EDITOR'S NOTE: In Tupelo Friday morning, a long-standing tradition -- the graduation of new officers from the police academy. In an era when some law enforcement agencies are having trouble holding on to police officers, the new crop of graduates couldn't have come at a better time. WTVA's Mike Russell attended the ceremony and filed this story.
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - It was a gathering of the proud - the proud cadets, glad to be finished with their training - and their proud families and friends, glad to see the cadets moving another step closer to their careers in law enforcement. For the 26 officers, graduating from the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Center, the commencement ceremony was a great feeling.
"Besides getting married, this is the best feeling I've had in a long time," said graduate Joshua Busby, who'll be working for the Batesville Police Department. "It's the best day, we've worked very hard. All the ladies and the gentlemen that we've been working with...we've fought and we've pushed ourselves to the limit. So this is definitely the best feeling, the best day for everybody here."
Zack Berryman, a graduate who will work for the Tupelo Police Department, couldn't agree more.
"This is the culmination of twelve weeks," he said, "just coming together as a brotherhood of police officers and going through everything we have; it's just an honor to be here with all these guys."
The majority of the graduates are already headed to jobs at various police and sheriff's departments from Corinth to Tupelo to Bruce, and even to the Mississippi Department of Corrections and Ole Miss. The three who haven't yet been placed will likely have jobs in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, this band of brothers and sisters -- and their families -- are reveling in their achievement. Now, they take their places with their fellow officers on the Thin Blue Line.
FINAL NOTE: This is the 57th graduating class from the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Center. It costs $3600 to train these officers over the 12-week course.