Lexington police welcome 28 men and three women as class of 2013 graduates

Lexington Police's 2013 graduating class includes 28 men and three women. They'll hit the streets Monday with an experienced mentor.
Lexington Police's 2013 graduating class includes 28 men and three women. They'll hit the streets Monday with an experienced mentor.

Law enforcement runs deep in the bloodlines of Lance Greene.

Following in the footsteps of his father, a retired state trooper, and his brother, a former police officer, Greene said his graduation Friday from the Lexington Division of Police Academy was a dream come true.

"It's a great accomplishment," said Greene, 27. "I can't describe enough how much this training staff has helped me become a better man, better person and a person fit to help the community."

Greene and 30 other police recruits filled the first four rows at Tates Creek Christian Church Friday morning to be announced as the academy's 2013 graduating class.

The ceremony for the class of 28 men and three women was filled with family, friends, city officials and reporters.

The graduation marks the end of a seven-month academy where recruits were trained in, among other things, traffic stops and defense tactics. They were even hit with a Taser.

"It's definitely worth it," said Greene, with a smile. "You grow as a person. You see others grow. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything."

Greene, who worked as a bartender and server before entering the academy, said he always wanted to be a public servant and couldn't wait to hit the streets.

He won't have to wait long. Their first day is Monday.

"After graduation these individuals will go into their field training officer phase," said Sherelle Roberts, police spokeswoman. "They will have a field training officer out on the street, and that person will be a mentor. They will help them learn the ropes and apply everything they learned in the classroom."

Each mentor is put through a selection and educational process to ensure trainees are appropriately paired, said Roberts. After 15 weeks of training, the officers will begin patrolling by themselves.

Michelle Patton, 30, had her mother and sister cheering her on.

"They are probably more nervous than me," she said. "We talked about it (the job) and made sure that it aligned with what my vision was."

Patton had moved to Louisville for school and worked at Walgreens before coming back to Lexington and entering the academy.

"It's good to come back home and be a part of my community," she said. "This is something I always wanted to do. I just went with my heart and gut and I'm glad that I did."

Roberts said the new class brings the staffing level to 537 on the police force.

"We always want to maintain our staffing levels to the point where we can continue to offer a high level of service to the citizens of Lexington," she said.

Dilyana Nicolova, 27, moved from Bulgaria at 16 and has worked in politics and as a retail manager. She said being a public servant has always been a dream.

"It's been a long journey," she said. "It means so much to serve this community. I can't wait to get out there and talk to people and meet new people."

When asked by reporters whether she found her calling, Nicolova responded with a smile and said, "I did."