COLORADO SPRINGS – 43 new officers graduated from the Springs Police Department Wednesday in a ceremony at Village Seven Presbyterian Church.
Each officer in the 68th Police Office Class has their own reason for serving.
“For some reason it seemed like this was a calling I never shook off,” graduate Ruselis Perry said.
When Perry was a child he would go with his mother to work. She was a dispatcher and he thinks that’s when he caught the bug to serve. She passed away when he was a young adult and now at age 41 he’s finally making his dream come true.
Perry hopes to help change the atmosphere between police and the communities they serve.
“We’re blessed in the Springs to have a great relationship with the civilians. I want to keep that. That’s my goal to be a part of it and grow it nationwide. It’s such a bad atmosphere, we really need to fight that through serving, with a servant’s heart,” Perry said with a smile.
Many of the officers had several careers before making it through the intense academy, with academics and physical tests along the way.
“I’m excited. It was a long six months. And we’re finally there. I’m ready to move on to the next phase,” Alexis Falcon said.
Nicole Troncoso hopes to help bring peace and joy to the community, “We go out there and try to help people on some of the worst days of their lives. That’s what we’re here to do. To solve problems and make an impact on the community in a positive way.”
Ben Lunak has answered the call before. The retired U.S. Marine served two tours in Iraq and suffered a lower leg amputation after being hit by a roadside bomb.
“It started out, laying in bed three months, I had 17 surgeries and a lower leg amputation, then physical rehab,” Lunak said.
He’s the first Colorado Police Officer amputee and only the fourth in the nation. He said he’s doing this for the community and for his comrades who never came home.
“For the Marines that didn’t come home. They gave their lives, allowing me to come home, so it’s only right I live my life to make them proud,” Lunak said.
The new graduates will now move to their training on the streets. They help grow the Springs Police force to more than 700 officers.