The Harker Heights Police Department promoted five officers during an Oct. 14 ceremony.

Police Chief Mike Gentry said 13 officers tested, but only five made the cut this round. Cpls. Sonja Clay and Betiale Hawkins were promoted to sergeant and officers Benjamin Duiker, Jack Wallace and Jay Leach were promoted to corporal.

“During this round of promotions we really couldn’t go wrong because we had a pool of people that I would have been pleased to see get promoted,” Gentry said. “I’m proud of our organization because we have quality people who serve the community honorably.”

To get promoted, Gentry said officers need to serve honorably in their current rank for two years, take a written exam and participate in an assessment exercise, usually a face-to-face interview with police officers from outside the department and the community.

“It means a lot because I was up against some pretty good competition,” Hawkins said about his promotion. “Everyone who went for it was really deserving and I feel extra special that I was selected.”

During the interview process, candidates sat before Belton’s chief of police, Waco’s deputy chief of police and a lieutenant from the Temple Police Department.

“The promotion process is not an easy process but everyone who was promoted already were leaders within the department,” Gentry said.

“Being promoted renews your commitment to service and you come to terms with the fact that you do this job for others and not for yourself.”

Contact Vanessa Lynch at or 254-501-7567.

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