Steve McKenna joked that his law enforcement career got off to a shaky start when he showed up late on the first day of the Wichita Police Department’s training academy.
“I was told by my first lieutenant to be there at 7:30,” he said Friday during a graduation ceremony at City Hall. “A second lieutenant told everybody else to be there at 7:15. I didn’t get the memo. I got there at 7:20.
“We had to do extra PT (physical training) that day.”
Despite the rough start, McKenna was elected class president of the department’s Winter Class of 2013, and he had the honor of addressing the more than 100 people who attended their graduation ceremony in the City Council chambers at City Hall.
Capt. Troy Livingston told those in the audience that the 14 graduates, who were selected from several hundred applicants, completed 23 weeks of training that included 110 lessons on such topics as ethics, diversity training and defensive tactics. The officers now begin 12 weeks of field training that will pair each new officer with a veteran.
Chief Norman Williams asked relatives of the new officers to have patience when they have to be away from home at night and on weekends.
“Even though they’re working third shift and fourth watch, that doesn’t meant they don’t love you,” he said.
Williams told the recruits they were bound to be criticized, but he urged them to remember why they chose the profession.
“We are last line of defense when it comes to helping people,” he said. “You hold ability to make a difference in people’s lives.”
During his comments, McKenna jokingly thanked a training lieutenant who “went from having three children to having 17” and a training sergeant who started asking, “ ‘Does it smell like pepper in here?’ days before we were pepper-sprayed.”
McKenna is the third member of his immediate family to serve on the Wichita police force. His brother, Kevin McKenna, is a current member of the department, and his father, Mike McKenna, is a retired police lieutenant.
“I’m extremely proud of both boys,” Mike McKenna said after the ceremony.
Other members of the new class are Christopher D. Bloss, Cort F. DePeugh, Brandon W. Faulkner, Tristan R. Fellows, Sage M. Hemmert, Vanessa J. Hill, Jason D. Lane, Alli A. Larison, Aaron M. Moses, Dane K. Meyers, Matthew C. Powell, Tiah W. Smith and Clayton P. Van Daley.