Rochester Police Department welcomes eight new officers | KAALTV.com

Rochester Police Department welcomes eight new officers

Jaclyn Harold
Updated: December 24, 2020 07:43 AM
Created: December 23, 2020 05:47 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- When training began back in September, you could see the fire in the eyes of eight new recruits anxious to protect and serve. 

"A friend and I used to lay up behind bushes and write down license plates that would speed through intersections. So I always knew I wanted to have some type of law enforcement background," said new Officer, Mitch Fitzgerald. 

Despite the current state of the world and how people view law enforcement, each recruit said they're determined to take on the badge anyway. 

"It's a tough thing, especially in today's atmosphere where everyone's kind of a little hesitant in doing it. Especially a career where you don't know how you'll be treated. But I think it's something where if you feel you have the passion to serve the community, it's absolutely a career that you should follow.," said Eng Seng Tan, a Malaysian immigrant who first served in the military.

Tan said representation is important to him and important to have in this profession. He believes that having people that reflect the community on the force could make a difference when it comes to police encounters. Mainly by bridging that gap between languages. 

For Jessica Peterson, helping people inspired her to go into law enforcement.

"I just really have a passion for protecting the community, keeping it safe, and just serving others," she said.

After interning with the Rochester Police Department for a college course, Peterson said the experience only confirmed her love for service.

For the same reason that I took on this project, Sergio Torres said there is also a distrust with law enforcement and the Hispanic community.

"Being Hispanic I know kind of how Hispanic people feel about law enforcement, and it's only one of me but I feel like I can make a change. You know change the mindset of, especially nowadays how people feel about law enforcement," said  Torres.

Change is one of the biggest demands the world has asked of law enforcement agencies all over the country. Although these new recruits can only control what they do they all say they want change to be a part of it.

"I think it's a lot about just respect, integrity, our core values here at Rochester so I think that has a lot to do with it. Just treating people the way that they deserve to be treated. Knowing that I have a job to do but we're still people first," said Taylor Holty, one of the four women recruits entering the department.

Throughout the training, we were never in immediate danger, which isn't the case for officers on a daily basis. This process has shown that there are agencies out there willing to listen to their communities and work towards change. 

"There's a lot of good people coming into this industry right now and that's what I would like for people to know. We're out there to help people not to hurt people," said Fitzgerald.

It took only eight weeks for the recruits to earn their badge, and these are the words Chief Jim Franklin delivered to them before crossing over into the department.  

"You are to be an instrument a piece. Where there's hatred, you're too so love. Where there's injury, pardon. Where there's doubt, faith. Where there's despair, hope. Where there's darkness, light, and where there's sadness, joy. Bottom line, I'm asking you to go out there and police with your hearts," said Chief Franklin.

He said that even with their badges, the work doesn't end here. Each day is an opportunity to grow and do better than the day before.


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