The twelve cadets of Florida Keys Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement academies #60 and #61 not only graduated on Friday, but also ceremonially began new careers as law enforcement officers.  A graduation ceremony was held at the San Carlos Institute to celebrate the students’ completion of the rigorous 770-hour training program.  Additionally, all of the students also passed the state certification exam to become Florida Law Enforcement Officers prior to the ceremony.

The Key West Police Department (KWPD) sponsored five cadets through the academy, who were sworn in as officers by KWPD Chief Donie Lee during the event.  The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office also sponsored five cadets, who were presented with pins by Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

Cathy Torres, Director of FKCC’s Institute for Public Safety, recognized the best and the brightest of the class with special accolades.  Ian Douthirt was recognized for providing leadership and Jay Conaty was recognized for academic achievement.  The coveted “PIG” award was presented to Christopher Schwartz for “demonstrating pride, integrity, and guts.”  Eric Viergutz was named “Top Gun” for his superior shooting skills.

FKCC’s BLE program satisfies the training requirements of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission.  FKCC is currently accepting applications for two Basic Law Enforcement academies.  One part-time, evening academy will be held will be held at the College’s Upper Keys Center in Tavernier beginning in August while another will be offered at the Key West Campus beginning in January.  For more information about FKCC’s Institute for Public Safety, visit