David Woolridge has pursued his dream to be a police officer his whole life, including serving five years as a military police officer.
On Friday morning, Woolridge, 26, along with 100 other recruits, graduated from the Philadelphia Police Academy in a ceremony held at McGonigle Hall. Woolridge and another recruit, Ama Jones, 27, joined Campus Safety Services as officers yesterday morning.
“Taking calls got me interested in wanting to assist people in emergencies,” said Jones, who already served as a 911 dispatcher and a security officer at Temple. “Everyone was rooting for me and helping me in every aspect.”
During the ceremony, Woolridge and Jones stood out among the other graduates, wearing the all black uniform of Campus Police instead of blue Philadelphia Police Department shirts.
Mayor Michael Nutter, Commissioner Charles Ramsey and his deputy commissioners, District Attorney Lynne Abraham, City Controller Alan Butkovitz, Managing Director Dr. Camille Barnett and Campus Safety Services Executive Director Carl Bittenbender were in attendance among the ceremony’s distinguished guests.
“We expect you to use every ounce of training you have received to protect the citizens of Philadelphia and yourselves,” Nutter told the graduates. “I will stand with you every step of the way.”
He commended them for sticking with the police department, despite having attended funerals for three officers killed in the line of duty during their time in the academy.
Ramsey also acknowledged the experiences the class faced.
“When you look back at your time in the academy, [you’ll see] you’ve gone through quite a bit,” Ramsey said. “And you also will be part of the World Series celebration here in Philadelphia” during their first week as officers.
He said a career as a police officer is a tough one, but it is rewarding and exciting.
Lt. Edward Woltemate from Campus Safety Services said he was excited for Jones and Woolridge to join the team at Temple.
He said they will spend a few months shadowing other officers and learning the ropes at Temple before they’re on their own.
Abraham said the new officers would make a difference through serving and protecting the citizens.
“We couldn’t do it without you,” she said. “You are truly chosen to do this job.”
Morgan Zalot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.