WAIPOULI — There was one graduate from each high school — Kaua‘i, Waimea and Kapa‘a.
The three represented one-half of the graduates of the 78th Recruit Class which celebrated the completion of 22 weeks of academy work Friday night at the ResortQuest Kaua‘i Beach at Maka‘iwa.
“These six have the drive and willingness to do a job that’s really hard,” said Mark Marshall, administrator for the Kaua‘i Civil Defense. “They embark on a career that their significant others also go through with them.”
Donald Bruyn, Sam Fernandez, Bruce Nance, Colin Nesbitt, Aaron Relacion and Christina Soltren were sworn in by Judge Trudy Senda and received their police badges.
“Some of them start work as early as Sunday,” Sgt. Mark Begley of the Kaua‘i Police Department said.
The new officers start work on testing and practical application when they take to the road, acting police chief Clayton Arinaga said.
The first step will be assignment to a Field Training Officer who will work side-by-side during their first three months of patrol duty.
“As one journey ends, another begins. Be a part of the community, not apart,” Arinaga said. “The academy portion of training is done. Now it’s time to walk the walk.”
Throughout the evening, the various speakers recognized the importance and role police officers play on the island.
Arinaga encouraged the new officers to get involved with the community.
“You are directly involved in shaping the island for the next two decades,” Arinaga said. “This is only the beginning, and only the dedicated and committed survive.”
Sam Fernandez, representing the class, said when they first started, they were like microchips with no input or information.
Throughout the training period, the group became friends, learned how to trust each other, walk as a team and show their character.
“Welcome to the team to make Kaua‘i as safe as she can be,” Kaua‘i Mayor Bryan Baptiste said. “There were nine that started, and six graduated. It’s not an easy job. It’s physically draining, emotionally draining.”
The mayor encouraged each of the new officers to be a role model for the children.
“You represent what is right, pono and just,” Baptiste said. “You make a difference in what you do for the people of Kaua‘i.”
Nesbitt was recognized as the Most Outstanding Recruit, Begley said. Making the decision was difficult for the instructors because all of the students were equal and functioned as a team.
Senda encouraged the officers to be strong and also advised them to be prepared when they make their appearances in court.
The formalities done, it was time for the new officers to celebrate with their families as stacks of lei celebrated the accomplishment of each of the newest Kaua‘i police officers.