Before family, friends and fellow first responders, Jesus Mancillas and William Greenwood took the oath of police officers and received their badges at a swearing-in ceremony Monday at the Harker Heights Police Department.
Mancillas, 43, a San Antonio native, joined the military at age 19 and served his country for 20 years. He then retired from the military and studied criminal justice, which introduced him to law enforcement.
“After I finished that course of study, I decided to pursue a career in law enforcement,” he said.
After moving to Central Texas and considering working for police departments in Temple, Copperas Cove, Killeen and Belton, Mancillas accepted HHPD’s offer.
Mancillas pursued law enforcement because of the parallels between the rigid cultures of military and police work, he said.
“It would have been difficult to leave the military after two decades and do anything that lacked the discipline and structure of what I’d been used to.” Mancillas said. “I served my government, now I want to serve my community.”
Mancillas is married to Jennifer. They have a daughter, Jasmine, who works as a public service officer for the Killeen Police Department, and a son, Joaquin.
Greenwood, 25, moved to the area with his family after the military relocated his father. A Copperas Cove High School graduate, Greenwood was born in Germany, but he and his family lived in the same set of military quarters on Fort Hood for 13 years.
“My dad served his country all those years, now I’m ready to serve my state and city,” he said.
Greenwood is a reserve officer for the city of Nolanville and a loss prevention agent for a retail store in Killeen Mall.
He and his wife, Kass, have three children, Heaven, Illiana and Adrian.
Greenwood isn’t the first in his family to join law enforcement. His aunt works for the Drug Enforcement Administration and a cousin was a military police officer for many years.
Greenwood said a desk job was not for him because he’s a people person.
“I thought there’s no better way to get out there and get involved with the community than to become a police officer,” he said.
Mancillas and Greenwood have many hours of training ahead of them before they hit the streets, including emergency vehicle driving for serious situations, proper use of pepper spray, department policies, geography and other administrative classes.
“There’s lots of studying left to do for the both of us,” Greenwood said.
Mancillas will undergo weapon qualification, baton and Taser training, which will precede two weeks of administrative training, field training and a mentoring program. The final step is known as “ghost” training where instructors observe the officers and give final reports on their progress.
“I’m starting a new chapter of my life and I hope this job in law enforcement with HHPD buzzes me just like the military,” Mancillas said.
Police Chief Mike Gentry told the new officers that their fellow workers, who were attending the ceremony, represented people who were in their corners and will always be available to lend helping hands.
Nothing is more important than being honorable and right in how HHPD does its business, Gentry said.
“I don’t mean technically right in ways that can win arguments,” Gentry said. “I mean morally, ethically and legally right.”
HHPD now has 46 officers on its force, Gentry said.