According to a release issued by (MCCC), 33 police cadets graduated from the school's Municipal Police Academy on March 21 during a ceremony held at the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike in Blue Bell. Two of those cadets – Kimberly Giovinco and Shayne Smith – are Norristown residents.
Cadet Richard Gensler, Holland, Pa., was named Valedictorian; Lt. Christopher Johnson, of Ambler, earned the Leadership Award; and Cpl. John Rushin, of Mt. Pocono, earned the Sgt. James R. Miller Marksmanship award. Lansdale's Sgt. John Horgan was recognized with the Spirit of Distinction Award for his teamwork, discipline, dedication and leadership.
During the ceremony, the McGowan family presented the first Chief John J. McGowan III Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $2,500 to Richard Gensler.
“You set the bar high,” said John J. McGowan IV, about Gensler’s application essay, which describes how he wants to protect and serve the community as a police officer.
Widow Karen McGowan, accompanied by her son Scott McGowan and his wife Malissa, and son John McGowan IV and his wife Kimberly with their sons Jack and Finn, was pleased to award the scholarship.
“It was a lot of work to raise the money to make this a reality,” she said. “But, dreams come true. I am sure that John is looking down and smiling now.”
Chief McGowan started his law enforcement career in 1974 with the Lower Moreland Police Department. While working there, he graduated from the FBI National Academy and earned his master’s degree in Criminal Justice from St. Joseph’s University.
After his retirement in 1992, he became the police chief and public safety director for East Norriton Township, a position he held until June 18, 2010, when he was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident.
In addition to his law enforcement career, McGowan was an academic instructor in the Criminal Justice program at Montgomery County Community College. He also served as past president of the Montgomery County Police Chiefs’ Association and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association and was instrumental in establishing the Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center.
The ceremony also featured guest speakers 2011 Academy graduate Emily J. Hopkins and FBI Special Agent/Academy Instructor Scott Duffy. Newly appointed Chief County Detective Edmund H. Justice of Montgomery County was also in attendance.
Both Academy Director Frank A. Williar and Deputy Director Charles O. Pritchett praised Class 1104 for their teamwork, dedication and overall stellar performance.
Montgomery County Community College, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus in Conshohocken.