POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - Following 13 weeks of rigorous training, dozens of new police officers are ready to serve their respective agencies.
Friday, 55 men and women from all across the Natural State graduated from Law Enforcement Training Academy or LETA at Black River Technical College in Pocahontas.
The group was the 33rd class to graduate the academy. Since its inception, there have been more than 1,500 LETA graduates at BRTC.
Friday, Captain Clay Higgins of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Department served as the commencement speaker.
After nearly two decades in law enforcement, Captain Higgins passed on some advice to the rookies.
"Graduating officers, please remember that your victims are not numbers on a report. They're families in trouble. Their lives have been violated," Captain Higgins said. "Remember that your suspects are not your enemy, they're your fellow man that may have fallen and need to accept responsibility for their actions. That's your job...but your job is also to help them stand back up."
Captain Higgins has become increasingly well known over the past year for his unique style of CrimeStoppers.
Captain Higgins told Region 8 News that he was humbled to be asked to speak at the graduation ceremony.
"To be the commencement speaker at a graduation is significant enough," Captain Higgins said. "But when they're graduating officers that wear badges representing the constitutional principles that we are sworn to uphold, and they're entering a dangerous realm, it can be dark and frightening out there, it's a tremendous responsibility."
BRTC's LETA hosts two classes a year.
Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.