Police Academy Graduates Important As Ever

Friday, February 8th 2008, 6:54 pm
By: News On 6

They come from all walks of life and now they'll be walking the beat.  The latest class at the Tulsa Police Academy graduated on Friday.  The News On 6's Steve Berg reports with a chronic police shortage, the graduates are more important than ever, but it's not just about quantity.  They're quality.

After 26 grueling weeks of training, it was all smiles on Friday at the Tulsa Police Academy.

"I knew it was going to be tough.  I don't know if it was tougher than I thought it would be, because I knew it was going to be hard," said Amy Hoehner.

Hoehner is no stranger to law enforcement, spending 10 years as a dispatcher.  But that's just mental stress.

"Not the physical stress," said Hoehner

There's marksmanship and obstacle courses, hand-to-hand combat training and maybe the hardest thing to watch, deliberately taking a face full of pepper spray.

But Hoehner says she was inspired by an officer who was killed in the line of duty.

"Who at his funeral, it was obvious how much he had affected the community, and at that time I pretty much figured out that was my calling, that was what I wanted to do," said Hoehner.

Brandon Jarrett follows in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, as the fourth generation to serve with the Tulsa Police.

"I couldn't imagine anything else, honoring these guys.  Great men.  It's just the best thing I could do," said Brandon Jarrett.

"I was afraid he might have this in his mind, in the back of his mind.  But he'll do well," said Mike Jarrett who is a retired police officer.

It's dangerous work and requires sacrifice and they can't wait.

"It's scary.  Because we're not within the four walls anymore.  We're put out there and we have to prove ourselves right then and there," said Hoehner.

Another graduated echoed those feelings.

"I'm a little apprehensive.  I'm real excited.  A little nervous, but I'm definitely ready to take the next step," said Andrew Dawson.  "I also want to drive fast and have fun."

The officers will now have 16 weeks of training in the field, alongside a training officer and then they'll go solo.