The largest class of Lexington police recruits since 1998 graduated from their training academy Thursday, adding 40 officers to the city’s police force.
The recruits celebrated their graduation in a packed auditorium at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s Newtown Campus. The ceremony, set to begin at 11:30 a.m., was delayed about 30 minutes when the father of a recruit passed out in the auditorium and was taken to a hospital.
“You’re taking on a big responsibility for the city of Lexington,” Mayor Jim Gray told the class. “Your friends and family will see you as a police officer and that goes when outside of uniform.”
Lexington police haven’t seen a graduating class this large in 18 years
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Guest speaker Richard Gaines, a pastor from Consolidated Baptist Church, urged the recruits to remember the diversity of Lexington while on the job.
“More than ever, your work is being criticized and scrutinized for the actions of a small minority,” Gaines said. “You must know your place, and by that, I mean the geographic area of Lexington, Kentucky.”
Service to the community was emphasized during the ceremony and at the academy.The class was involved with several community efforts during their training, including a clean-up of Duncan Park, a Habitat for Humanity building project, and the Shop with a Cop program.
Though their academy training is complete, Public Safety Commissioner Ronnie Bastin told the recruits their education wasn’t over.
“You’re getting a license to learn and you’re going to learn every day from now on,” Bastin said.