For 12 men and women wanting to dedicate their lives to public service, the inaugural class of Conroe Police Department’s Police Academy put them in the right direction.
The academy, which began in June, graduated its first class Wednesday night at the Owen Theatre witnessed by elected officials, fellow police officers, family and friends.
“We are here because these men and women have chosen to dedicate themselves to be public servants,” Conroe Mayor Webb Melder said. “We thank you and ask the Lord to put his hand on you to protect you and bless you.”
The academy’s first class trained in all aspects of law enforcement for 24 weeks at the FBI’s gun range in south Conroe.
“We’re going to teach them the basics and make sure they have the capability of being certified,” Sgt. Bob Berry said. “We stress a lot of hands on training, like in the mechanics of arrests, traffic stops, clearing a building.”
Instructors from all areas within the department gave the trainees instruction in the different aspects of law, including criminal procedure, penal code and health and safety codes.
The cadets also were exposed to physical agility, which included jogging and running.
“We’re trying to get these cadets both mentally and physically prepared to take the job,” Berry said.
The 12 officers include 10 men and one woman who were hired as patrol officers with the CPD when the academy started. An 11th male graduate will become a patrol officer with the South Houston Police Department.
“We have taken your everyday men and women and transferred them into incredible officers,” CPD Chief Philip Dupuis said. “You’re part of many first achievements. At no time has the CPD ever hired 11 officers at once.”
The 11 CPD officers passed their certification exam with 90 percent average on their first try, Dupuis said.
“I’m very proud of this accomplishment,” Dupuis said. “Remember your ethics and be honest and do what is right.”
For 35-year-old Officer Jason Davidson, of Conroe, the police academy offered a second chance at life.
“I started out in sales and was laid off from that job and found myself working for Olive Garden a a server,” Davidson said. “I always wanted to be a police officer and was drawn to it.”
Davidson said he was waiting tables and decided that now was as good a time to become an officer.
“This is something I wanted to do since I was a child,” Davidson said. “I applied (to the academy) and they blessed me with an opportunity and privilege to join.”
The officers, who were presented their badges and had them pinned by family members, will now face nine weeks of field training as they ride along with their training officers.
After the initial probation, the new officers will be released on the streets by themselves, but will be on continued probation for 10 additional months.
Officers also were awarded with class honors for best physical training, weapon training and overall students.
Instructors with the academy also were recognized by the CPD.
Jamie L. Bridges can be reached at email@example.com.