BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Twenty-nine brave men and women graduated Monday. Their families and friends joined them as they began their journey as Baton Rouge Police officers, a responsibility they're grateful to have.
"Hearing all the good, positive things about the Baton Rouge Police Department, it just motivated me more to get out there and get involved," said Matthew Wallace, class president for the 84th Basic Training Academy.
Wallace says this 22 week journey has been amazing. "It was an accomplishment. It was a feeling that you can't really describe. The training, you can never prepare for it. I tried to prepare for the academy; when I got there, man it was just an explosion," he said.
And Wallace isn't alone. His colleague, Benjamin Sanders, says the road was long, but worth it. "Physically, it's a tough journey, very tough, but you gotta' have the presence of mind and the physical attributes to make through and seem easy even though it's a hard task," he said.
Like many of his classmates, Sanders dreamed of serving his community. Monday was one step closer to fulfilling his destiny. "I've always wanted to be a police officer, and I started out in the education field and it was just, I was ready for a change," said Sanders.
Sanders says their goal isn't just to protect and serve, but to help build trust as well. "We all want to bridge the gap between the police department and the community and do our best in whatever we can to make that better for the City of Baton Rouge," he said.
The graduates will now join veteran officers in the field as they continue training.