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LEEP Award winner helps lead Oakland Academy cadets through pandemic

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: September 1, 2020

Photo courtesy of Oakland Police Academy
Oakland Police Academy Director David Ceci (right) congratulates graduate Serkoat Kokoiy, who was selected for the LEEP Award.

By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

Serkoat Kokoiy helped fellow cadets advance through Oakland Police Academy as COVID-19 emergency response stalled and radically altered the program.

“Given the global pandemic that impacted so much of the academy operations, he became a crucial part of our success,” said Oakland Police Academy Director David Ceci. “Serkoat was a great asset to his fellow classmates and the academy staff.”

Kokoiy was chosen by his peers and staff for the $800 Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Award. He was one of 28 non-sponsored cadets in the class of 47 who graduated July 24.

As a former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant serving nine years, his transition to Class Executive Officer was natural. The 29-year-old kept cadets on task, on time, and provided them with the information they needed to do well.

“I was the bridge between the Director and everybody else in the class,” he said. “I was responsible for anything that needed to get done, keeping the class in line. Also, keeping the peace among the classmates.”

He graduated with a Criminal Justice degree from Oakland Community College (OCC). “I did four years of active duty, got an associate’s at OCC, then transferred to University of New Haven in Connecticut where I received my bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology in December 2019. Then I moved back here and started the police academy.”

“He is well-rounded. He served in the United States Marine Corps, completed his college education and is a hard-working individual,” Ceci said. “He displayed outstanding leadership throughout the entire academy.”

“I couldn’t ask for a better Director,” Kokoiy said. “Due to some staff members not returning because of the pandemic, Director Ceci took on additional instructional duties as well as his administrative duties. He put in a lot of effort to get us to graduate.”

Ceci even held Zoom classes for cadets during the academy closure from late March to mid-May. “A lot of other directors shut down,” Kokoiy said. “He fought hard with MCOLES and the state to get us to continue.”

Kokoiy was hired as a full-time Dearborn Heights Police Officer after graduation and began working Aug. 10. “I can’t wait to start the job,” he said in late July. “I’m ready to start the next chapter of my life.”

“He is going to make an excellent Police Officer and someone I would have really enjoyed working with on the road,” Ceci said.

Kokoiy said he would eventually like to pursue a master’s degree in Law.

“I’m very appreciative of the LEEP Award,” he said. “It’s basically going toward continuing my education. When I apply to the master’s program, that will be huge.”

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