COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Colorado Springs Police Department has just added 60 new officers to its force. The 70th Recruit Class, containing 47 men and 13 women, graduated Thursday, and the recruits are now officially officers.
These new officers were chosen out of 1,293 applicants, and they have spent 27 weeks preparing for this moment.
“They have to make sure that we won’t quit out on the streets, because too much is riding on it,” said Officer Robert McGee, a member of the 70th Recruit Class.
For some of them, it’s hard to believe they’ve finally made it.
“It is and it isn’t,” said McGee. “It’s hard to believe but now that we’ve graduated and we have our badges, it’s time to get out there and start serving.”
Each member of the 70th Recruit Class, the largest ever in the history of Colorado Springs, took an oath in front of their family and friends to follow and enforce the law.
And Mayor John Suthers made a promise to stand behind them as long as they do.
“When you adhere to the law and department policy, you have my solemn commitment that your mayor and your city will stand behind you, regardless of any political pressures to do otherwise,” said Suthers.
A shiny new badge was pinned onto each new officer for the very first time by a loved one, someone who no doubt has and will continue to make their own sacrifices for this career of service.
“My wife Ashley did it,” said McGee. “Any spouse of a police officer is going to have to make sacrifices, absolutely, anything from the level of danger that you’re going to put yourself through on a daily basis to the shift work or overtime. Basically just every component of the job puts a little bit of stress on the family, but she supports me fully and I love her for it.”
It’s been a long arduous journey to graduation, and Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said they had all been pushed and challenged both physically and mentally. He then instructed the class to savor this moment.
“After all these years I still remember what it felt like to have that badge pinned to my uniform,” he said. “Savor it, remember it and honor everything the badge means.”
But there’s not much time to celebrate, as duty calls, and these new officers have to get to work right away.
“That’s okay. I’d rather get out there and get started,” said McGee. “Honestly, I just want a call for service. I just want my first call for service as an actual police officer.”
After more than 1,000 hours of training together, these new officers will be spread out throughout the department, on different shifts and in different substations.
“My fellow officers are committed, courageous, honor-driven, motivated, eager to laugh, and ready to serve just like I am,” said McGee.
And they’ll forever share a bond that cannot be broken.
“There’s not a person in here that I wouldn’t work with, there’s not a person in here that I wouldn’t rush on a call to help protect, not a person in here that I wouldn’t take a bullet for,” said McGee. “Bottom line is these are the people that you want out on the streets, representing Colorado Springs, representing the police force, and representing you, hands down.”
The next CSPD recruit class starts March 16. The 72nd Recruit Class will start in November.