The 60 law enforcement graduates from the 156th basic training session of the Northeast Alabama Law Enforcement Academy were treated Thursday to a keynote speech from Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.
“As the chief law enforcement official in the state, this is what I look forward to the most,” said Strange to the crowded hall of police officers, sheriffs’ deputies and their families at the Anniston City Meeting Center. “Getting a chance to congratulate the men and women who chose to protect and serve their communities.”
Strange kept his speech brief, focusing on commending the officers for their dedication to law enforcement, and the importance of their new jobs.
“Everything depends on law enforcement officers upholding the laws,” Strange said.
Highlighting the response to the April 27, 2011, tornado and to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as “law enforcement’s finest hour,” Strange said the new officers’ presence in their communities and in the state will likely be the hardest and most rewarding aspect of their careers.
“People will come to you for reasons big and small,” Strange said. “When trouble breaks out, you’ll be the ones running to the trouble when everyone else is running away. You have my greatest respect.”
In between posing for photos with graduating officers and their families after the ceremony, Strange talked to a reporter about some of the issues facing police departments and sheriffs’ offices across the state, including the struggle to pass legislation protecting officers.
Strange also talked briefly about his office’s efforts to work with district attorneys and law enforcement officers across the state on dealing with the prospect of illegal gambling establishments, which include slot machines and electronic bingo, popping up all over Alabama.
The Northeast Alabama Law Enforcement Academy’s director, Greg Glaze, gave opening remarks at the ceremony, congratulating the graduates for their teamwork and camaraderie during the 12-week basic training session at McClellan.
“I knew a lot of them thought they would never see this day,” Glaze said during his speech. “Truthfully I didn’t think a lot of them would see this day after our first day,” he said laughing.
Of the 60 graduating officers Thursday, four work in Calhoun County. Randy Scott Angle, Christopher Randall Grier, Donald Davis McGraw and Ryan Patrick Partner are all with the Anniston Police Department.
The next basic training session for the Northeast Alabama Law Enforcement Academy begins Sept.10 and concludes Nov. 29.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.