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LEEP Award grad welcomed back to Lapeer

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: February 4, 2021

Photo courtesy of LERTA
LERTA graduate Chris Keller received the LEEP Award at the Dec. 23 graduation.

By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

Law Enforcement Regional Training Academy (LERTA) graduate Chris Keller is returning to his roots in a sense, but not before making his mark as a standout cadet.

Keller was recognized for his achievements receiving an $800 Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Award. The 22-year-old led the class with a 95.93% grade point average. He was among four pre-service cadets in a graduating class of 13 on Dec. 23. He also obtained his bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from Saginaw Valley State University.

“… Recruit Keller is also receiving the Scholastic Award for the highest-grade point average in this class,” said LERTA Director Lt. David Livingston during the graduation. “Recruit Keller also received a Marksmanship Award for the best shooter in this class.”

Cadets had more than the usual challenges. During the academy, one of the cadets contracted COVID-19, but after successful quarantine, classes resumed. Following COVID-19 restrictions, the academy conducted a virtual graduation.

“Recruit Keller was a wonderful recruit. He was one I could count on to get things done,” said Lt. Livingston. “He was always prepared for exams and was willing to lend a helping hand to fellow recruits. As I understand it, he is in line to be hired by the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office. Recruit Keller will be an outstanding addition to an already top tier law enforcement agency.”

Lapeer County Sheriff’s Deputies have known Keller for years. He was a Lapeer County Sheriff’s Marine Deputy during the summer of 2020 and, prior to that, a Lapeer County Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Explorer during high school and beyond.

“I was an Explorer for so long that when I aged out of the program at age 21 they swore me in as a Reserve Deputy and then had an open position for Marine Deputy,” Keller said.

As Keller awaited his official starting date, the LEEP Award was much appreciated.

“Being pre-service obviously put a large financial burden on me. I was unemployed for four months while I went through the academy,” Keller said. “And being in the hiring process, I still don’t have a paycheck for a few more weeks. I definitely saw the financial burden (for cadets) on their own versus being sponsored.”

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