Police Families: Proud of Their People for Taking the Pledge to Serve You

Police Families: Proud of Their People for Taking the Pledge to Serve You

By Stephen Owsinski

It is not every day that a loved one ships out to a branch of the U.S. military, evoking bittersweet emotions stemming from what lies ahead. The same is true for police families whose loved ones sign up for the direly needed and hugely perilous profession of law enforcement to serve citizens.

At any given police academy graduation there are well wishes for recently achieved status as a certified law enforcement officer. It’s only natural.

However, amid the grand gestures of proudly pinning the new LEO’s justice shield or star on their crisp uniform shirt…there are also facial expressions exhibiting the hallmark signs of someone close who knows all too well that police lives can be gone in the blink of an eye.

(Photo courtesy of the New York State Police.)

No analysis or dissertation is necessary to convey the often-grievous realm of police work resulting in many heroes felled while trying to serve others and do some good in their respective communities.

Hence, a recently graduated class of deputies sworn in by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) illustrates the range of reception among pinnacle moments after cadets put the academy rigors behind them and traverse the road ahead…peeled to the proverbial minefield that we all see on every evening news segment while in our personal safe spaces.

The trickle of tears from newly pinned law enforcement officers is iconic of pure pride.

Synonymously, the trickle of tears from young family members may symbolize an unspoken fear of what their loved one is undertaking.

See for yourself, throughout HCSO’s snippets of footage depicting each new deputy pinned and embraced by their loved ones.

Pretty poignant, eh?

Along with the videography you just saw, the sheriff’s office posted the following: On February 28, 2024, “Detention Class 23-07 graduated from Sheriff Chronister’s Training Academy! The 29 new deputies shared an emotional moment with their loved ones at the pinning ceremony. Grab some tissues!”

Another unique layer of loved ones participating in newly minted law enforcement officers is family members who were sworn in some time ago, experienced the nature of The Job, and maintain a mind chock full of criminal justice pros and cons.

Slide #2 includes a former NYPD cop whose last stint after a long career in Gotham culminated with his assignment to a body parts collection detail with other officers. After that, he unpinned his NYC shield and relocated his family to Florida, after which he joined my department.

He garnered another vested retirement package and went fishing, again.

Like many police officers who cleared out their locker for the final time, retirement was considered dull…so he stepped up to the plate, again, becoming a sworn member of the Tampa International Airport Police Department (TIAPD) where he continues to serve. Hence the blue uniform he donned for his loved one’s academy graduation ceremony, doing the honor of pinning.

Similarly, slide #5 depicts HCSO Major Cedric Battle and his wife, HCSO Corporal Alyssa Battle in attendance to pin their daughter and welcome her to the sheriff’s family. Battle of the badges in a unified, supportive way.

It still stands that some cops are brought up in a police family, following footsteps, taking the police officer’s oath, and serving the public.

n a final yet personal note, one of the academy graduates I’ve known for a long time. Having befriended my daughter in high school, having served as a surrogate dad…counseling her through trials and tribulations, I am elated that now-Deputy Allissa Hooks joined the law enforcement profession as her family joined her during the pinning ceremony, with a catch…

(Image courtesy of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.)

You see, Deputy Hooks was injured in the latter phase of physical training, tearing tissue, which put her on crutches at the ceremony. (Crutches are being maintained to the side by a fellow deputy.)

Staying in the fight is a principle for any cop anywhere. Deputy Hooks did just that and was ceremoniously recognized by the sheriff’s office (at 44:11 in the graduation ceremony recording)

for not bowing out due to her injury and “walking the stage” with her law enforcement colleagues.

As the ceremonial speaker announced, “Amidst the many challenges they face, this cadet sustained injuries during her training but refused to be deterred. Finally, this is the moment she has worked for. Selected guests of this cadet may come forward to pin her badge.”

Hence, the applause and standing ovation, starting with Sheriff Chad Chronister on the left in the front row.

(Image courtesy of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.)

 From Deputy Hooks: “Well I’ve been holding on to something very special for the last several months. Today I graduated and became Deputy Sheriff Hooks. What a wonderful time and experience. Life changing to say the least. Although I had a minor hiccup 2 weeks ago I tore my ACL during training & will have to undergo surgery within the next few weeks I was able to say I ended today on a good note. I’m blessed to be able to serve and protect my community & be a part of something greater than myself.”

Sheriff Chronister gave a speech after the pinning portion of the ceremony, saying (at 49:57), “To our deputy who tore your ACL, never gave up and stood up in front here today, please help me welcome her once again. We are thankful for her commitment.” Another round of applause ensued.

I’m a proud surrogate and remote (retired) field training officer for Deputy Hooks.

There you have it. People in the corner of our crime fighting professionals.

In any police-family pillaring, the stakes are high, the danger lurks, and the support is heartfelt for those grasping the law enforcement officer mantle.