Officers Ryan Riedy and Joe Sears started their careers today. They both graduated from the 97th Class of the Mid Michigan Police Academy in Lansing on Friday night, May 13. Both are fellow Spartans having graduated from MSU in Criminal Justice (like me). Sears is from Lapeer and Reidy from Waterford. Riedy’s cousin, Mike Riedy is a member of our Fire Department. They both received awards from their academy class–driving, report writing, academics, marksmanship and weapons management.
They took their oaths of office this morning in the presence of city officials, command staff and their family and friends. The oath of office is a really, really big deal:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of police officer in and for the City of Auburn Hills according to the best of my ability.
An oath is a statement of loyalty. In this case it is a statement of loyalty to our constitution and the laws of our state. Failure to carry out those duties can actually be a crime – malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in office. It is a serious undertaking and we treat it like that. When a person graduates from a police academy they are not yet an officer. When they become employed as an officer they are not yet and officer–not until they take that oath of office. It is binding on a person.
As I watched Riedy and Sears take their oaths today I thought about what their futures may bring. All of us here will do everything we can to teach them the right and proper ways to be an officer. To meet the daily challenges of this job with integrity and perseverance. Their families were rightly very proud of them today. I am too. But I know the challenges ahead. It isn’t an easy job. Not everyone can do it. People who choose it feel a calling to it — most don’t wake up one day and decide to become a police officer. They will tell you that they wanted it from them time they were small children–they just know it is the job for them. Police officers are not chosen because they are drawn to the power and authority aspects of the job –not here anyway. Officers will tell you that they see it as a helping profession – they want to help the community and do good in the world. We know that doing good in the world often requires that a person who has done wrong be held accountable –and the police are the ones who enforce that accountability.
Their next challenge is to pass field training – 3 months of close supervision and training by a qualified officers followed by 10 days of “shadow” in which they are observed by a training officer as a test to determine if they are ready to be a solo performing police officer. Everyday of those 3 months and the 10 “shadow days” will be rated by a trainer on how well they did or didn’t learn the challenges of the day. It is an important process and if a person doesn’t pass they cannot be a police officer. Most departments have a very similar training program.
I wish them long and healthy careers here at Auburn Hills. It is a great job in a great community.