Two Douglas deputies graduate from academy
November 17, 2017
Deputies Mariah West and Scott Wharton graduated on Thursday from the state of Nevada Peace Officer Standards and Training Basic Academy in Carson City.
West and Wharton received their Category I Basic P.O.S.T. certificates for their successful completion of the 17 week training academy.
Wharton received the additional honor of being named the Outstanding Graduate from the 2017-2 class. This is the second consecutive Basic P.O.S.T. academy in which a Douglas County Sheriff's Office deputy has received the Outstanding Graduate Award
"Sheriff Ron Pierini and the entire Sheriff's Office are very proud of Deputies West and Wharton and congratulate them on their graduation from the Basic Academy," said Undersheriff Paul Howell.
"Today is the start of our finest hour," Wharton said at the graduation. "No matter what is thrown at us we have to keep our faith, hope and courage because we are the defenders, the keepers and the sheepdogs."
One of the most difficult aspects of the academy is the time spent away from loved ones. The officers have to spend the 17 weeks at the academy, living on site during training.
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"We had numerous conversations Sunday after a weekend at home and we mentioned the struggle to come back and leave our loved ones," said Wharton, attempting to hold back tears. "Every weekend when my girls would beg and plead for me to stay home. But they were very supportive and knew, as we did, the importance of training here and I can't thank them enough."
The training is difficult; only 19 of the original 32 officers graduated Thursday.
The academy is a 17-week training program that works to swear in deputies as Category I peace officers, meaning they have all of the necessary training to qualify as a Nevada law enforcement officer.
"Not everyone who wants to be a peace officer can be or should be one," said POST executive director Michael Sherlock. "If you only had to read a book and do what the book told you to do, anyone could be a peace officer."
West was sworn in as a deputy in October 2016. She grew up in Carson Valley and graduated in 2011 from Sierra Lutheran, where she was on the volleyball and basketball teams, and was a member of the state championship Academic Olympics team.
Wharton is a Wyoming native who joined the sheriff's office in November 2016.
— Taylor Pettaway of the Nevada Appeal contributed to this report