Two Cornell police officers won recognition awards at the graduation ceremony of the Southern Tier Law Enforcement Academy last month.
After receiving positions with CUPD in January, the officers, Michael Scott and Michael Meskill, completed training for their jobs with the New York State Basic Course — an 18-week long course that “basically teaches you how to become a police officer,” according to Scott. Scott said that the course teaches a variety of skills, ranging from defense tactics training to learning about the law.
At the course’s graduation ceremony, Scott received awards for academic achievement –– having earned the highest average on class tests and quizzes –– as well as for excellence in firearms marksmanship. He was recognized for achieving the highest average score in shoots over a two-week period.
Meskill was recognized for having the highest rating of physical fitness rating in the class, placing in the 97th percentile for his age and gender.
Meskill said he was pleased to earn the awards, saying they were something he had strived toward.
“It feels good to know you accomplished the goals that you set out to … to see something tangible for it,” Meskill said.
Both officers were also recognized with a leadership award that, according to Meskill, is bestowed “for exhibiting leadership qualities and excelling throughout the class.”
CUPD Chief Kathy Zoner said that both the officers have “very strong” leadership abilities –– a key quality for police officers, who often find themselves in situations where they must take charge.
Both officers were appointed by CUPD on Jan. 3 before attending the academy’s training programs –– positions they said they were excited to receive.
“I was very targeted on working for the Cornell Police Department. This is where I want to be. This is where I want to retire,” Scott said.
The officers also have familial ties to law enforcement. Meskill’s father was a former Tompkins County sheriff and Scott’s father-in-law is a twice-retired law enforcement officer who has served as captain of the Ithaca Police Department and chief of CUPD.
Scott and Meskill said that their desire to help people was a strong motivating factor in their decision to become police officers.
“I really enjoy being around people and … helping people,” Scott said, adding that his job is “the best job on the planet.”
Meskill said he enjoys the opportunity to meet new people as a police officer.
“It’s nice to … be involved in the community,” Meskill said.
Zoner praised Scott and Meskill’s skills as police officers.
“[They are] very pleasant people… They really understand service,” she said. “They know what it’s like to treat a customer right.”
Zoner also said that Scott and Meskill have a “professional demeanor” and will be a “good fit for [the department].”
“I know them both very well,” she said, adding that Meskill had previously worked as an auxiliary officer for the Blue Light Escort.
As the two officers look to the future, they said they are thankful for the opportunity to serve others.
Scott called CUPD a “perfect little team” and said that the officers would “put their life on the line on the drop of a hat to help you.”
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work here,” he said.
Meskill said that he hopes to keep progressing and helping the community and the University.
“I’d like to stay here and possibly be promoted someday, but [the promotion is] in the future,” Meskill said.
Original Author: Kritika Oberoi