Academy Graduates 'Honored' to Join Profession
7/26/2016 4:16:06 p.m. - Hobbs, NM.
[Story from Hobbs News Sun June 17, 2016 by Kelly Farrell]
Beaming friends, family and colleagues crowded together Wednesday morning to congratulate the newest graduates of the Southeastern New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy. Class A-16-36 filed into the Lea County Event Center's banquet hall to the sound of bagpipes and concluded 16 weeks of intensive training at the New Mexico Junior College. Seven of the 22 graduates are sponsored by Lea County law enforcement agencies.
SNMLEA Director Angela Byrd said the class started with 30 cadets, before graduating 22, and described them as "very well skilled" and ready.
"We're very proud of them," she said after the ceremony. "They've come a long way. They demonstrated perseverance and commitment to the job. For some reason, this class has kind of taken to my heart. Maybe because I watched them transform so much from a citizen to a law enforcement officer. Their attitude is really good and I appreciate their efforts. I'm proud for them and I wish them all the best out on the streets."
Hobbs Fire Chief Manny Gomez presented each cadet with their diploma before they had their badges pinned on by loved ones and then took an oath of honor administered by Lovington Magistrate Court Judge David Finger.
Cadets Todd Dimock, Jorge Soriano, Daniel Soto, Jr., David Torres will work for the Hobbs Police Department. Meanwhile, the Jal Police Department had two graduates in Javier Duarte and Joshua Thomas. The Lea County Sheriff's Office had one graduate with Julian Garcia.
"I can't describe it with words," Garcia said about graduating. "I really can't describe it. It's a really nice feeling. Honors you, honors your community, honors your family."
He called it an honor to have the title of peace officer and discussed the 16 weeks of hard work, which was also mentioned by HPD cadet David Torres.
"This is the highest pinnacle of all my achievements," Torres said. "I put a lot of time and effort into this -- to stand up there. There's not a greater feeling in the world."
Hobbs Police Chief Chris McCall gave the keynote address and discussed responsibility, officer safety and the law enforcement profession. He challenged the graduates to conduct themselves in an "honorable and ethical manner."
"We're very excited to have these four complete the academy and move into the phase -- we're going to start their field training," McCall said of the graduates going to HPD. "We've been looking forward to them coming out now for 16 weeks and joining the ranks. We're proud to have them."
He said it was a "great honor" to address the class and appreciated the academy for giving him the opportunity.
The other graduates are sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish, New Mexico Livestock Board, Otero County Sheriff's Office and the Carlsbad Police Department. David Davis, of the NMDGF, delivered the distinguished graduate address and discussed the class motto, "If I'm alive, I'll come." He also thanked the academy's staff and local law enforcement agencies for their training.
Kelly Farrell can be reached at 391-5437 or courts@ hobbsnews.com.
[Photo: KIMBERLY RYAN/NEWS-SUN Cadet Javier Duarte, of the Jal Police Department, has his badge pinned on during the New Mexico Junior College Class #A-16-36 Southeastern New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy graduation Wednesday at Lea County Event Center.]