Chief Charles H. Ramsey
Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, DC
Chief Charles H. Ramsey delivered the following remarks during graduation ceremonies for Metropolitan Police Department Recruit Class 2000-7, held at the Bureau of Engraving auditorium in Southwest DC, on May 10, 2001. Twenty-eight new officers were sworn in during the event.
"To the members of Recruit Class 2000-7, to the newest members of the Metropolitan Police Department, I say 'welcome.' Welcome to the best, most exciting and most rewarding profession there is. And welcome to the finest, proudest, most progressive and forward-thinking police department I know of —the Metropolitan Police Department.
I want each of you to stop and consider for a moment just what you have accomplished in being here today. Consider that thousands of individuals dream of becoming Metropolitan Police officers, and several hundred apply each year to join our force. Only a handful of these people are able to pass all of the entrance examinations and meet the high standards we set for even getting into our Training Academy. During their 24 weeks of training, some recruits invariably drop out, because they have trouble meeting our exacting standards for physical conditioning, academic excellence and special skills. Out of the many who dream about one day sitting where each of you now sits, and pinning on the badge that each of you will pin on in a few minutes, only an elite few possess the talent, the desire, the motivation and the perseverance to make that dream a reality. Today, I am very proud of what each and every one of you has achieved in reaching this first step in your law enforcement career. And I look forward to continued success and even greater achievements from you in the future.
But while today is a day of 'new beginnings,' it is also a day to reflect upon our past, and the great and noble tradition each of you is now a part of. The path upon which you will walk has been paved by literally hundreds of thousands of police officers before you —officers in our Department dating back to the Civil War era, and officers in departments throughout our great nation.
The vast, vast majority of these police officers served quietly, out of the spotlight, without great fanfare or personal accolades. But they served honorably and steadfastly —they made a difference in the lives of those they touched. They are the foundation - strong and lasting - upon which our profession is built. Some of these officers became well-known heroes of our profession - through their exceptional bravery, valor or law enforcement excellence. They were thrust into extraordinarily difficult and challenging circumstances, and they performed with great skill and courage.
Still others, of course, have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the community. They are the more than 15,000 police officers whose names are inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, just a couple of blocks north of MPDC headquarters - men and women who were killed in the line of duty, while protecting those things our citizens cherish the most: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Beginning this week, thousands of police officers from across the country will be coming to DC to take part in National Police Week activities to remember the fallen heroes of our profession. The presence of so many police officers, from so many different agencies, is a reminder to all of us that policing remains a very dangerous job, a job that carries tremendous risks and requires great sacrifices — including, at times, the ultimate sacrifice.
This may seem like an unusually morbid topic to bring up on a day of such excitement and joy. But the fact is that danger is a part of our profession. This is no secret to any of you. You know the dangers involved, you have trained for them, you have been equipped to handle them, and now you are ready to face those dangers with strength and confidence and the support of your fellow officers.
We have many tributes to the fallen officers who have come before us: §The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial fountain outside MPDC headquarters, the Wall of Honor at the Maurice T. Turner Jr., Insitute of Police Science, the online memorial we have established on the MPDC's website. All of these are important and appropriate acknowledgments of the many, many heroes of our Department and our profession. But the greatest tribute to these men and women is not found in marble or stone, or in a badge displayed behind glass or a remembrance posted in cyber-space. The greatest tribute to these men and women lies in police officers, who wake up every day and don the uniform and pin on the badge of our profession.
It lies in dedicated men and women who - without hesitation or fanfare - go out and tackle society's many complicated problems and go home knowing they have made their communities a little safer, a little stronger, for their efforts.
It lies in law enforcement professionals who - at a moment's notice, and usually without much warning - go where others simply fear to go. It lies in very special people who - fully aware of the dangers involved—rush head-first into situations that other people are fleeing, because that's their job - to serve and protect others.
In short, the greatest tribute to our fallen heroes lies within each and every one of us, in our commitment, our bravery, our selflessness, our ideals, our service.
I can truly think of no greater tribute to the 107 officers on our Department's Wall of Honor - or to the 15,000 officers inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial - than each and every one of us going out and doing our jobs, and doing them with courage and compassion, each and every day of our careers.
Let the legacy of our fallen colleagues be the difference that each of us makes in the communities we serve. There can be no greater tribute than that.
In closing, let me say once again to all of our new officers 'congratulations' and 'welcome.' You have proven that you have what it takes to be a member of this Department and this profession. You have demonstrated proficiency in all of the things we have asked you to do thus now. But now, the challenges become much greater and the stakes much, much higher.
Our residents are relying on you to help them build the type of safe and healthy communities that all of us would be proud of. The community itself has an important role to play in this process. And under 'Policing for Prevention' we are empowering the community to be a strong and active partner in fighting - and preventing - crime.
But remember that as police officers, you now play a unique role in neighborhood safety. This is a role that carries considerable risk and sacrifice, but also a role that give you the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of others. Seize that opportunity, this day and every day of your career.
Recognize the tremendous potential you have as a single police officer and as a member of this Department, and put that potential to work for our communities.
Thank you very much, and may God bless all of you."
|Recruit Officers Sworn-In|
|Officer Jeffrey P. Ackerman||Officer Mike P. Hoban|
|Officer William C. Alton||Officer Isaac W. Jackson|
|Officer James P. Antonio||Officer Nathan M. Minor|
|Officer Mikal H. Ba'th||Officer Nichael A. Pitts|
|Officer Angelo L. Battle||Officer Adrian M. Saunders|
|Officer Clyde E. Beatty III||Officer Victor T. Scott|
|Officer John O. Bolden||Officer Terence W. Smith|
|Officer Joseph E. Conjura||Officer Kayode A. Sodimu|
|Officer Vernon D. Copeland||Officer Mark C. Steelman|
|Officer James A. Crisman||Officer Thomas J. Stein Jr.|
|Officer Matthew Dailey||Officer Wayne C. Steinhilber|
|Officer Ralph W. Davis||Officer Ralph Warren Jr.|
|Officer Robert C. Ferretti Jr.||Officer Brian P. Wise|
|Officer Patriece L. Groves Class (99-2)||Officer Wade C. Zach|