Friday, March 6, 2009

Congratulations Recruit Class 2008-04

Last night recruit class 2008-04 graduated from the Police Academy. After months of studying and rigorous training, 27 men and women can now call themselves St. Louis police officers. The Chief of Police generally makes brief remarks at graduation, thanking the recruits for their willingness to serve and reminding them that though it will almost never be easy, it will almost always be rewarding. Then the president of the recruit class speaks. Officer Susie Lorthridge’s words last night were so powerful and such an example of the kind of police force that every department strives for, that I asked her to send me a copy so I could share some excerpts with you.

It has been a long, tough 28 weeks…………but we made it!

On August 25, 2008 we entered a realm we all hoped would end right here, right now, this very moment, becoming police officers for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Congratulations to my fellow classmates for making it this far, but we know, this is only the beginning. The best is yet to come.

Our time in the Academy has been filled with joy, pain, trials, triumphs, blood, sweat, tears, laughter, love, brotherhood, strength, and resilience. I’m not going to lie, it has not been easy, but more than anything it has been fun.

We were always very well behaved. Whatever the punches were, we rolled with them and that makes me thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful class of people. We are a cornucopia of various thoughts, dreams, ideals and ways of doing things. We are all unique individuals, but welded together great as one unit. We are the true definition of a team. Through it all we stuck together. One person’s weakness was the other person’s strength-- a delicate balance of multiple oneness.

It has been such an honor to have been your class president. I admire each and every one of you. Your relentless drive, passion, competitive spirit and need to win has truly inspired me. You are all my heroes! My brothers and sisters!

Throughout the Academy we have learned many valuable lessons including, but not limited too: Law, Human Behavior, Defensive Tactics, Report Writing, Patrol Tactics, Firearms Training, and life saving First Responder techniques. These levels of training were very necessary and crucial to be taught.

However, there are several other lessons that could not be taught-- lessons we had to own prior to being accepted into the academy….lessons like morals, core values, integrity, leadership, fairness, community, common sense and most of all…………HEART!

Doing the right thing when no one is looking, stepping up to the plate and taking initiative, having a survival mentality and knowing you will make it regardless of how the situation seems. You will conquer! You will win! I have confidence that we all have it. Now let’s go out there and show the City of St. Louis what we’re made of.

If I have one message to you, my class 2008-04, take all those things with you everyday, no matter where you are. We are the future of this department and the burden of public perception lies on our shoulders. We must be who we want to see in the world. We must be who we want to come to our aid call. We must treat others like we want to be treated, and most of all, we must be respectful. We must be respectful and forever vigil.

To the 2008-05 class, you all are next. Hang in there. Remember that respect is earned and humility goes a long way. You will always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so take every opportunity you can to make yourself better………..and NEVER GIVE UP!

Congratulations recruit class 2008-04. Stay safe. Now go make your family, our community and yourselves proud.