PALESTINE — A dozen future peace officers from all over East Texas celebrated a milestone this week, graduating from the East Texas Police Academy during a ceremony held Friday at the Ben E. Keith Community Room in Palestine.
Those 12 — consisting of 10 men and two women — made up Class No. 287 of the Basic Peace Officer Academy out of Kilgore, an 18-week course they are required go through before sitting for the state peace officer exam next week.
Former Anderson County Judge and Justice of the Peace Carey McKinney, who is now a Field Support Agent for Region 5 of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), presented the main address at the ceremony.
“I know that you are proud of yourselves and your accomplishment, and I also know that your family and friends that are here today and support you are very proud of you,” McKinney said. “It was a special time in my life, and I know that it is a special time in yours to have gone through the academy.”
McKinney's address focused on leadership and the important role it plays in each officer's future.
“Right now you may not think about it, but are going to be the future leadership in law enforcement,” he said. “In the future you might be the sheriff, the city marshal, police chief or even county judge.
“If somebody told me I'd be county judge in 1985, I'd have told them they were crazy. But you never know what the Lord has got in store for you.”
Adversities and life experiences build upon each other, McKinney said, preparing them for a future that one might not expect to see.
“God prepares you a little at a time for what you are going to do down the road. It doesn't all happen at one time,” he stated. “He didn't prepare David to be king overnight. It took time. He had to go through a lot of adversities and deal with those things. God will prepare you for what you do later in life.