Six SPD officers sworn in

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Amid blinding camera flashes and plentiful applause, six male officers were sworn in at the Selma Police Department Tuesday afternoon – a momentous event according to Police Chief Jimmy Martin.

“Since I’ve been in office, this is the largest amount of officers sworn in at any one time,” Martin said.

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Before Martin and Municipal Court Judge Christmas Green, James Bevel, Ray Blanks, Daniel Boone, Eugene Dooling, Robert Johnson and Jason Whitt vowed to never betray their badges, their integrity, their character or the public’s trust.

“I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the constitution, my community and the agency I serve to the best of my abilities,” the newly minted officers promised, their left hands placed on a small, leather-bound Policeman’s Bible, their right hands raised to the sky.

After being sworn in, some officers opted to have their loved ones pin their badges. Smiles were wide and proud tears were shed.

The new additions are coming in at the perfect time. During the last two months, three police officers have retired and one is overseas, Martin said. Including the new officers, there are currently 59 officers employed at the SPD. With plans to seek out more prospects next month, Martin said his vision of a complete police force is 64 officers.

Martin noted the officers are not yet certified, citing they must complete a 12-week training session and attend police academy in May. Until then, the rookies are the shadows of seasoned officers. Martin said there are instances when officers fail to complete the training process, but has hope the “young and energetic” group will pull through.

At the ceremony’s conclusion, Martin issued a few words of wisdom to the officers. Martin said it is essential officers maintain a positive attitude about the badge and gun they carry. As public servants for the City of Selma, Martin encouraged the group to keep a sound head, an open mind and listen to the concerns of the community.

“Don’t ever put yourself above anyone else and don’t stoop down to the level of a would be criminal,” Martin advised.

“I expect your loyalty. I expect exactly what it says on your oath for you to do.”