Wall of Honor: WEHS Students Seek Sheriff Patches11/16/2022
In room 428, a giant state of Texas is painted on the wall. Each county is outlined and about half of them display a sheriff’s patch.
The “Tribute to Texas Sheriffs” is a collection of sheriff patches obtained by students in the Wylie East High School Law Enforcement classes.
Mr. Lanman’s students have collected sheriff patches for the past five years to display on their “Tribute to Texas Sheriffs” wall.
Each year in his introduction to law enforcement class, Mr. David Lanman has his students write a letter to a sheriff in the state of Texas requesting a patch for their wall.
“Writing the letter provides ownership for the students,” Mr. Lanman said. “Plus it helps with their communication skills.”
Each time they receive a patch, they paste it on the county from where it came on the wall.
Junior Emmagin Becerra swapped a Raider patch for a Mount Vernon security patch while on a trip to DC.
Junior Emmagin Becerra, a SkillsUSA district officer, secured a security patch from Mount Vernon while in Washington, D.C. for a SkillsUSA conference. She traded a WEHS Raider Law Enforcement patch for their security patch.
“It’s a great way to get to see police stations and represent our program,” Becerra said.
Mr. Lanman said that of the letters sent out requesting patches, they usually receive about a third of them back. At last count, they had collected 153 patches.
Junior Diana Soto is one of the third of students who received a patch from a county sheriff’s office after writing a letter.
When junior Diana Soto wrote the letter her freshman year, she not only was sent a patch but also received a letter back.
“He told me that he hoped I got a good grade on the project,” she said. “Then he wished me good luck with my career in law enforcement.”
Soto is also in the Career and Technical Education organization, SkillsUSA. Her family moved to Wylie because of its CTE pathways.
“The CT classes are way more established than the other district I was in,” Soto said. “They really help guide students into a career by providing them with in-depth information. It has really helped me grow personal skills and gain confidence.”
Searching the wall for the patch he received, junior Eli Fleenor shows it to his classmate, Sofoniyas Kefyalew.
Junior Eli Fleenor wrote a letter his freshman year and received a patch within four weeks.
“The process is cool,” Fleenor said. “It connects students to officers nice enough to reply. One student even got a gift back.”
When traveling to workshops and conferences with his SkillsUSA students, they intentionally drive through counties where they can stop and collect a patch.
When SkillsUSA students travel to South Texas for summer leadership, they plan their route to drive through counties they haven’t connected with yet.
“We’ll stop at the sheriff’s station, and I’ll have the kids go in and ask for one,” Mr. Lanman said.