Pittsford, VT –  After 17 long weeks and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, two dozen police recruits graduated from the Vermont Police Academy on Friday. The new recruits took the Oath of Office in front of a packed gymnasium, filled with their friends, family, and fellow officers. One by one they all walked up to receive their graduation certificates and then shared a hug and a kiss from the people who came to support them.

Wisdom Degboe was one of the recruits graduating. He says his classmates are some of the strongest people he’s ever met. Degboe adds he’s excited to begin serving on the University of Vermont’s Police Department, and knows he’s made connections statewide that will last a lifetime. “This means a lot to me, to be able to finally graduate and go out and serve the community. It’s a group of tough guys. I mean, we’ve cried together, we’ve laughed together, we’ve been through it all together.” said Degboe. 

Four other graduates are also going to the Burlington police department. Adding to the city’s police force at a time when they’re trying to rebuild. Acting Chief Jon Murad was at the ceremony to welcome in his new recruits.  “They’re nowhere near the end of their journey. We’re going to be putting them through another 580 hours of field training in Burlington.” Murad says his department is still about 20 officers short of the 87 they’re authorized to have and says closing that gap is one of his top priorities. “Our rebuilding plan is the most important thing that we’re doing right now at the Burlington Police Department. So today we are getting four new officers who are going to join a field training program and start working their way towards being solo officers in Burlington, that’s a really important part of that process.”