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Police academy grad earns LEEP, Top Gun awards

— By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

Cade Barwig made a great impression on his instructors at Wayne County Regional Police Academy (WCRPA), receiving a $2,000 award for overall performance from Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP).

Barwig, 23, of Southgate, was recognized during the Schoolcraft College academy graduation ceremony May 3. During the ceremony, he was also honored for scoring the highest in his class in firearms. “I got the Top Shot Award and I was second in defensive tactics,” Barwig said.

“In firearms, the primary instructor is going to pick his Top Shot. In defensive tactics he ended up number two,” said WCRPA Training Director Gregg Brighton. “He’s a good performer overall. It’s no surprise looking at all those things he is getting the LEEP award.”

Wayne County Regional Police Academy graduate Cade Barwig received a $2,000 LEEP Award presented by POLC Executive Committee Chair Steve McInchak (left).

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise he was hired for his first law enforcement job right after graduation. Barwig began work May 14 as a full-time City of Wyandotte Police Officer. “The departments are giving out conditional offers while people are in the academy,” Brighton said. “They make them conditional based on three things — background investigation, full physical screening and psychological exams.”

Barwig passed all three to work in his hometown community, a place where he wants to stay and advance his career. “That’s where I grew up. I graduated from Wyandotte Theodore Roosevelt High School,” he said. “I will try and move up as high as I can in the ranks of Wyandotte. Living there and growing up there pushes me harder to stay there.”

Barwig obtained his associates degree in Criminal Justice from Henry Ford Community College in 2015, but he didn’t expect to be working as a Police Officer in Michigan. “My wife wanted to move out of Michigan. We picked Virginia and got out to Virginia and we found out she was pregnant,” Barwig said.

He was accepted to Virginia State Police Academy, where he resided Sunday through Thursday weekly in 2017. However, that schedule became too difficult when his wife’s pregnancy became high risk. “Some days she would have to drive herself to the hospital,” Barwig said.

So, he left the Virginia academy and moved back to Southgate, Michigan where family was available to help with his wife’s difficult pregnancy. “I started working with my dad again at Wayne Industries, a steel warehouse … until I started getting everything ready for this academy,” Barwig said.

Their baby was born Sept. 10, 2017 and the new father began Wayne County’s academy Jan. 8, 2018. He couldn’t work during the demanding academy schedule – a 17-week program with 688 hours of training – so the $2,000 LEEP Award was much appreciated by the young family. “It actually meant a lot. My wife works but with me being in the academy all day and her working we had to pay for daycare. That’s never cheap,” Barwig said. “It really helped with bills.”

For Barwig, family and public service go together. His parents, Jack Jr. and Kathryn Barwig, met each other in the Army while stationed in Korea and his uncle is the Fire Chief in River Rouge, where he also performs police duties. “He’s the only one in my family that does police work,” Barwig said. “As I was growing up, I was always fascinated by it, the lights and sirens. I always told my mom and dad that I was going to be a Police Officer.”

Barwig was one of 29 cadets in the graduating class of 45 that entered the program as pre-service, or non-sponsored, by a police agency. Brighton said the Schoolcraft academy developed a comprehensive formula for choosing the cadet who meets LEEP Award criteria. There are 10 Director’s tests including written and skills assessments. The written examinations cover firearms, legal, emergency vehicle operation, defensive tactics, first aid, CPR and the standard field sobriety testing. “I compile all those scores and I take the top five scores and I supply those five names to the primary instructors for firearms, emergency vehicle operation, defensive tactics, and physical fitness. Those are what the state considers skill areas,” Brighton said.

“They also have to show a proficiency with their practical side,” he said. These include firing a weapon, driving courses, defensive tactics and a physical agility test. “They have to show the instructors they can perform certain maneuvers,” Brighton said.

“LEEP should go to an overall top performer,” Brighton said. “We have a tremendous number of academic scholarships, but on the practical side, it’s pass or fail. Now our primary instructors have devised a way to rank those people. Mr. Barwig came out on top.”

© 2014 LEEP Law Enforcement Education Program

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