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Seven Deputies With the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office Graduate From Criminal Justice Academy

Sheriff Lawhorne congratulated (left to right) Deputy Shawn Harden, Deputy Djibril Sorgho, Deputy Mary Jo Cummings, Deputy Cole Masterson, Deputy Nazirullah Qazei, Deputy Junius Smith and Deputy DeVon Williams at their respective graduation ceremonies. (Photo: Courtesy Alexandria Sheriff’s Office)

ALEXANDRIA, VA  Earlier today, the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office (ASO) announced that seven deputies are now graduates of the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy (NVCJTA) in Ashburn, Virginia.

The graduates are: Deputy Mary Jo Cummings; Deputy Shawn Harden; Deputy Cole Masterson; Deputy Nazirullah Qazei; Deputy Junius Smith; Deputy Djibril Sorgho; and Deputy DeVon Williams.

“Even with the challenges they faced due to the pandemic, members of Session 142 proved they could adapt and succeed,” said Sheriff Dana Lawhorne. “I admire their flexibility, resourcefulness and determination, and I congratulate our new deputies and all their classmates on this achievement.”

For the last six months, deputies have been trained and tested in a variety of areas, including emergency vehicle operations, firearms safety, de-escalation techniques, and jail and courthouse procedures. After completion of training in Ashburn, all deputies had field training with the ASO before taking permanent assignments.

It should be noted that academy training, in some cases, was modified because of the coronavirus pandemic. For example, sessions were held with smaller groups.

Graduation looked much different this year as well. Smaller ceremonies were held at the academy on three different dates instead of the usual larger event. At each ceremony, graduates were treated to a recorded keynote address by Dennis Butler, who is the current director of the police department in Riley County, Kansas.

Butler served with the Alexandria Police Department for many years, leaving there with the rank of captain. He also graduated from and taught at NVCJTA.

Congratulations to all of the graduates!

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Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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