By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Eleven police cadets stood at attention and took the oath that turned them into Norman police officers Thursday afternoon at the Norman Masonic Lodge.
They had been escorted by the Oklahoma Scottish Pipes and Drums, honored by police leadership, and had badges pinned on their chests by emotional family members as cameras flashed.
The tradition-rich ceremony was solemn yet joyous in mood, and those eleven proud new officers left prepared to lay their lives on the line for Norman.
“Very few of us accomplish things in our lives by ourselves,” guest speaker Sen. John Sparks said.
Sparks, a Norman resident, commended the families and friends of the graduates for supporting them through the rigorous training demanded by their new profession.
“Your character will be on display at times you don’t realize it,” he said.
He encouraged them to be their best and to reflect on this as a “watershed moment.”
“It’s my hope and my prayer that you return home safely every night,” Sparks said.
The class was distinguished by strong leadership, Lt. Lance Arnold said. He said the training is vigorous and includes 1,000 hours, with 70 hours of community policing and human relations.
“From the moment this class entered 3942 S. Jenkins, we’ve been taking on challenges,” said cadet Matthew DeWalt, who was chosen by his peers to speak as the academy representative at the ceremony.
DeWalt also was later honored with the class leadership award. Also honored were Daniel Brown, Cody Adkins and Leslie Dixon.
Brown earned the academic award with a 99.18 average on tests in a strong class that had a 96 overall average.
Adkins was honored for firearms as a result of his 98 percent on firearms courses, and Leslie Dixon, the only woman in the class, achieved the fitness award with a 95 percent average on all three tests, which included 100 percent on the last test.
Chief Keith Humphrey talked forthrightly to the cadets, reminding them to keep their priorities in place and to remember to spend time with their families and relax when not on duty. He also stressed Norman’s message of community policing.
“In some people’s lives, they only encounter a police officer once,” Humphrey said. “You set the tone.”
Humphrey said Norman residents have shown their support for the police force time and again.
“Citizens deserve to have the best quality service,” he said. “That’s what we do here at the Norman Police Department ... You are the best of the best. Not everyone can be a police officer, and, specifically, not everyone can be a Norman police officer.”
Humphrey said it’s a good time to become a police officer with advances in technology and all of the positives things being implemented in Norman. He told them to demonstrate their abilities but stay humble and remember they are human.
“Never forget where you came from,” he said. “Never forget that you’ve got people at home waiting for you.”
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