NH Police Academy graduates 59
CONCORD — Four men sworn in as Manchester police officers on April 15 were among the 59 graduates of the 161st Police Academy.
But their training is not over. They will begin the next phase early Monday morning at the Manchester Police Department at 405 Valley St.
But Friday was a day for that all important certificate of completion and for speeches, awards and photos to mark the event.
Manchester Police Officer Raymond Youngs, a former Army National Guard member who holds both a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and a master's degree in justice administration, said Manchester may not be the capital, but it is the heart of New Hampshire.
He said the Manchester Police Department is hiring the top of the line in New Hampshire. "I wanted to be a part of it," said Youngs.
Ryan Heile was hooked on working as a Manchester police officer after an internship while a student at Salem State University in Salem, Mass.
What got him back there as an officer? "Determination," he said.
Gov. Maggie Hassan, the keynote speaker, said New Hampshire law enforcement officers, without hesitation, went to the aid of their counterparts in Boston after the marathon bombings on April 15.
"Public safety is truly the most important task of government," said Hassan, who added that because of that local effort, New Hampshire is among the safest states in the country.
U.S. Attorney John Kacavas took a moment to remind the new graduates that without their family and friends, they would most likely not be there. He urged them to continue to appreciate that support, and to be vocal about it, as they go out on the street to fulfill their new role to protect and serve.
He offered them two words to remember: protect and serve. "You have been given the power to protect (the community)," he said. To do that, he said, you must protect "the people's sacred but fragile trust."
He said the graduates must also protect the Constitution, respecting its limits and protect the rights it confers on citizens.
Kacavas said the graduate must also protect their reputation.
"Your credibility will always be at stake," he warned. By protecting your own, you will protect others, he said.
Finally, he said, you must serve the criminal justice system.
Nashua Police Officer Christopher Lewis, selected by his classmates to speak, echoed the remarks of Kacavas and other speakers as he said: "We must be leaders both on and off duty."
Manchester officer David Swinson agreed with Lewis' and Kacavas' remarks.
"We're always in their eye," said Swinson, a member of the Army Reserves who served two tours in Iraq, first with a combat support hospital and later with a forward surgical team as a licensed practical nurse.
Manchester Officer Guy Kozowyk, who has been in the music business since forming a rock band while at Suffolk University, touring, serving as lead singer and assisting with management, said it took him about two years to achieve his goal of becoming an officer. "I've always wanted to do this," he said.
With a large department like Manchester's, he said, there are many options for specialization. "We could do anything," he said.
Seven more new Manchester officers, who were sworn in Aug. 5, are about to start their 14-week academy training.
Manchester Police Chief David Mara said the department now has 218 officers, with funding for just three more, although he would like to see the department at 227 to meet the city's needs.