The United States Indian Police Academy graduated 162 on Saturday, April 8 in Artesia, NM. Among the 36 police officer trainee students was Southern Ute tribal member Chris Harrison.
Harrison endured a grueling 16 weeks of the Indian Country Police Officer Training Program which consists of four key components: Academics, Physical Fitness, Firearms and Drivers which help trainee officers go out into their native communities and thrive.
Harrison opened up the ceremony by saying the invocation in Ute followed by the keynote speaker and Police Academy Director, Steven K. Juneau. Janeau praised all the trainee officers and sent them on their police career paths with encouraging words of wisdom.
“Graduates as you go out and serve our communities we are 100 percent confident in you. We know you are going to do great things for your people who are going to look to you for guidance, moral compass, mature role models, you are now a leader,” Janeau said.
Janeau also talked to the graduates about how becoming an officer means being a part of something very special and personal.
“Accountability to the tribal community never stops,” he said.
Special awards were given out to the graduates who stood out in specific areas of their training. Harrison was 1 of 7 trainees who received a special award in driving. In order to receive that award he had to excel in operating a motor vehicle properly and at a high level of efficiency.
“I hope to bring more community policing between SUPD and our community and I aspire to future leadership roles within my department,” Harrison said.
“It was great to have leaders there who help you. You start improving not only physically but mentally,” Harrison said about his 16 weeks of training. “It feels good be back and I’m ready to get out there.”
After 644 hours of vigorous training the trainees become officers and go home to their tribal communities and be tribal warriors who will protect and serve their people.