Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308
Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 12:40 p.m.
In late July, 14 Spokane police officers graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Academy.
The class is the most diverse in two decades. A blend of men and women of various backgrounds, who better reflect the community these new hires will serve and protect.
“So what we did is we’ve really expanded our efforts to get out in the community and find people we traditionally haven’t gone to,” explained Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl.
We first met the members of BLEA class 804 back in January.
At the time, physical fitness was one of their biggest challenges. That, and getting used to wearing all the gear that goes with being a cop.
But then, COVID – 19 restrictions came along shutting down all Academy training for five weeks.
Recruits also saw their new career field come under fire after the death of George Floyd.
Yet, all 14 students persevered, still anxious to put their new police skills to work. During Class 804’s graduation ceremony, Class President Britton Ballard explained why none of these rookies never came close to giving up.
“I’ve wanted to be a police officer for as long as I can remember. When I was little, people would tell me all the great things about being a police officer. That it was a heroic job, a prideful job. That I would be helping people,” Ballard said.
“As I’ve been hired and going through this process, the narrative has changed. Now, people tell me that it is a corrupt job. A brutality job. A racist job. They ask me, ‘are you sure you want to be a police officer in this climate’. I think most of my classmate would agree with me and say, ‘yes’. Yes, we want to do this job. Now, maybe, more than ever. Now, not only do we have the ability and the chance to change people’s lives, we also have the chance to change their hearts and minds as well. We have the chance to prove the narrative is wrong and have the chance to prove police officers are good,” predicted Ballard.
“Each of us signed up to help people. It is our passion our drive, our goal. We don’t need to be liked or loved; we just need to be able to make a positive impact on other’s lives. I believe we have a great opportunity to change this new narrative. To show people what it means to truly be a police officer,” emphasized Ballard.
Ballard and his fellow classmates will spend the next four months riding with veteran officers in their field training cars.
Class 804 graduates are expected to be patrolling Spokane neighborhoods, on their own, by Christmas.