By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
Police will often say that to be a good cop, a person has to have it in the blood. If that's the case, then Brandon Smith has more Killeen Police Department in his blood than anyone else.
Smith, 24, graduated from the Killeen Police Academy Thursday, joining 28-year-veteran detective Joe Smith, his father, at KPD.
His parents thrust Smith into police life before birth.
While still in the womb, Killeen police spokeswoman Carroll Smith, his mother, carried Brandon with her at the department.
Since then, Brandon became a fixture at KPD, known by most officers.
On Thursday, Brandon continued a quest to make his own legacy at KPD following a path he chose for himself.
Before he joined the academy, his parents offered simple advice.
"They told me to be a leader, not a follower," Smith said.
Smith already knows that his experience will be a little different than other graduates.
"Are you ready for the ribbing you're going to take?" Police Chief Dennis Baldwin jokingly asked Smith before the ceremonies. "It's part of having family in the PD."
Smith was joined by 16 other graduates including Michael Sousounis, who completed the trifecta of academic honors Thursday.
Nominated by his peers as class president, Sousounis was honored as the top student and marksman.
Sousounis, a former Marine, fulfilled a lifelong dream that he almost missed.
Killeen police passed on Sousounis during a first hiring attempt.
Encouraged by KPD recruiter Sgt. Rick Hatfield, he applied again and was accepted.
His dream will be fulfilled Sunday night when he and the others begin a 17-week field training that will prepare them to patrol the streets of Killeen.
Baldwin encouraged the graduates to seek the help of their families and each other as they go face-to-face with the daily danger and uncertainty of police work.
Contact Victor O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468.
Graduates of Killeen's 13th Police Academy
Christopher K. Ache
Christopher L. Bailey
Christopher E. Barrera
Matthew A. Carlson
Amanda L. Dmytrus
Givonchie U. Emeana
Troy L. Fulghan
Phillip J. Haebe
Daniel G. Hertzog
Jacob C. McCoy
Stephen F. McKenzie
Andrew J. Papp III
Brandon J. Smith
Michael J. Sousounis
Kasheala L. Willenbrock
Thomas L. Young