URBANA – The University of Illinois Police Department is congratulating two of its newest officers on their graduation Thursday from the University of Illinois Police Training Institute.
Officers R. Mia Kaim and Peter Milinkovic completed the 12-week basic law enforcement class and will move into the field training portion of their orientation.
They join Officer Kent Jones as the three newest officers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jones previously was a police officer at Eastern Illinois University for 11 years and was not required to attend the basic law enforcement class. Jones has served in a number of capacities at EIU, including as a regional Crisis Response Team member, and he is a Parkland College graduate.
Kaim is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She previously worked as a research assistant in the Department of Kinesiology, where she was tasked with projects related to wellness for police officers and firefighters. She was one of the highest academic achievers in her law enforcement training class.
Milinkovic served in the U.S. Marine Corps for five years and completed multiple tours in Iraq. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Parkland College.
Milinkovic notably earned the police academy’s highest honor, the Ervin H. Warren award, which is based on academic achievement, responsiveness to instruction, moral character, professional conduct and integrity. The selection process considers input from Police Training Institute instructors, administrators and fellow officers in the class.
Milinkovic was also selected by his 79 fellow police recruits from around the state as the class speaker during Thursday’s graduation ceremony.
“The process it takes for these recruits to get here, with all the academics, the interviews, the sitting on boards, just the moral integrity they have to have throughout their life to get to this level, just to partake in this 12 weeks of training is amazing,” Milinkovic said.
He said he gets questions from family and friends about his decision to pursue a career as a police officer during a particularly turbulent time for law enforcement. He related it to a decision he made in the Marines, after his Sept. 11, 2001, flight to basic training was grounded and he was given the opportunity to reconsider his decision to join the military.
“I feel like that’s when they need people who are willing to answer the call the most,” Milinkovic said.