By George Slaughter
RICHMOND—Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan congratulated 10 trainees who graduated Tuesday from the Gus George Law Enforcement Academy at the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office.
The three women and seven men comprise Cadet Class #43. They passed a rigorous training regimen, and met all requirements of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Basic Peace Officer Licensing Course.
These cadets graduated during commencement exercises at the academy, 1521 Eugene Heimann Circle. The academy prepares cadets to begin a career in law enforcement by teaching the Basic Peace Officer Certification Course. Cadets successfully completed the nine-month program that included classroom instruction, training, physical assessment, and firearms and driving proficiency evaluations.
The 10 graduates have applied to serve as Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Deputies and qualify for positions in patrol, detention, and telecommunications. This is a first, as cadets completing the course can apply for other law enforcement agencies in Texas.
“This is the first time all 10 cadets are coming to the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s office,” Fagan said. “Two are starting this Monday. The other eight are in the hiring process. It was a great ceremony.”
Their graduation comes at an important time for the American law enforcement community. Nationwide, law enforcement agencies are struggling to recruit and retain officers. These include deputies, police and detention officers and dispatchers.
In Fort Bend County, the sheriff’s office recently launched a major recruitment campaign to meet the public safety demands of a growing county.
“The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s office is hiring aggressively,” Fagan said. “If you are looking for a career, this is the place to come. There’s nothing better than to serve the public and you can actually save a life by joining law enforcement.”
Fagan said recruiting quality candidates is crucial to meeting the public safety demands.
“While it has always been difficult to recruit competent, sworn peace officers, we’ve made it our mission to recruit the best and the brightest,” Fagan said. “We want recruits who see the job for what it is—a career requiring compassion, focus, and humility.”
Polarization, brought about in part by last year’s murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, makes it more of a challenge to recruit quality candidates. Fagan said episodes such as the Floyd murder give law enforcement a black eye.
Fagan said it takes a servant’s heart to go into law enforcement, and that there is no room for politics, gender, or race, because officers must take care of everyone equally. Officers must know how to put their biases to the side.
“People need to know about the good things, and they assume all officers are that way (that they’re like the officer who killed Floyd), which is not true,” Fagan said. “People who work in law enforcement, we are the community. We’re your neighbors, brothers, sisters. We come from the community. We want to step up to protect you.”
Fagan said if someone thinks law enforcement is doing something wrong, “join us, become a part of it, and make that change.”