HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Police Department added a few new faces to the ranks after the graduation of recruit class 34.
The commencement ceremony was held Thursday afternoon at the Hattiesburg Police & Fire Academy in front of friends, family and fellow officers.
"They could have done anything in the world they wanted to, but they decided to do it here in Hattiesburg and become a police officer," Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree said.
The class started with 15, and was narrowed to the final four officers. They were pinned by Hattiesburg Police Chief Anthony Parker, as well as given awards for their achievements in the academy.
"It feels great, a great group of guys and girls, I'm so happy to be at this end of the 17 weeks, it's been a lot of hard work but we came together as a group and looking forward to moving into our next phase of training and the beginning of our careers," HPD graduate Matthew Strickland said.
With this group of graduates, the department brings the number of officers to 96.
"It grows our numbers, it gives us more assets out on the street, so that we can protect the citizens and be able to give to them what they request, from us as the police department," Hattiesburg Police Lt. Jon Traxler said.
Retired Maj. Billy Lane gave the commencement address to the recruits, encouraging them to work hard and always do the right thing.
"Serving the people, that's why we all came here, class 34s motto is 'Service Before Self' and we can't wait to put that in action," Strickland said.
The new officers will join field training officers for several weeks before hitting the streets on their own.
The members of recruit class 34:
- Mitchell Fontaine
- James Harrison
- Matthew Strickland
- NaKeisha Wilson