LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It took Caleb Holder and his fellow police recruits 927 hours to make their way to the City Bank Coliseum stage.
"It was special," Holder said. "We put in 24 weeks of hard work to get here. We're mostly all just excited to start work tomorrow."
Holder is one of the 11 recruits in the Class of 2015 Alpha who were sworn into the Lubbock Police Department on Friday afternoon. He worked as a photojournalist for KCBD before deciding it was time to follow in the footsteps of his father, who served in LPD for 30 years.
"You do start over," Holder said. "From Day 1 in the Academy, they teach you everything – how to act; they teach us how to write properly; how to protect ourselves and investigate crimes."
The recruits had to complete three different classroom courses, go through intensive training and become proficient in skills like shooting.
Honor Graduate Jonathan Larsen says quickly coming together as a team was the secret to his class' success in the Academy.
"For me to call one of my classmates to help me out with whatever I need and relying on them through physical training and defensive tactics, and just to return the favor is such a humbling experience," Larsen said. "The whole camaraderie and team work together is huge and is what gets you through."
The graduating class brings the number of officers in the police department up to 403. While the new recruits are entering the force during a pivotal time, Interim Police Chief Jerry Brewer says it will do its best to achieve a state of normalcy.
"We've tried to get that across – that everything is the same as before with just a few different people in some key positions," Brewer said.
Now, the members of the Class of 2015 Alpha are looking forward to applying their skills and patrolling the streets.
"Joining the police department – especially the Lubbock Police Department – was my way of contributing to that – just protecting the citizens and helping whoever I can, whenever I can," Larsen said.