LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - At a time when many families are celebrating graduation, 23 graduates will head straight from the classroom and into the thick of things. The Louisville Metro Police Department's newest class of officers will hit the streets next week.
"When I first arrived in the States, policing was always nice," said one of the new police officers, Cuban immigrant Eugenio Castaneda.
Almost a year ago, Castaneda found himself with a degree in civil engineering from technical college, but with no job.
"I had just become a U.S. Citizen, so I took upon myself to apply to the Louisville Police Department because they were hiring," he said.
He and 22 other men and women started intense training in November to become members of LMPD.
"It was something I always wanted to do as far as the type of job it is," said new officer Wessley Liford. "I wasn't really interested in sitting behind a desk, an office job. I wanted to get out."
Liford also served as recruit class president. He is also a college graduate who followed his dream to the police department.
"I majored in psychology and you're going to be dealing with people all the time and that's something very important, to know how to talk to people and deal with people," Liford said.
Next week, he puts those skills to the test.
"I report Monday to the 8th Division and I'll be there for ten weeks with a patrol training officer," Liford said. "Then I'll go to the 2nd Division on the West End of Louisville. I'll be there for another ten weeks and then I'll go solo."
Castaneda is also ready to get to work.
"I hope that I can be a helping hand to somebody in need," he said.
According to the police department, ten of its new officers have four-year college degrees, eight have two-year associates degrees and five went to two or more years of college. Three of the new officers are following in their fathers' footsteps in joining LMPD. Three are veterans of the U.S. Military.
The following are members of the graduating class:
Mason J. Brown Hannah Elizabeth Carroll Eugenio Castaneda Perez David Charles Cockerel Bryan Michael Edelen Curt Thomas Flynn Christopher Ryan Geoghegan Charles William Heller Donald Eugene Hillerich, II Robert Tyler Holland Wessley Griffin Liford Youssef Mattiche Michael P McLaurine Dezmon Montez Moore Paul Brandon Paris Olivia Lauren Payne Jason Pierson Demiche Rubin Sewell Eriberto Tello Jack Ross Whitney Tevis Elizabeth Younger Dustin Zimmerman Daniel Zummach
This recruit class has already had some intense on-the-job training. They had just started days before the homicide squad called on them to help comb through a Medora, Indiana landfill. The search for the remains of Sullivan University college student Andrew Compton came up empty.