New DPD officers ready to serve in wake of cop killings
Detroit — One day after five his fellow men in blue were gunned down in Dallas, Ricky Hayes took an oath to protect and serve.
The recent spate of police-involved shootings, Hayes said, would not deter him from his dream job of joining the Detroit Police Department.
“I’m ready,” said Hayes, 27. “I pray for everybody. Our officers and our citizens.”
Hayes was among the 18 police recruits who were sworn in Friday.
The graduation ceremony at Second Ebenezer Church came hours after five police officers were killed and seven wounded in an ambush during a protest in downtown Dallas.
The protest, described as peaceful before the shooting, was over the deaths of black men killed by police this week in Louisiana and Minnesota.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig praised the police in Dallas for running toward danger during the shooting Thursday. He said police are all part of the same family.
“We know that any attack on any police officer is an attack on us,” he said.
Daniel Nastoski said after the ceremony that he was excited to serve the local community. The 30-year-old from Clinton Township said the police shootings will not stop him from performing his duties.
“There’s always fear, but you gotta have courage to do the job,” Nastoski said. “You can’t let that bother you.”
Friends and family members said they were proud of the graduates, but some expressed concern about what the officers will face.
Hayes’ mother, Dawn Hayes, said she’s worried because the police incidents across the country affect all police officers in some way.
“I’m very happy that he can be a public service to the citizens of Detroit,” Hayes said. “But still, I am also on edge about the things that are going on in Dallas. You just have to be prayerful that everybody stays safe.”
Madeline Whitten, grandmother of police recruit Kyle Whitten, also said she was fearful of her grandson joining the police force at this time.
“I have lots of concern,” she said. “I hope he stays safe.”