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Alabama Department of Corrections hold graduation ceremony

The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) held a graduation ceremony for Corrections Class 2019-03 on Thursday at the Alabama Criminal Justice Academy Training Center (ACJATC) Auditorium.

Forty-one members with diverse backgrounds and ranging from ages 20 to 48 were officially welcomed into the ADOC. The ADOC expects to graduate dozens of correctional officer trainees (COTs) to Alabama Peace Officer Standard Training Certified (APOSTC) — standards for official certification as Alabama’s newest law enforcement officers.

Stanford Robinson, ADOC Director of Education, Programs, and Re-entry, delivered the commencement address. The 28-year veteran of the federal government, including the Army, advised the graduates to focus on their roles as correctional officers.

“When you arrive at your facility, learn how it operates, ask a lot of questions and find out how to do things right,” Robinson said. “Remember everyone at the Correctional Facility deserves your respect, from educators, food services and Administration.

“There’s a lot of people in our agency that help keeps the public safe. You’re part of 420,000 correctional officers across the country doing the impossible: working night shifts, weekend shifts and holiday shifts. It’s a 24-7, 365 days a year job without any fanfare. We’re a vital part of the law enforcement community.”

Class President Kobie Smith thanked the Academy Training Staff for keeping the Class together. The group started with 52 candidates and wound up losing 11, which Smith said could’ve been much less.

“The training staff shouldered the burden with us and weathered the same conditions,” Smith said. “When we struggled, the training staff never let us fall behind. For doing that, we are extremely grateful.”

Smith also challenged his 40 graduating classmates to “always maintain gratitude, stay grounded and set specific goals.”

Class leaders were recognized during the ceremony: Kobie Smith, President; Mary Smith, Secretary; Diamond Collins, Chaplain; Justin Strickland, Guidiron Bearer; Billy Davis Jr., Cadence Caller; Fretiri Hamilton, First Squad Leader; William Wilson, Second squad leader, Anthony Thompson, Third Squad leader; Cortell Campbell, Fourth Squad Leader.