The Delaware Department of Correction hosted a graduation for 16 cadets from the basic officer training course on Dec. 21.

Eight will join the DOC family as probation officers and five as correctional counselors, and three community corrections officers gained certification in the community weapons program. The newest graduates will join Delaware’s largest law enforcement agency with a strength of more than 2,000 sworn officers.

Among the graduating cadets were Al Hake, of Dover; Blair Rogers, of Milford; Jeffrey Weaver, of Middletown; Marcelle Crist, of Chichester, Pennsylvania; Matthew Gialloreto, of West Grove, Pennsylvania; and Franklin Johnson, of Williamstown, New Jersey.

The ceremony included remarks from DOC Commissioner Perry Phelps, Chaplain Gus Christo, Training Administrator Jodie Hunter, Primary Instructor Eric Eldridge and class speaker Al Hake. The Delaware State Police Pipes and Drums were also present and helped welcome the cadets in front of family and friends. Among the topics addressed during the 14-week academy are conditions of supervision, offender assessments, victim services, weapons training, defensive tactics, offender contact, substance abuse training and CPR/basic first aid.

Phelps congratulated the graduates and provided words of encouragement to the group as they embark upon their law enforcement career.

“As a probation officer, you will wear multiple hats. In any given week, you will be a coach, a counselor, a teacher and an enforcer of rules,” said Phelps. “Treat the men and women you encounter with dignity and respect. Know that you are in a position to change lives every day of your career.”