Pittsburgh police welcome 34 new cadets to the ranks
Cody Karaman smiled wide and looked down at his shiny new badge as his mom pinned it to his uniform Thursday night.
Karaman, 24, a Pleasant Valley High School graduate from Saylorsburg who now lives in Pittsburgh, has long wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement. His straightforward purpose: “to protect and serve the community.”
Gordon Lloyd’s wife, Nicole, pinned on his badge while Lloyd held the Bethel Park couple’s 1-year-old son. Lloyd, 31, an Upper St. Clair High School graduate, decided to leave his job in accounting to join the force. He became a cop “to help people give back to the city that I love, and make it better for this little guy,” gesturing to his toddler clutching a toy police truck.
The pair of newly sworn-in officers were among 34 cadets who took the oath of office during a Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Training Academy graduation ceremony held at the University of Pittsburgh’s Alumni Hall in Oakland. The event celebrated their completion of the bureau’s eight-month training course.
The officers next will spend at least four months working alongside experienced officers in the field before they can work on their own.
The latest cohort of graduates comprised a mix of brand-new police officers and those who have worked for other agencies but wanted to work for Pittsburgh. Graduates included 33 men and one woman.
Sgt. Colleen Bristow, who is on the Training Academy’s staff, said that increasing diversity remains a priority. Another ongoing class has eight women officers-in-training, she said.
The bureau’s Training Academy runs six classes a year, with 32 to 40 graduates and an 80% completion or graduation rate. The next set of cadets is set to graduate in March.
Coursework spans not only the physical duties of the job but also puts a major focus on improving communication skills, knowing how to de-escalate situations, control fears and reactions and use restorative justice tactics, Bristow said.
Mayor William Peduto, Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich and Pittsburgh police Chief Scott Schubert took turns congratulating the recruits.
“You don’t wear that uniform for you,” Peduto told the cadets shortly before leading them in the oath of office. “You wear that uniform and that badge for everybody who wore it before you and everybody who will wear it after.”
Schubert told the graduates that their roles come with “awesome power and discretion” that they “must not take lightly.”
“You are in a rare position where you can change a life, save a life, or take a life, all in the same day,” Schubert said.
To the hundreds of family, friends and supporters in the audience, Peduto said, “You should be very proud. This evening of what they have been able to accomplish because they did it by merit. And as they continue through the career, they’re going to need you just as much as we need them.”
Class leader, police Officer Kyle Briggs, gave the final speech of the night, in which he called on fellow graduates to uphold four key tenets: honor, integrity, compassion and respect.
“It’s our responsibility to continue being good people. We will all make mistakes, we will all have bad days. As long as you continue being a good person, you will all have long, fulfilling careers,” Briggs said. “The day we stop being good people is the day we start being bad cops.”
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .