July 7, 2017

Those that protect and serve.

Our Huntsville Police Academy is graduating 23 new officers this week and I couldn’t be more proud.

We always kid the graduates that, eight weeks from now there will be a rise in traffic tickets because they’ll finally be on the road by themselves and eager to work and dive into their responsibilities. But, seriously, it’s a great group of young people who are willing to step up and make sure we’re a safe community.

Sometimes people forget that police are just like us, with day-to-day struggles, with children to raise, bills to pay, the same frustrations we all face. Then they jump in their cars for eight hours of demanding work.

Nobody is ever calling them to invite them in for a piece of pie. Instead, they’re getting call after call after call from somebody in a desperate situation, somebody in need of help, or about somebody who has stepped out of line. Or sometimes it’s just somebody who needs the basics of what a human can offer, a listening ear or a helping hand.

I realize the system isn’t perfect and not all police officers are perfect. But as I’ve traveled across the state, I hear other elected officials speak with pride about their police departments. But they wish that even more would be done in Montgomery to support our law enforcement community, to assure top-notch training and to demand excellence.

I’ve had a chance to meet a lot of Alabama State Troopers, sheriffs and police chiefs in different towns I’ve visited, and everyone one of those guys has done the same thing as our cadets in Huntsville are about to do. They’ve pinned on the badge and stepped into the breach and made a difference in their communities, making sure we’re a state of law and order. Each one of these guys are special people. They don’t do it for the money. They do it for service to mankind.

Now, after four months of intense training, we’re graduating 23 more into that fraternity of officers in Huntsville. They’re eager to go out and serve and protect. They swear an oath to uphold the laws of the State of Alabama and uphold the Constitution.

They’re joined by their significant others, who pin a badge on them. And if don’t get a tear brought to your eye, you haven’t watched closely enough as each one of those cadets gets his badge pinned on and gets ready to walk out as a police officer, ready to serve and make their communities and our state a better place.