Two Oak Grove Police Department officers recently graduated from the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Basic Training Academy on Eastern Kentucky State University's campus in Richmond.
Officers Robert Fitzpatrick and Joseph Martin completed the 20-week training, which consists of 800 hours of recruit-level instruction.
Major Victor Lynch, OGPD, said in order to be a certified police officer, individuals must complete law enforcement training such as this. Major training areas include law offenses and procedures, investigations, first aid and CPR, and patrol procedures.
"They go through everything from legal training and classes to physical aspects such as combatives, (vehicle operations), and firearms," Lynch said.
The training also includes the mechanics or arrest, restraint and control.
Having graduated from the academy, Fitzpatrick and Martin are now completing the police training portion of their training at the department.
"This is a way for our officers to show the (graduates) how things are done … familiarization with the streets and how to talk to people," Lynch said.
Lynch said completing academy training prepares officers for duty in many ways.
"It allows you to be able to communicate better. It also teaches you what the actual laws are," he said. "It also assists that officer in learning how to deescalate a situation."
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Lynch added the training also instills confidence in new officers.
Fitzpatrick is a military retiree with 24 years of service. During his career, he served as a security force member. Before retiring, Fitzpatrick was assigned to 19th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Campbell.
"I feel like I've always had a calling to help people and I wanted to continue that," Fitzpatrick said. "I'm from a small town and I love that kind of community."
Fitzpatrick said he wants to change the culture surrounding police officers.
"As a police officer I hope to give back to the community," he said. "I want to break the persona that all police officers are rude. I want our community to feel like we are out there to help."
During the graduation ceremony, Fitzpatrick was presented a "thank you" award for serving as the guidon bearer for the class.
"I gained a lot of knowledge during the training and I look forward to taking that knowledge and expanding on it here and implementing it in the local community," he said.
Fitzpatrick and Martin were both awarded the "Fit for Duty" award during the ceremony. This award is presented to students who achieve a 80% or higher in physical fitness.
Martin also comes to OGPD with a military background. He served in 716th Military Police Battalion, a tenant unit at Fort Campbell.
"I just like helping people. It's one of my passions," Martin said. "I had several friends get killed in car accidents … drunk drivers. Also watching people overdose on drugs and things like that … I just want to get people off the street and make the city safer for families."
Martin said the training he received at the academy was in-depth.
"We had a lot of good instructors," he said. "It was a long 20 weeks, but it was a good 20 weeks. It was also a lot of good, rigorous physical training."
Martin said he wants to settle down in the city and stay with OGPD a long time.
"I hope to learn a lot from these guys, because there is a lot of experience here," Martin said. "I hope I can do 25 years here. It's a good department with a lot of great people."