WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)— Ten new members of our community are on their way to becoming police officers after graduating from the 76th Wichita Falls Police Academy on Friday morning August 1, 2023.

The ceremony took place at the MPEC, where ten graduating cadets walked the stage, took the oath, and were sworn in. The cadets spent 26 weeks undergoing intense training for their future careers in law enforcement. Finishing with a class average of 95.4 Percent. and 30-year W-F-P-D veteran, Sgt. Charlie Eipper said, that it just shows how high-quality these men and women are.

“The 76th graduating class of the Wichita Falls Police Academy walked the stage and took their oaths this morning after 26 intense weeks of training and preparation,” Eipper said. “It shows they’re very serious about taking this career on what it brings the importance and the responsibility,” Sgt. Charlie Eipper said. Even though the number of people testing for the academy is dropping the quality of the cadets has never been higher.

“We had 10 in the academy and I think we had less than 40 people show up to test overall for this academy we’re getting a higher percentage of quality people in there I think this is proof of that,” Eipper said. For the cadets, it’s an experience they’ll never forget.

“It was cool seeing how we were able to come together and become a family now we’re police officers and it feels great you know,” Eipper said. Carlos Gonzalez is a police academy graduate who finished at the top of the class. Carlos grew up in Wichita Falls, attending Old High and M-S-U before enlisting in the Marine Corps.

“I was getting out of my you know enlistment with the Marines still looking for something that had that comrade and I had a couple buddies that are in the force and I talked to them a little bit, they kind of sold me on it,” Gonzalez said. Now that he’s got the badge he’s excited about serving the city he loves. Just like Carlos Sgt. Eipper grew up in Wichita Falls and joined the academy after his time in the military. After 30 years on the force, he’s still thankful he did.

“I love serving in my hometown I got married raised children and now I got grandchildren all during this career,” Eipper said. “I have learned so much from it it has honed me and it has taught me how to grow up.” Eipper has been where these cadets have been and he offered advice to them to help them end up where he is now.

“If you do it right, you can develop the hard skin and a soft heart to where you can take the criticisms and the things that come with being a police officer out there.” But also having a soft enough heart to know that even those who criticize you and act harshly towards you still need your service,”Eipper said. Carlos said Despite the negative attitude toward police, he’s excited to serve the city he loves.” Honestly that just drove me to want to be one even more so I can change that so I can show a positive outlook on police officers,” Eipper said. And today, he and his nine fellow graduates took the first step of making that a reality.