Life will forever be different for 17 officers who graduated Friday from the basic law enforcement training course.
“Life will change, especially in this uniform,” said Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Chambers, who was presented with the American flag that flew over the training center after being honored as top gun and having the highest academic average. “People are going to look at me differently and expect more of me.”
It’s the second uniform the 31-year-old officer has worn after serving eight years in the Marines.
“I got out and felt like I could do more good in America than overseas,” he said.
He’s one of eight officers who will be employed by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. Other graduates have jobs waiting with the marshal’s office and sheriff’s offices in Columbia and Jefferson counties.
The 11-week class, conducted at the Richmond County sheriff’s training center in Blythe, is part of the Regional Police Academy that rotates to different counties every year.
After a luncheon at Enterprise Mill, the officers, outfitted in their uniforms for the first time, had their badges pinned on by wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, and law enforcement mentors.
“It was a class of some tremendously talented individuals who show some tremendous character,” Lt. Bill Probus said.
It’s a job that brings with it excitement and fear.
Longtime officers advised their new brethren of their futures, which might not be easy all the time. There will be missed birthdays and anniversaries, cold dinners, late nights, scary or heartbreaking encounters, and sooner or later someone is going to claim they pay their salary or have their boss on speed dial. No matter how demanding or frustrating, it’s all for the greater purpose.
“I started my career 21 years ago tomorrow (Saturday),” Sheriff Richard Roundtree said. “I never thought that I could be sheriff, but that’s where this job can lead you.”
Graduate and new Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Andrews was honored with the Georgia flag, which flew over Class 205’s training grounds during the course.
“I wish you the best. Always do your best but never give up,” said Maj. Richard Dixon, director of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Augusta.