Shawn Wiley, Indian Police Academy Graduate Class 172, will be working for the Southern Ute Police Dept. Wiley will receive additional training in Ute culture, communications, geography and SUPD policies and procedures.
Class 172 Cadet, Laneese Wopsock (holding certificate), graduated from the Indian Police Academy in Artesia, N.M., on Thursday, Oct. 1. Wopsock will be working with the BIA Uintah & Ouray office in Fort Duchesne, Utah.
Photo Credit: courtesy Southern Ute Police Dept.
Photo Credit: courtesy U.S. Indian Police Academy
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Indian cadets graduate in historic ceremony

First class to complete training under Covid-19

The Office of Justice Services and the Bureau of Indian Affairs held a graduating ceremony for Class 172 at the U.S. Indian Police Academy in Artesia, N.M. on Thursday, Oct. 1

The ceremony was historically significant as this is the first complete Basic Indian Police Class to graduate, in the 53 years of existence, from the Indian Police Academy under strict Covid-19 restrictions. No families or guests were allowed to be in attendance, only police academy staff and dignitaries, were allowed in person, to witness the graduates receive their certificates and awards.

The 41 graduates trained in real-life scenarios during the 13-week training; preparing the cadets to go to work in law enforcement.

Normally, cadets would be given liberties on weekends, allowed to travel off campus, visit family, etc., however due to Covid-19 restrictions the class of 172 was restricted to the academy for the duration, cutting the normally 16-week training to 13 weeks.

Lt. Lane Adams was the emcee for the one and half hour ceremony, that could be viewed live online through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center’s website.

Director of the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs, Charles Attington said to the graduates, “You are protectors of the first peoples of this land. To protect your people in Indian Country.”

Director Attington is an enrolled member of Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and spoke to the graduates during the ceremony.

Cadets were recognized and received special awards from Primary Instructor, Lt. Allen Anderson, who is an enrolled member of the Hopi tribe.

Among those awarded were Shawn Wiley, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who will be working for the Southern Ute Police Department (SUPD) in Ignacio, Colo.

Wiley was one of four cadets recognized as a Squad Leader for insuring class cadets completed weekly missions. Wiley is also a Marine Corps. Veteran and had been employed by the Southern Ute Detention Center before being hired by SUPD.

Other awards were given for Highest Academic Average, Fitness Achievement Award, Guidon Bearer, Distinguished Firearms and Excellence in Driving Award.

Ute Mountain Ute tribal member, Leneese Wopsock was one of 16 who received the Excellence in Driving Award, as did Shawn Wiley.

Wopsock, of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Uintah and Ouray Agency (U&O) in Fort Duchesne, Utah, is the daughter of Sal Wopsock, an enrolled member of the Northern Ute Tribe and Stephanie Price an enrolled member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Wopsock also served in the Marine Corps after graduating high school in 2015.

Other graduates that will be working for Ute Tribes are Adrian Lewis, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Ute Mountain Ute Agency in Towaoc, Colo., and Avril Logan, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Uintah and Ouray Agency in Fort Duchesne, Utah.

Soon to be Director of the Office of Law Enforcement and Security at the Department of the Interior, Robert MacLean was the Keynote Speaker and said in closing of the graduation ceremony, “You [cadets] came in as individuals, but you will leave here unified in vision. Unified in the core values, honor, integrity and service – you will leave as a team.”

“So watch your six, always watch your back, and watch your 12 – always watch what’s ahead of you,” MacLean said.

Full-time law enforcement officers, instructors design and deliver training specific for 201 Indian Country Justice Services needs for police officers, criminal investigators, correctional officers, command staff, and telecommunication equipment operators.

The Indian Police Academy offers significant training opportunities in partnership with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Artesia, N.M., and Glynco, Georgia.

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