New class of graduates for the Western Mass Police Academy - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

New class of graduates for the Western Mass Police Academy

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The Western Mass Police Academy graduation was held in Springfield Friday afternoon.

After many weeks of hard training, the graduating officers are ready to begin their brand new career path.

For one, choosing this career was for a special reason.

Officer Danielle Dorval was given her father's badge during the ceremony, which she said is a new family tradition.

"It's an inspiration for me, It's definitely something that I wanted to do and he's helped me get through it a lot. He's always been there for me," said Dorval.

Her father, Gary Henderson, is a Lancaster police officer and said he's very proud of his daughter and working with her someday will be something to look forward to.

"It's hard to say, I'm really speechless about that. It felt great to pin the badge on her. Knowing now that she's a police officer is really - it just feels good," said Henderson.

Academy director Curt McKenzie said the curriculum is set by the municipal police training committee, so the training is standardized throughout the state.

But McKenzie said the physical training they endured is what makes them ready.

"Many officers have told me that they're probably in the best shape of their lives after 22 weeks of extensive physical training and defensive tactics," said McKenzie.

"P.T. every day, all we did was run, do push ups, and sit ups. We're probably in the best shape of our lives," said Dorval.

Dorval said the entire ordeal has taught her a lot.

"You have to have a thick skin, you have to work hard and you have to be prepared," said Dorval.

A new academy class begins Feb. 3.

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