On Tuesday, we welcomed 54 new deputies to our Sheriff’s Office family. The graduation ceremony – and each cadet’s pledge to our sacred oath of office – was the culmination of resilience, teamwork, and a passion to serve others.
Our academy training lays the foundation for a deputy’s entire law enforcement career. It equips them with the knowledge, tools, skills, and mindset to carry out our mission and core values.
During their journey, cadets engaged in 1,172 hours of curriculum, ranging from classroom instruction and firearms training to simulations and emergency vehicle operations. The training topics included critical crisis intervention, de-escalation techniques, tactical communications, and the Texas Penal Code.
The camaraderie built over the past 31 weeks will last a lifetime. For many, this bond started on day one. Cadets shared personal stories about what led them to the academy – and what motivated them to keep going.
When one cadet recognized he was struggling with the physical fitness training, he took on the challenge and leaned on a deputy to keep him accountable. The pair met on the weekends to train and build his endurance.
For Deputy Instructor Arispe, the most rewarding aspect of the job is the satisfaction she receives from comparing the cadets she met on the first class day to the ones we saw before us on Tuesday evening.
Each one of our newest deputies pursued this profession for a noble reason. They just took different paths to earn the Pride of Texas patch.
Some dreamed of becoming a police officer since they were a kid. Some followed the footsteps of a family member who wore the same uniform. Some served in the military and saw this as the next chapter in their service to our community. Others may have looked at it as a place to help others.
Deputy Kirksey, who served our country in the U.S. Air Force for six years, and is still serving as a reservist, was on the journey to become a peace officer for nearly a decade. Many times, he found himself starting the cadet application process and putting his dream on hold after receiving a deployment assignment. But the new deputy never lost sight of his calling.
Another new deputy said he will never forget the joy he felt at a local toy drive hosted by a police department. He knows being a good peace officer is more than patrolling a neighborhood – it’s investing in the communities you serve; it’s lending a hand to those in need.
We are also inspired by the story of Deputy Nylander who was motivated to serve after witnessing a grueling civil war in his native hometown of Sierra Leone in West Africa. He saw the heroic actions and sacrifices made by those in uniform first-hand.
The class motto is “Respect All, Fear None.” It means embracing people’s differences and perspectives. It means having an open mind and striving to learn from others. We cannot think of a more fitting motto in this pivotal moment.
At the podium on Tuesday, I challenged them to handle each call and assignment with pride. Even on what may be their most difficult days, they must have a servant leader’s heart.
We hope this sentiment about who they are and the difference they can make follows them every shift of their career. They are now preparing to enter field training. Today they are meeting faith-based leaders and learning more about the diverse communities in our county. It’s another crucial step to ensure we’re doing all we can to best serve you.
We are proud of them and wish them well. They are the Pride of Texas.