By Jimmie Ferguson
Killeen Daily Herald
Eight new certified police officers joined the roll of the Killeen Police Department Friday in the fourth KPD graduation and swearing-in ceremony held at the Killeen Conference and Civic Center.
Following all the oaths the cadets had to take, their loved ones rushed to the front of the room and took on the task of pinning on their badges.
Killeen Mayor Maureen Jouett told the graduates that they were a part of a fast-growing city with a population of 105,000 people.
We have 21 percent more people than we had in 2000, Jouett said.
Not everybody can be a police officer, said the mayor, telling the cadets that not everybody has the ability to be a police officer.
We cant thank you enough for your dedication and willingness to work for the city of Killeen. It used to be, a couple of years ago, we were the 23rd largest city in the state of Texas and now we are number 17. We are fast moving, fast growing.
I wish you all have a good, professional career. I want you to be safe and always consider your safety, the citizen safety and your partners safety, Jouett said.
Graduating Cadet Jose M. Luna, the class president, told the families and guests about what his class went through while enduring the more than 1,000 hours of training.
Luna said the class motto was Diverse in Thought, United in Purpose.
Each and every officer brought something different to this class, that made our class unique culture, life experiences, training, educational levels, leadership styles and even a different sense of humor, Luna said. However, no matter how diverse, we are still united in this class for one purpose to protect and serve this community.
Luna said that during the class they developed a camaraderie that will always carry them through their next phase of training.
And also through challenges that we may face in years to come, said Luna, referring to his fellow classmates James A. Colligan, Cody J. Evans, Nisha K. Henderson, Roderick M. Mack, Michael A. Smith, Eric W. Stock and Michael R. Truelove.
Each and every one of us in the academy has at one point asked the question, Are we going to be able to do everything there is to do as a peace officer? Luna said. As we proceed further along in our training and with hard work and dedication on behalf of our instructors, we are ready to face the challenges that lie ahead with confidence and professionalism.
Fort Hoods Col. David Phillips, the guest speaker, introduced himself as the installation provost marshal or chief of police for Fort Hood and commander of the 89th Military Police Brigade.
Phillips said 27 years ago he graduated from the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy and started as a patrolman in a small suburban community outside of Toledo, Ohio, called Ottawa Hills. He said he spent his days in college and worked the night shift.
Upon graduation from Bowling Green University, Phillips said he was commissioned a military police officer in the U.S. Army.
Since then, my job has taken me around the world, and I have been blessed to have worked with police of many countries the German polizi, the Iraqi Public Service and just around the world, said Phillips, who is on his second assignment to Fort Hood from Iraq.
In January 2004, Phillips said he deployed the 89th MP Brigade to Iraq, responsible for rebuilding the Iraqi police service and running the Iraqi National Police Academy.
As we started up the academy, I reflected back on the time when I was a patrolman in Ohio and realized just how important the individual police officer is in modern society, Phillips said. Because I had just entered a society in Iraq that did not have police officers.
Phillips told the graduating class that here in Central Texas, police are the keepers of the residents values. And by their enforcement of laws of our nation, they keep things safe.
They also you will be the first responders in times of crisis and disasters. The crisis may be a lost child in the Killeen Mall or the sudden death of an elder family member, the colonel said. But its you, the newest members of the Killeen Police Department, who will respond to these situations. You will never know if the call is a person locked out of their house or a burglar intending to getting access to an occupied home.
Phillips told the cadets some dangers that they will face will become commonplace in their profession.
The colonel then relayed courage and dedication he experienced as a security officer in the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the unexpected difficulties his command encountered in training the older Iraqis to be police officers, before concluding his presentation.
Assistant KPD Chief Larry Longwell presented Phillips a KPD coin.
Some of the cadets were also recognized for their accomplishments during the course.
Evans was recognized as the Top Gun. Truelove took the Academics plaque, and Luna was chosen by his peers to receive the Class Leader Award.
Contact Jimmie Ferguson at email@example.com