IUPD-East cadets graduate from IU Police Academy: Officer Mitch Burelison receives inaugural Randy Williamson Scholarship

Indiana University Police Department-East welcomed its two newly sworn officers to campus after graduating from the 45th class of the IU Police Academy on August 11. Cadet Officers Mitch Burelison, Centerville, Indiana, and Rikki Foust, Eldorado, Ohio, graduated from the IU Police Academy at the Indiana Memorial Union in Bloomington.

(Left to Right) IUPD-East Chief Scott Dunning, IU East Chancellor Kathy Cruz-Uribe, Officer Mitch Burelison, Randy Williamson, IU President Michael A. McRobbie and Laura McRobbie. The McRobbie’s endowed the Randy Williamson Scholarship for Excellence. Burelison is the inaugural recipient of the scholarship.
Photo by IU

Burelison and Foust joined the IUPD-East as cadets during the 2017-2018 academic year. The officers return to campus as certified police officers sworn in the state of Indiana. While completing their degree, Burelison and Foust will continue to work part-time for the IUPD-East. Both are senior criminal justice majors.

During the ceremony held at the Indiana Memorial Union in Bloomington, Burelison received the inaugural Randy Williamson Scholarship for Excellence as well as high marks in academics, physical fitness and firearms proficiency.

The scholarship is endowed by Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie and Laurie McRobbie in honor of Randy Williamson. Williamson served as McRobbie’s driver and security officer for 10 years before he retired in 2017. He previously served the Bloomington Police Department for 37 years. Williamson, along with his wife Linda, attended Saturday’s police academy graduation.

McRobbie presented the scholarship to Burelison.

“On the occasion of his retirement, as a way to honor Randy and his exemplary service, Laurie, my family, and I made a gift to establish the Randy Williamson Scholarship for Excellence, to be awarded to the highest performing IU police cadet at the completion of his or her junior year, to be held during their senior year,” McRobbie said. “Officer Burelison, it is my great pleasure to present you with the inaugural Randy Williamson Scholarship for Excellence. Congratulations.”

(Left to Right) IUPD-East Sgt. Brad Smoker, Officer Mitch Burelison, Officer Rikki Foust and Chief Scott Dunning at the IU Police Academy graduation on August 11.

The scholarship is the first awarded by the IU Police Academy.

“It was a great honor receiving the Randy Williamson inaugural scholarship from the IU Police Academy,” Burelison said. “I will certainly never forget the feeling of pride when I was named as the recipient. Seeing how ecstatic the (IU East) chancellor was made the award even better.”

IU East Chancellor Kathy Cruz-Uribe attended the academy graduation along with Chief Dunning, Sgt. Brad Smoker and several IU East faculty members.

“Mitch and Rikki are exemplary officers and students,” Cruz-Uribe said. “They are leaders on campus and in the classroom, and I look forward to seeing their future accomplishments. We are very proud of the IU East cadet program and our graduates.”

In addition to the scholarship, Burelison received the top rank in firearms proficiency. There were 42 graduates sworn in as officers from the 2018 class at the IU Police Academy

“Receiving top gun for firearms proficiency required a lot of focus on the firing line,” he said. “My chief has a love for shooting and I knew he would be proud when I got top gun. I owe a lot of the skills I developed this summer to the instructors that always provided input and never got frustrated with any of us.”

Mitchell Burelison

Both stayed the week after graduation to complete training in the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA) program.

IUPD-East Chief Scott Dunning said, “I am very proud for Mitch to receive this inaugural scholarship named after retired officer Randy Williamson. Having an IUPD-East cadet win this inaugural scholarship named after Randy, who was my baseball coach in my younger days and an officer that I looked up to during my career, is even more special.”

Foust was one of eight women to graduate from the academy this summer. She is a graduate of National Trail High School, located in New Paris, Ohio. A transfer student and former softball player from Emmanuel College, Foust applied to the cadet program at IU East her first year on campus.

She said working in law enforcement is a lifestyle that is comfortable for her. Familiarity came from having family friends who worked in law enforcement, including her mother who has worked for the Preble County Jail and Butler County Jail.

Rikki Foust

“I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone just like Richmond,” Foust said. “I’ve always wanted to work in investigations. This is a stepping-stone into that direction for me. I wanted to feel comfortable on the streets and gain some community policing before pursuing investigations. I’m very open minded about my career choices, so anything that crosses my path that interests me I’m willing to try it.”

“Rikki has worked really hard the past school year to prepare herself for this academy class,” Dunning said. “To witness her drive and determination and to watch it continue throughout the academy, I am proud and excited for what the future holds for her.”

Outside of law enforcement, Burelison is a member of the IU East track and field team. In addition to majoring in criminal justice, he is also pursuing a minor in entrepreneurship. He is a Centerville High School graduate.

Burelison is the latest in a four-year string of track and field athletes taking part in the IU East cadet program. Not surprisingly, those student-athletes traditionally excel in the physical fitness tests at the IU Police Academy.

Burelison earned all-conference honors during the indoor and outdoor portions of the season as part of 4×400 relay teams that finished in the top three in the indoor and outdoor River States Conference meets. He has been a part of five school-record relays during his IU East career and has won several individual events. He also appeared on the academic all-conference list this past season.

“It’s definitely a full schedule,” Burelison said. “It does get tough. Some days are all day. You wake up, get ready to go to class, go practice, shower, go right to cadet duties until 11 p.m., and go home and do it all over again.”

Cadets complete 14 weeks of training from May to August at the IU Police Academy. Through the program, cadets complete 600 hours of training. To become cadets, students must successfully complete the application process including interviews, background checks and fitness assessments.

The academy provides a comprehensive and unique law enforcement training program which, when coupled with the university’s educational programs, produces a highly qualified, experienced, and educated law enforcement professional. Cadets in the academy receive complete law enforcement training required by the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Once the program is successfully completed, the cadets become certified law enforcement officers with full police authority in the state of Indiana.

IUPD-East has had 10 cadet officers graduate since the program was established on the IU East campus in fall 2012.

This fall, two new cadets will join the IUPD-East. Sarah Mallory, Winchester, Indiana, and Logan Moistner, Richmond, Indiana, have been selected as cadet officers for the 2018-2019 academic year.