HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Four new police officers graduated from the academy Thursday and are now officially members of the Hattiesburg Police Department (HPD).
Hattiesburg Police Officer, Matthew Strickland said, "It's been 17 long weeks of training. It takes a lot of internal fortitude. We worked really hard. We came together as a group and just stuck together and made it through to the end."
Out of the 23 recruits who joined the academy, only four made it.
Strickland was able to receive the physical fitness, leadership, and academic awards for his graduating class.
"Class 3-4's model is service before self. And if you talk to any of the other guys, we try to exemplify that. And, that's what really brought us here," said Strickland.
HPD's new police officer, Nakeisha Wilson is the only female graduating in her class.
She also was awarded the best shotgun shooter.
"I always wanted to be in the law enforcement realm. I just feel like this is a good way to serve and to be out in the streets and interact with people on a daily basis. I love to be an example for other females that want to do something outside the box normally for females," said Wilson.
Although this may be a small graduating class, HPD believes these individuals will protect and serve the community to the best of their abilities.
If you are interested in becoming a Hattiesburg Police Officer and want to join the next police academy, you can contact HPD at (601) 544-7900.