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SEPTA Welcomes Newest Police Officers

Recently, fifteen police recruits from Philadelphia Police Academy Class 358 raised their right hands and were sworn in as the newest members of the SEPTA's Transit Police Department. The new officers will join the nearly 260 sworn officers currently assigned to serve and protect within the 2,200 square-mile SEPTA service area. The ceremony, held at Holy Family University, was packed with proud family members, friends and instructors of the recruits.

In addition to the SEPTA candidates, the class also included seven Temple University police recruits and an investigator from the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. Officer Tracy Thomas, from the Transit Police Department's Training Unit, reports that all SEPTA recruits train at the Philadelphia Police Department Academy. "Usually, our recruits train side by side with Philadelphia police recruits," said Thomas, "however, the city was not hiring police officers when this class started."

During the 30-week training course, the recruits received certification in defensive tactics, basic firearms, CPR and first aid. The curriculum, which consisted of 16 sections, also included academic and legal instruction in patrol procedures and operations, motor vehicle law enforcement, motor collision investigation, report writing, human relations and family crisis and handling arrested persons.

SEPTA Transit Police Chief Richard Evans noted that he was proud of the all the graduates of Class 358, but several recruits received special recognition.

Officer Damien DiPentino received the Leadership Award. DiPentino had been selected by the academy staff to be the platoon leader for Class 358 and serve as the class liaison.

With the highest over-all grade point average in the class, a 99.6, Officer Stephanos Goumas was the class valedictorian. Goumas gave the class address at the graduation ceremony.

Officer Darrell James was honored with the Firearms Marksmanship Award after earning a distinguished score or 96.4 out of a possible 100 on the bull's eye target. Officer James' father, Troy James Sr., an eight-year veteran of the SEPTA Transit Police Department, was in attendance and witnessed his son take the next steps towards a successful career in law enforcement.

The new officers will be assigned throughout the seven transit police patrol zones, and respond to emergencies, make quick decisions and address local issues while continuing to receive on-the-job training.

SEPTA Police Chief Richard Evans and the 15 newest members of the Transit Police Department.

Officer Damien DiPentino was selected by the academy staff to be Class 358's platoon leader.

Class valedictorian Officer Stephanos Goumas attained the highest over-all grade point average in the class.

Officer Darrell James holds his firearms marksmanship award, as his father, SEPTA Officer Troy James, Sr., step-mother Deena James and Chief Evans stand proudly with him.

The graduation ceremony was packed with proud family members and friends.