Cory Bates was sworn in Aug. 31 as the 47th officer on the force of the Harker Heights Police Department.

The standing-room-only crowd of well-wishers, family, fellow officers, fire department personnel and city officials met in the community room at Police Department Headquarters.

Police Chief Mike Gentry led off the ceremony by saying, “Police officers are the first and most commonly viewed representatives of government. As the reputation of a police department goes, so goes the reputation of their governing bodies.

“It doesn’t matter how good the city of Harker Heights is, if the police department fails the entire city fails and that’s a microcosm of this nation. Across the nation, law enforcement has the responsibility to do its job well. If it fails, it will rip at the very core of our country.”

Gentry told Bates he is joining a noble cast.

“This is a group of people who at some time in their life decided that there are more important things than them and that they are willing to do what is required to benefit others before themselves,” Gentry said.

“When we decided to hire you, Corey, we were looking for someone that would make us better,” Gentry said.

There were 160 applicants for the position that Bates now holds.

“Of those 160 that came through the process, we hired one, and that was Corey Bates,” Gentry said.

Bates came out of the police academy qualified as the number one shooter and winner of the Top Gun Award. He was also selected as the Gary O. Smith honor graduate, which is a recognition of leadership and capability by his peers.

Gentry continued the ceremony by administering the code of ethics and oath of office followed by the pinning of the badge.

He told Bates, “The badge is an attractive adornment. It’s a beautiful piece of jewelry and has the state seal on it and after you wear it a few years, it may not look like that. It might have a few dings and scratches and that’s OK because battle scarring is a good thing. Whatever happens, it will never be dishonored.”

Bates’ fiancé, Devon Walker, pinned the badge on to complete the ceremony.

Friends, family and fellow officers then greeted Bates. His parents and fiancé joined him as they were led on a tour of the police headquarters.

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