A class of 37 men and women took their oaths of office and received their badges on Thursday as they graduated from the Department of Public Safety Training course.
“You are now armed with the skills and soon will be charged with the responsibility to make our state safer,” DPS Director James Wright told the group.
He cautioned them that the work they will do can be dangerous. He urged them to do their jobs well with “courage and good judgment.”
“Earn the trust of your peers, your supervisors and your community,” he said, “and make sure you go home safe at the end of your shift.”
Wright said before the ceremony at the Carson City Community Center the 37 graduates are the survivors of a class that started out with 45 students. He said the 15-week class teaches cadets a wide range of skills including physical conditioning, arrest tactics, weapons and shooting, as well as “community interaction and outreach.”
That last, he said, has become important because of the problems with law enforcement’s image around the country.
Wright said it takes about 1,000 applicants to fill a class of 50. Many are weeded out in the first phase of testing — physical conditioning. He said of 60 applicants, only about 20 showed up for the last physical condition tests.
Others fail because something turns up in their background check such as a domestic battery charge. Others fail the psychological testing.
Wright said all of Thursday’s graduates will enter state service: 17 of them at NHP, 19 at Parole and Probation and one as an officer with the Capitol Police.
Wright said the department is constantly looking for good applicants to train because of retirements and DPS officers taking jobs with local agencies.
“We’ve lost 75 to this point this year,” he said.
He said he worries recruits may be getting even harder to find because of “what is going on in America.” With more and more attacks on law enforcement, “there’s been a change in how many folks even want to be a cop these days.”
He said their families — wives and moms in particular — may be discouraging some potential applicants because they are worried about their safety.