Police graduates get ready to 'open doors'

As he addressed the gathered audience on Friday morning, Chaplain Dave Henion used words such as "calling" and "ministry" to describe a career in law enforcement.

But it's clearly in the blood, too.

New officer Donald Moore's father and uncle were both police officers in Wichita, and new Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy Kevin Lovingier's grandfather was a deputy in Los Angeles County.

"He talked about it with such pride," Lovingier said of his grandfather.

Moore and Lovingier were chosen as presidents of their respective classes, which graduated Friday at the Sedgwick County Extension Center.

The class included 14 police officers, five sheriff's deputies and one airport police officer. Five of the 20 graduates were women.

The graduates survived 23 weeks of training that included weapons, tactics, being hit with a stun gun, running four miles in full uniform — and more than 110 lesson plans.

They now embark on 12 weeks of "field training," which pairs them with veteran officers and helps them apply classroom training to practical situations.

Police Chief Norman Williams spoke to the graduates and their loved ones during his brief speech.

Be prepared, Williams said, for the "ebbs and flows" of a career in law enforcement.

"One day is fun and enjoyable," he said. "The next day you're looking for a lost child, you're dealing with a domestic situation."

Their loved ones will have to endure the challenges of a job with non-traditional work hours and work days. Officers and deputies work nights, weekends, holidays.

"You're critical to providing that encouragement, that support, that continued love as they go through the trials and tribulations" of being a law enforcement officer, Williams said.

To the graduates, he said, "You get a chance to open doors and move mountains.

"Your honesty, your integrity are so important," he continued. "We are not above the law. We are entrusted to enforce the law. We are entrusted to set the example."

More than 820 people applied to become a sheriff's deputy, Sheriff Bob Hinshaw said.

A series of physical agility, written and oral tests trimmed that pool to 141. From that number, 39 files

were reviewed. Seven were accepted into the academy, he said, but only five graduated.

"This is an honor itself and an accomplishment to make it to this day," Hinshaw said.

Darren Moore can relate to what his son was feeling on Friday. He retired just last year as a deputy chief in the police department.

He said he had no idea his son wanted to go into law enforcement until the past year or two.

"He kept it a secret," Darren Moore said, his smile reflecting his pride.

But Donald Moore, 23, said Friday was the day he'd been looking forward to — and preparing for — his entire life.

"It's really exciting," he admitted before the ceremony. "I want to get out and apply what I've learned."