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4 ISP graduates have local roots

Four men with local connections recently graduated from the Indiana State Police Academy.
Dennis Simcoe II, Patrick Stinson, Chris Tucker and Kyle Wilkins took their oath of office Dec. 21 during a graduation ceremony held at the University of Indianapolis Ransburg Auditorium. Chief Judge John G. Baker of the Indiana Court of Appeals administered the oath. The four were among the 82 members of the 68th recruit class, which started July 14 at the academy near Plainfield.
Stinson, Tucker and Wilkins have been assigned to the Sellersburg post, while Simcoe reports to the post in Seymour.
Simcoe, 25, attended Corydon Central High School before joining the Marine Corps in 2001. After spending four years in the Corps, he decided to pursue a career with the state police. He knew something about the ISP because his father-in-law, John Cleveland, is a trooper assigned to the Sellersburg post.
A resident of Clarksville, Simcoe said he found criminal law the most challenging part of the academy. Because of his military training, he is considering specialty training with the ISP emergency response team.
Simcoe, who has a daughter with his wife, Hannah, enjoys hunting and fishing. He is the son of Dennis Simcoe of Corydon and Susan Wheeler of Clarksville.
Wilkins also has a military background. He served in the Army until 2005 after graduating from Crawford County Junior-Senior High School in 2001.
The 25-year-old was reared in Crawford County, lived in Henderson, Ky., for a while and now resides in Corydon. His parents, Bill and Shirley Wilkins, live in Milltown.
After his discharge from the Army, he worked for Raytheon at Fort Knox, Ky., but, he said, he ‘wasn’t satisfied with a normal job.’
His military background, along with his specialty training with the bomb squad, sparked his interest in police work.
‘I thought (the police academy) would be a cake walk’ after completing military boot camp, he said. Instead, ‘it was much harder than I thought it would be.’
He would like to continue working with explosives once he can receive specialty training.
Wilkins and his wife, Leslie, have a two-month-old son. When he’s not working, Wilkins enjoys outdoor activities, such as hunting, fishing and shooting.
At 35, Stinson was the oldest member of the recruit class. He is a 1991 graduate of Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, who lived in Marengo before moving to Harrison County in 1994. He worked 13 years at Ford Motor Co. in Louisville then agreed to a buyout in early 2007. Stinson said he had decided to apply with the ISP.
Stinson is no stranger to law enforcement, as he has volunteered the past eight years as a reserve officer with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. He was offered a paid officer’s position but learned he had been accepted into the ISP recruit school.
‘I knew I would be taking a pay cut if I left Ford for law enforcement,’ Stinson said, but police work ‘just got in my blood.’
Law enforcement runs in Stinson’s family. His wife, Elizabeth, was recently hired as a police officer with the county’s sheriff’s department, and his brother, Todd Stinson, is a former Corydon marshal who is now a sergeant with the Georgetown Police Dept.
Stinson and his wife have two daughters.
Although Tucker, 23, of Georgetown, is the youngest of the four men, he developed an interest in law enforcement at an early age and took a path that led him directly to the state police.
‘I have always had a passion for law enforcement,’ said Tucker.
When he was 16, he rode with an ISP trooper during a shift and he participated in the Police Explorer Post under Ray Saylor, chief of the Milltown Police Dept., when Saylor was the police chief at Lanesville.
After graduating from North Harrison High School in 2003, Tucker spent four years at the University of Louisville, where he earned a degree in 2007 in justice administration with a minor in psychology.
Tucker will begin his police work performing administrative duties, as he will be recovering from shoulder surgery, which is scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday). The injury occurred during his final one-on-one session of defensive tactics at the police academy.
He said he is interested in specialty training that involves marijuana eradication and combating abuse of prescription drugs.
Tucker, who is single, lists among his hobbies skeet shooting and playing the piano. He is the son of Terry and Elizabeth Tucker.
During the time at the academy, from July 14 through the end of December, the new troopers received approximately 840 hours of training. The new graduates will spend three months assigned to field training officers, applying what they have learned at the academy to real-life situations, before they are placed on solo patrol.
Troopers assigned to the Sellersburg post are responsible for Harrison, Floyd, Washington, Clark and Scott counties.