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Detroit — Melanie Weathers said Friday she’s eager to begin patrolling the city’s 12th Precinct as one of Detroit’s newest police officers.

“We had excellent training, I’m in the best shape of my life, and I’m excited to be part of the positive changes in Detroit,” said Weathers, 35, one of 27 officers who graduated Friday from the Detroit Police Academy Class 2015-A.

In addition to the new graduates, there were dozens of promotions during a two-hour ceremony at Greater Grace Temple on Seven Mile in Detroit.

When Police Chief James Craig addressed the new troops, he shared a story about an incident that happened when he was being trained as a Los Angeles police officer. During his first week in the field, he said, a group of officers arrested a robbery suspect.

“My (field training officer) said, ‘Kick him once in the head; he’s a robber,’” Craig said. “I said, ‘I’ll do no such thing.’ I thought my career was over, but it was only the beginning.

“Think of that story, and always do the right thing,” Craig said. “You will be judged by your actions, so ask yourself: ‘Will my actions embarrass my family? Will it bring disgrace to this police department?’ The badge is a symbol of public trust.”

Craig advised the new officers to be prepared to encounter “the worst in our community and the best in our community. But you will have a chance to make a difference in people’s lives. Always treat each person you encounter with the dignity and respect you would treat an honored member of your family.”

Detroit Board of Police Commissioners chairman Willie Bell, a city police officer for 32 years before retiring in 2003, also stressed to the new officers the importance of treating citizens with respect, especially in light of recent controversy nationally over allegations of police brutality.

“You have a great deal of authority,” Bell said. “All over this country, people are looking at police officers. But if you do your job right, it’s OK. Get to know the people you come across in your duties. You have unique power. The president doesn’t have that power. The mayor doesn’t have it. But you have it with that badge.”

Officer Louis Terry was tops in his class in both academics and firearms proficiency, while Officer Lakeshia Page was given the Outstanding Performance Award.

Friday’s promotions to command positions included: Charles Fitzgerald to deputy chief; Marlon Wilson to commander; Brian Mounsey, Jacqueline Pritchett, Constance Slappy, Darin Szilagy and Arnold Williams to captain; Marc Deluca, Vernal Newson, Tiffany Stewart, Michael Donovan, Richard Herold, Jevon Johnson, Robert Mitchell and Octaveious Miles to lieutenant.

There were 15 promotions to sergeant: Derrick Maye, Jeremy MacNicol, Jason Burke, Thomas Grzwacz, Patricia Duncan, Edmund Kress, Kirk Kelsey, Andrew Dattolo, Nancy Foster, Kelly Mullins, Kevin Wight, Shannon Jones, Delvon Latimer, Jason Adams and Roger Salcedo.

The 23 officers promoted to detective were: Antonio Carlisi, Darryl Chappell, Michael Conley, Michael Dowdy, Reem Farah, Felesha Gambril, Neo Garcia III, Jordan Hall, Danielle Harrison, Damir Jakupovic, Lisa Johnson, Patrick Lane, Laura Layher, Nzinga Moore, Michael Pachteles, Frederick Person, Gary Przybyla, Eric Raby, Tracey Tigner, Kevin Treasvant, Johnell White, Matthew VanRaaphorst and Norbert Zawislak.

ghunter@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2134

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