Police Academy

A little over 25 years ago, a friend of mine graduated from a local police academy and I went to his graduation ceremony. I had never been to a police graduation ceremony before, or since, so I had no real idea what to expect.  There were about 40 new officers graduating that day, between the ages of 19 and 30.  My friend was 28.  The crowd in attendance were mostly made up of immediate family and a few friends of the graduating students.  The mayor was there, the police chief, etc.  Each took their turn to give a short speech of congratulations, etc.  It was an interesting ceremony.  

There was one part of the ceremony, that even to this day, I find myself wondering about.  In my mind, it just seemed a tad bit out of place, although I can certainly see the reason for including it in the ceremony, I keep thinking about the fathers and mothers in the gathering, and try to think what must have been going through their minds.  These were the three awards given out to the top three students.  One was for accident investigation, the other was for top marks during the exams, and the third was for marksmanship and proficiency with firearms.  All legitimate awards, I am sure.  I have no issue with this.  The part I was a little taken back with was this, each award was named in memory of a fallen police officer, which again, I can see no problem with this.  Makes perfect sense.  You want to honor a fallen police officer, a man or woman who put their life on the line so others may sleep safely.  However, that is not quite how it came out...

The first award was was given to the top student for accident investigation.  The student who was awarded this award was to come forward and receive a scroll, which I assume was meant to be later framed and hung on the recipients wall.  This award was given to a young, 19 year old woman police officer.  Fresh faced, young, with a certain bounce to her step that told you she was proud of her accomplishment, and good for her too.  While she was walking up to receive her award, the Police Chief read, out loud, so all could hear, the story behind each award.  They went something like this:

"Sgt James McGavin award is given each year to the student who achieved the highest marks in accident investigation.   Sgt James McGavin was a 23 veteran of the police who while responding to an accident in the city was brutally set upon by two armed thugs who forced the officer onto his knees where upon he was shot in the head four times and left dead in his own pool of blood".

The next award was "Office Spanger" award, for the student who achieved the highest marks during the exams.  "Officer Spanger was a police officer with the city for 5 years.  While investigating a break-in in an alleyway the perpetrator lunged out of the darkness and slashed his throat leaving him to die alone in a pool of his own blood.  It was evident that he lived for at least 25 minutes before succumbing to his wound.  His body was discover one hour later by a city garbage truck crew".  

The last ward was similar, talking about an officer who was ambushed while driving his police cruiser to a crime in progress and was brutally gunned down at point blank range by at least two assailants, while the officer was trapped in his car.  To make sure the officer was dead, the thugs pumped three more bullets into the back of the officer's head.

My first thought was, "Wow... what a cheery bunch of stories to hear when you are graduating from a police academy.  I am sure that put the families in attendance at peace with their child's career choice".  Detailing each death seemed a bit out of place and inappropriate for such a happy occasion... but then perhaps that is just me.

PastPilot PastPilot
51-55, M
1 Response Jan 7, 2013

I can see your point. Yeah, wow. *lol* Guess they don't want to sugarcoat such things. Making sure to remind everyone with examples of the kinds of situations they could find themselves in. Harsh yes but true. It's a tough job.