Penn State-run training program graduates 60th class of deputy sheriffs

Pennsylvania’s newly hired sheriffs and deputy sheriffs attend the state’s training academy run by the Penn State Justice and Safety Institute
Man and woman standing in front of a car

Kody Ierley and Gianna Pellicane graduated from the Penn State-run Pennsylvania Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff Education and Training Program.  

Credit: Penn State JASI

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The newest class of Pennsylvania deputy sheriffs graduated from the state’s Penn State-run training academy last weekend thanks to the collaboration between Pennsylvania and the University.

The Pennsylvania Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff Education and Training Program — run by the Penn State Justice and Safety Institute — trains newly hired sheriffs and deputy sheriffs from all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Twenty-nine deputy sheriffs participated in the graduation ceremony on May 7.

Graduate Gianna Pellicane earned her undergraduate degree in hotel restaurant management in 2008 but pivoted to working as a court clerk in Philadelphia approximately five years ago.

She then decided to become a deputy sheriff in order to have a positive influence on her community, she said.

“I wanted to have a career where you can make an impact,” said Pellicane, who works for the sheriff’s office in Philadelphia County. “It’s fulfilling to be able to help people. I want to help people get through difficult situations and hope to be that positive change.”

Kody Ierley, who works in Dauphin County, said he decided to become a sheriff’s deputy because he wants to make a difference.

“Law enforcement is something I’ve always admired from a young age,” he said. “As I got older, I wanted to make a difference in communities and help people. At the end of my life, I want to look back and know that in my line of work, I positively affected people in my community.”

The academy, held in State College, provides instruction in several law enforcement areas, including Pennsylvania crime codes and civil procedures, cultural diversity, ethics, firearms, first responder/first aid, defensive tactics, courtroom security and physical training.

Ierley says the breadth of knowledge provided by the training program will help him feel more comfortable in work situations.

“There are situations you’re going to be in, and you need to know what can and can’t be used at appropriate times,” he said. “It’s prepared me how to think.”

The graduating class was the 60th since the state selected Penn State JASI as the academy’s administrator in 2000. Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, judges, attorneys and local, state and federal law enforcements officers help deliver the training.

“Having instructors with that real-world experience was great,” Pellicane said. “They can explain a situation they’ve been through, how they’ve felt, what they did, how they could have done better. That helps you feel comfortable with your abilities.”

Visit the Penn State JASI website for more information. Penn State JASI, which is a Penn State Outreach service, partners with Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Public Affairs.