Six New Patrol Officers Sworn in to Serve Lake Wales Police Department
Ceremony at City Administration Building Provides Respectful Launch of Careers
Last updated 8/8/2023 at 11:16am
Six new patrol officers were sworn in to serve the citizens of Lake Wales during a moving ceremony at the Lake Wales City Administration Building Monday evening. More than 40 residents gathered to hear Chief Chris Velasquez and other members of the department share the stories of the paths that led the men to the local department, and commend their commitment to service.
In welcoming the group to the ranks of the local department, Velasquez reminded them and their assembled families and friends that accountability and integrity are essential parts of their service. Policing requires officers to make judgements, sometimes in a split second, that can amount to life-and-death decisions. No other profession requires that of people, he said.
"Look for ways to say yes, or at least meet people half-way," he reminded the group, including Steven Blaser, Yosuet Acosta, Landon McCosco, Ryan Phillips, Daniel Mercer, Sammy Natal. Several of the new patrol officers have served in the US military, some after their births in other nations.
"Know that you are viewed" for your service as representatives of the department and law enforcement in general, Velasquez said, emphasizing the importance of perception/ "People are watching. Remember the impact you have on people. Wave at people. If they wave and you don't wave back..." he said with a grimace, to gentle laughter from the gathering.
Poverty, crime, and civil disorder are all parts of the same problem, a problem that police face on a daily basis in their work. "Policing is a special profession," Velasquez said.
His comments were echoed by Deputy Chief David Black, who told LakeWalesNews.net that policing "is the most noble professional service."