July 16th shootings impact police academy training - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

July 16th shootings impact police academy training

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Wearing uniforms neatly pressed, name plates shined and pinned just right cadets of the Chattanooga Police Academy are finally ready. Parents snap pictures documenting one of their proudest moments watching their son or daughter officially become a police officer. 

These 30 cadets spent 22 weeks training and learning the meaning behind the badge earning their seat at Thursday’s graduation. They would also experience an event from a perspective unlike any other.

“They got to see a real world scenario play itself out and most departments don’t get that opportunity during a training academy,” Chattanooga Police Department Training Sergeant John Monroe said.

During the attacks of July 16th, many cadets felt helpless Monroe explains. They couldn’t respond because they weren’t yet sworn officers.

“They were in the midst of it and I think many of them wanted to become involved and do what they could. Unfortunately they hadn’t received enough training at that point and certainly hadn’t gotten POST accredited to put them into play and assist us in that endeavor,” he added.

Cadet Edward Hamilton is one of them.

The Memphis-native spent 13 years in the Army, three of those in combat as a military police officer. Despite having prior active shooter training and experience, he had to stand down.

“It’s weird waiting. I wanted to do something, but couldn’t do anything because of training. It’s weird waiting,” Hamilton said.

As he walks across the stage, Hamilton marks a new chapter in his life wearing the badge of a Chattanooga Police Officer. A badge that means more than a sacrifice because of the blessings returned. 

Those new officers will now go through a 16-week field training officer program before they officially hit the road. 

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