20 new recruits graduate, join police force
The Durham Police Department added 20 new men and women to its force Tuesday evening as rookies received their badges for the first time.
The Basic Law Enforcement Training Class was the 39th to graduate in Durham. During members’ training, they had to take classes, pass physical fitness tests and other grueling police training.
During the ceremony the graduates were reminded of all the hours of training they had to endure and the grueling tasks of firearms practices and driving courses.
Police Chief Jose Lopez Sr. spoke to the graduating class, reminding them that after all the work they put into training, there were the people standing by them.
“They didn’t do it alone,” he said.
The class, which recently caught the attention of City Council members for being predominately white, was lauded by Lopez for being the best recruits. At the beginning of their training, there were a total of 25 recruits. At graduation, 20 remained. Of those 20, 14 are white, four are black and two are Hispanic.
After recent criticism of the department and the lack of diversity in the class, Lopez reminded the recruits to ignore any “sensationalism,” telling the rookies to “continue to reach for the highest standards.”
Emily Keefer, was one of the newest members of the force to graduate on Tuesday. She was selected as the class leader and spoke to her comrades as well as the audience about the challenges – physically and mentally – when it came to training.
Keefer said she was honored to speak at the ceremony after the many months the class spent bonding.
“We survived,” she said.
During the ceremony all 20 graduates received their official police badge. Lopez pinned the majority of the rookies, a few of whom had family members that were officers were pinned by those members.
“We can’t wait to get started,” Keefer said.