College of the Mainland cadet Jillian Basilone, elected class corporal by her classmates, won a Director’s Appreciation Award at graduation. Director of Law Enforcement Training Thom Karlok, right, presented the award.Adrian Herrera, elected class sergeant by his peers, won a Director’s Appreciation Award. COM Director of Law Enforcement Training Thom Karlok, right, presented the award.COM student Clifford Wood, pictured with instructor Susan Balli, won an Academic Award for excellence at the Basic Peace Officer Academy graduation. COM student Shonna Bellow won an Academic Award for excellence.At the College of the Mainland Basic Peace Officer Academy graduation, range master Daniel Blackford, right, presented student Brian Tandy with the Lem Powell Memorial Top Gun Award.

Prepared to serve and protect, 17 cadets graduated from the College of the Mainland Basic Peace Officer Academy May 26.

Five students received awards for excellence in leadership, academics and marksmanship.

Class Corporal Jillian Basilone and Class Sergeant Adrian Herrera, elected officers by their classmates, won Director’s Appreciation Awards.

Herrera, 30, of Friendswood, is a former military contractor who came to the academy seeking a career change.

“We learned a lot of tactical skills. What I liked about the police academy is each instructor came from a different background and had a lot of experience,” said Herrera. “I want to serve the community. Human trafficking and other crimes can affect the people you love. Being a police officer allows you to help those who can’t help themselves.”

Jillian Basilone, 23, of Seabrook, was hired and sponsored by the City of Deer Park Police Department. She was sworn in as an officer several weeks after graduating. Basilone also holds a sociology and criminal justice degree.

“I learned about patrolling the street and being proactive and reactive. If it’s a volatile situation, you need to know your stuff in order to respond,” said Basilone.

She feels rewarded “when someone needs a service and you’re able to provide it,” such as alerting medical professionals when someone calls for help.

Students Shonna Bellow and Clifford Wood each won an Academic Achievement Award. Wood, 20, of Texas City, was the youngest in the class and earned the highest grade point average. Bellow, 40, of Texas City, also excelled academically and is currently employed by the Texas City Fire Department. She enrolled in the academy to earn law enforcement credentials, which along with her current firefighter certification enhances her current position in the fire marshal’s office.

“Shonna, who is also a certified first aid instructor, helped out with first aid instruction for the class,” said director of law enforcement training Thom Karlok.

The Lem Powell Memorial Top Gun Award went to Brian Tandy, of La Porte, for being the best marksman in his class.

“We have 768 hours of training, well over the 643 mandated by the state,” said Karlok. “It’s physical training, classroom instruction, police emergency driving,  patrol, ticket writing and report writing.”

Established more than 40 years ago, the COM Basic Peace Officer Academy forms the cornerstone of the COM Law Enforcement Program. With 760+ hours of instruction, the semester-long academy meets the training requirements of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

For more information, visit or call 409-933-8285.