosen and will spend approximately 25 hours a week training together for five to six months or until the minimum number of required hour is met.  This commitment is not only felt by the cadets but by their families as well who must support the cadets on this journey.  

This year's class was noted for its camaraderie.  Throughout the institute, Mikesh recalled the thoughtful ways the cadets would encourage one another as they formed a tight bond with their fellow cadets.  "This was an exceptional class," Mikesh remarked. "Their camaraderie, their closeness, and their desire to see each other succeed was tremendous."  Mikesh also commented on the eagerness of the class to learn.  "From an instructor point of view it is really fun to work with students who have such a desire to learn," Mikesh said.  Though graduation just occurred and the cadets just took their board certification exams, some cadets have already been offered jobs. One cadet will soon start with the Jackson County Sheriff's office while another cadet will serve as a Chillicothe Reserve Police Office.  Another has landed a position with the Pike County Sheriff's Office and yet others will begin their law enforcement careers as auxiliary officers within local police departments. "I am incredibly proud of this class," Mikesh said.  "The class was special. The career path they have chosen is extremely challenging and dangerous but extremely rewarding too. The cadets from this class will have successful careers."

Next year's SOPTI class recruitment is currently underway.  With an anticipated started date of April 2018, applications are being accepted and interviews have begun.  Those interested should contact Commander MiKesh at 740-774-7286 or visit the OUC SOPTI Website.