City welcomes 8 new police officers
The new year welcomed a life-changing accomplishment for cadets of the Lawton Basic Police Academy Class of 2017-12.
On Friday afternoon, eight cadets gradated from the academy, received their badges and were sworn in as officers after completing 20 weeks of training.
The incoming officers are Nicholas Flores, Amelia Gorshing, Dustin Kellogg, Brandon Newhouse, Nathan Ronan, Samantha Rousey, Christopher Womack and Gerardo Vallijo.
A 2013 graduate of Bray-Doyle High School, Womack, 22, earned the two distinguished awards available to the class: Top Shooter and Top Academic.
Womack received his bachelor's degree in park and wildlife law from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in spring 2017.
He looks forward to serving the Lawton Fort Sill community and fulfilling his passion for helping others.
"I've always felt called to help. I have a lot of officers in my family, and I loved watching what they were doing (when I was) growing up," he said. "I'm ready to get out on the street and finally get to do what I've been training for."
He is also passionate about his family, including his wife, Sydney, a 2013 graduate of Central High School, and their 1-year-old son, Liam.
"They're why I'm doing this," Womack said. "I want to make it a better town for them. I want to make it a better world for them."
Police Chief James T. Smith expressed his gratitude to all family members at the graduation and reminded them that without their support the officers would not be able to do their jobs.
A combination of fellow officers and family members pinned the badges on the cadets prior to reciting the police officer's oath of office during the swearing-in ceremony with Municipal Judge Nathan Johnson.
Brandon Newhouse's wife, Samantha, co-owner of Freedom Fitness Gym, pinned the badge on her husband, alongside their two daughters, one of whom received "awws" from the crowd for hugging her daddy's leg.
Flores, class spokesperson, took the mic to share memories specific to each cadet, which included details ranging from Newhouse's ever-present appetite to Womack's newfound nickname "Wreck-It Ralph," sparking laughter from everyone.