Officers graduate from police academy

Published 10:38 pm Thursday, April 19, 2018

Two Selma police officers are ready to serve their community after graduating from the Alabama Police Academy at Wallace Community College Selma Thursday.

Devaria Hayes and Jeremy Hall, who were hired by the department in November, are now certified police officers.

Hayes and Hall are both from Selma. Hayes is a 2010 graduate of Southside High School.

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“I’ve been wanting to do this my whole life ever since I was a kid watching my daddy around State Troopers,” he said. “It’s a blessing.”

After high school, he went to Wallace Community College Selma for industrial maintenance. He spent the last few years working in manufacturing.

“I was working in manufacturing for around four years, and I felt like it wasn’t for me, so I wanted to do law enforcement. That’s what brought me to this day,” he said.

Hall is a 2015 graduate of Dallas County High School.

“This means a lot to me. I always wanted to be a part of a brotherhood,” he said. “Ever since I came through this course, I’ve felt like I can accomplish anything that I put my mind to as long as I put God first.”

Hall said he was inspired by his father to go into law enforcement.

“He always knows the best for me, and I always wanted to join the military, but it just felt like it wasn’t for me, so I took another route,” he said. “I’ve been back and forth from numbers jobs, and I wanted a career, so that’s when I came here, and I plan on being here for a while.”

This round of the academy started in January. During the course, Hall and Hayes were put through many different challenges.

“They faced some challenges while they were in the academy, but they had enough fortitude and perseverance to push on through,” said Sgt. Mark Neely, who oversees recruiting and training.

The graduation of Hayes and Hall brings the department’s number of sworn officers up to around 51, according to Neely.

“With the way things are going and summer approaching, I’m glad we’ve got these two coming out. They’ll probably be able to get out and be a solo officer soon,” Neely said.

With each additional officer, Neely said it allows the department to strengthen its presence in the city at night.

“We’re really wanting to have these guys present at night. At day time, we have a lot of admin people that can come out and help, but at night, the only people that are there are the people that are on shift,” he said.

The next session of the academy is in May, and Neely is hoping to send a few more officers through training.

“I anticipate sending five newly hired officers with hopes that everything works out. That will keep on pushing us to a higher number of officers that we can have on the streets,” he said.