Police chief asks new officers to show compassion

Jul. 23, 2013 @ 08:11 PM

Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez asked 10 newly minted officers Tuesday to keep their badges shiny by behaving professionally and to show compassion toward others.

“You have a lot of tools,” Lopez said at the Durham Police Academy graduation ceremony at Duke Memorial United Methodist Church. “But one tool that you cannot put a price on is compassion. Make sure you keep that compassion, and let it grow for those that you deal with.”

The Basic Law Enforcement Training Class that graduated Tuesday night includes 10 new officers – eight men and two women, who range in age from 21 to 31. Eight have four-year college degrees and two have some college education. One new officer is from Durham and four have relatives who are former or current law enforcement officers.

The academy included 26 weeks of classes, which will be followed by more training while on patrol.

Lopez asked the graduating class to “remember this day.”

“Remember who you are,” he said. “Make sure you represent this department in a very positive way, because everything you do good will make the rest of this organization look good. Everything you do wrong will impact this police department, so make sure that you don’t tarnish this badge that we’re giving you today.”

Also speaking was class leader Kayla Blevins, who thanked her police academy instructors for “pushing us to be the best.”

“Every day was a test to see if we were meant to be an officer,” she said.

Through “blood, sweat and hard work,” the class developed a bond that endures, Blevins said.

“We learned really quick that if one fails, we all fail,” she said.

Blevins ended by reminding her fellow officers that their job requires excellence.

“Every day, we have the ability to protect the weak and vulnerable, and we will,” she said.

“Every day, we will have the chance to fight crime and foster hope, and we should.
“And every day, we will be called upon to be courageous, and we must.”

In addition to Blevins, the new officers are Michael Antonides, Brentley Brown, Christopher Foley, Joshua Mashburn, Laurel Nuyen, Morgan Riddle, Justin Rose, Jeremy Rushton and Edwin Valerio.