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Asset to the Community: Officer Matthew Spencer Student Success Profile

August 14, 2018

Since its establishment 58 years ago, thousands of police recruits have graduated from the Regional Criminal Justice Training Center at Golden West College; and with thirty-seven of those graduates reaching top positions such as Police Chief and Sheriff, the Center’s reputation for quality is exemplary. “I recruit almost exclusively from this academy,” Fountain Valley Police Chief Kevin Childe said. “I go all throughout the state and try to attract folks, but I have two training officers working here because of the high standards. It’s a great way to identify and develop top talent.”

Officer Matthew Spencer is a prime example. A former Marine who served two deployments in Afghanistan, he graduated from Class 153 of GWC’s Police Academy, which is a full-time, six-month course, in March 2017. “The training was really tough, but my experience in the military helped me a lot,” said Officer Spencer. His mornings started early at 3:30 am, with roll call at 4:30 am. The intensive program included a structured schedule of class work, exercise, and hands-on reality-based training. Officer Spencer added, “During the week, I was either at the academy or studying, and I’d get very little sleep. It was definitely a full-time commitment.” Dean Ron Lowenberg of the RCJTC, himself a graduate of the academy and a retired Chief of Police, said, “The Center takes great pride in training people like Officer Spencer who have spent years serving their country, and then training them to serve their community. Officer Spencer began the academy as a civilian and graduated a sworn officer with a life-long career ahead of him.”

Recruits receive instruction from over 60 full-time and retired law enforcement professionals and benefit from their real-world experiences. As an example, Officer Spencer said, “If Orange PD had a recent pursuit, they were able to tell us about it and integrate the situation into our class. The instructors who are full-time officers make the program so effective.” Officer Spencer also found the narcotics training insightful saying, “Our instructor was an expert in the field working full-time in Westminster. He was able to give us current trends of what was actually happening on the street.”

Officer Spencer currently serves on the Fountain Valley Police Department. He affirms that his training at GWC’s CJTC gave him a strong foundation of knowledge. “It’s a solid program, it helped me build a solid fundamental base, where I felt like I was in a good position to go on to the follow-up training in the Field Training Officer program,” said Officer Spencer. “Once you get in the field, on the street, you can tell how well all the training comes together.”

Chief Childe – a GWC academy graduate who later served the college as a Recruit Training Officer – said, “I was a student here 27 years ago, and as I look around, I’m excited because we’re investing in the people who want to go out and help people. This is where they make police officers.”