Austin Police Department graduates new cadets
On Friday evening, the Austin Police Department welcomed 35 newly sworn officers to their force, as the 131st and 132nd cadet classes celebrated their graduation. They join 2,400 other officers and employees who work for APD.
One of those classes is made up of sworn officers who have come to Austin from other departments around the country. The other class, cadets who are hitting the streets for the first time. Cadets who have chosen to protect and serve during a time where everything they do is under a microscope.
"I wanted to do what i can do to make a more positive influence in my community," says Chance Henderson, one of the graduates.
He's joining the ranks in an age where everything these days is caught on camera, and often times posted to social media.
"It's just getting used to people around you recording you, going about your business the same as you would without being recorded," says Sergeant Manuel Jimenez. Jimenez is a thirteen year veteran of the Austin Police Department. He supervises the cadets during their training.
"The main point that we try to drive, is that you are always should be treating everyone with dignity and respect," Jimenez says, adds, "just like you want to be treated, just like you would want your family to be treated."
Regardless if cameras start rolling on the arrest while it's happening instead of right before. "Transparency is the key, if people could see everything that transpires, it would be beneficial for both parties," he says.
Being under the microscope might seem like a challenge. "I think for the new cadets, they are growing up with the mass media, they are used to it, so they shouldn't feel any different because of that. I think there's a learning curve for people that have been on the force," Jimenez says, "but that learning curve is pretty minimal at this point."
Adds Henderson, "if it's being videotaped, it's being videotaped, we can't change that so we do the right thing the entire time, our process."
It's a process they've spent months of rigourous training to learn. A process these new cadets will have decades to put in practice, with all eyes watching.
Soon all interaction with all Austin Police Officers will be filmed from start to finish, they are implementing body cameras in summer 2016.