Tuscaloosa Police Academy hosts graduation Thursday

Families, friends and new co-workers filled the Church of the Highlands auditorium Thursday in support of Tuscaloosa Law Enforcement 23-01 graduating class.

The class had 30 members.

Their keynote speaker was Jacksonville State University Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety Michael Barton.

“Just as the recent events in Nashville and Louisville, as well as how the firefighters and police officers ran in the burning tumbling towers on 9/11, so will you when responding to domestic violence calls, as active threat at a school or business, when breaching a door at and executing a search warrant, pursuing a fleeing felon, pulling a drowning child to safety, or rescuing an elderly person from smoke and flames,” Barton said. “You will run in when others are running out because you are different. You are called and sworn to serve and protect.”

In a world where law enforcement officers are often put in harm’s way, it’s understandable why fewer and fewer young people are getting into the profession, but these recent graduates said they are not afraid.

“I understand the dangers,” graduate Hunter Lentz said. “I always know the Lord has my back no matter where I go. He is going to take care of me. I always have to be safe. I know the Lord has my back and I know where I am going not matter what happens.”

Graduates told WVUA 23 News why they feel called to serve and protect despite the dangers of wearing the badge.

“Whether I am having a good day or a bad day, I want to make sure everyone else is having a good day and keep them safe,” graduate Trenton Page said. “Especially in the day and age with the way it is going with kids in schools. I want to make sure I protect as many people as I can. That goes for the entire community as well. I want to try to keep as many people safe as I can.”

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