DETROIT (WWJ) — Detroit Chief of Police James Craig was on hand as a class of 29 new police officers graduated from the Detroit Police Academy on Monday.
Graduates of the 2014-B graduating class made their way across the stage at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit to meet Craig and be sworn into Detroit’s protective force.
“I’m excited about this class,” Craig said. “This class has special meaning to me because it was this month 37 years ago — Class 77-K — that I graduated. Anytime a person makes the decision to serve our neighborhoods as police officers, I’m always proud.”
One of those sworn in Monday, Fire Department Lieutenant James Hill Harris, had his own special reasons for wanting to make a switch to the police department.
“I served with my father. I had the pleasure of serving with him for nine years before he passed away in an arson fire,” Harris said. “This is a new way to serve — instead of putting out the fires, now I’m a part of the unit that goes out to catch the guys that are setting our city on fire.”
Harris’ father, Walter, died while trying to put out a fire in November 2008 when the roof collapsed in on him.
“(My father) was a 17-year member of the Detroit Fire Department,” Harris said. “I followed in his footsteps and became a firefighter like him. When I saluted the Chief of Arson, that was just the beginning of a new journey for me — a journey into a new career as a police officer assigned to the Detroit Fire Department and to go after those arsonists.”
Harris said that his father would be proud of the work he is doing and issued a warning to those who set fires within the city.
“You guys look out — we’re out here and we’re looking for you.”