The Lubbock police force is 35 officers stronger tonight. The department graduated the officers after they completed 23 weeks of training. Each officer was issued a gun and a badge at Friday afternoon's ceremony. NewsChannel 11 was given an inside look at the academy through the eyes of three recruits, Kody Nesbitt, Olivia Lopez, and Jonathan Tutino. Each have different reasons for joining the force, but they all have the same goal, to serve and protect their community.
The academy began with 44 recruits on February 14th. Olivia Lopez said she joined the force because, "It kind of feels right. Feels like it's my purpose." Kody Nesbitt said, "My father was an officer for 26 years before he died of cancer, so it was always a calling." And Jonathan Tutino said, "I want to help an entire community. I couldn't imagine anything else."
But before they get the badge, they have to go through intense physical training, and then pass the fitness test. Tutino says he got through the training by remembering this quote, "What does not kill me makes me stronger."
Along the way, some found out being a police officer was harder than it looked. Each recruit was sad to lose a friend, but as Tutino said, "We lost some, we're down to 39. If you don't have the heart or the desire to do it, just not going to hang around."
Heading into the next phase, our three recruits held strong. Even through the writing, the tests, and the hours of homework Olivia has two kids and said with hours of homework, she would get home at six just to study and go to bed by 11.
Half way through the academy, things started to heat up. Recruits learned weapons, defensive tactics, and had to experience being pepper sprayed and tazed. Recruits said they were tested to their limits both mentally and physically.
Through it all, the three recruits kept going strong. Kody said, "There were times when I thought I would quit, but it feels so good that I know we're going to be helping people on the streets."
The recruits will begin their 15 week field training in a week. Currently, the board is interviewing for the next police academy that will begin August 22nd.
|Courts & Crime|