The new training center, opened in November, celebrated its first class of 25 basic law enforcement program graduates Friday morning.
Sheriff Roger Garrison, for whom the training center was named after, was at the ceremony to congratulate the new graduates as they received their diplomas.
“We’re so excited about this first class,” Garrison said.
Garrison said he and other officials in Cherokee had dreamed of having a training center for years and said the new center rivals training centers across the state.
“It took us 22 years to get here, and we’re so very proud,” Garrison said. “We’ve had literally hundreds of officers come through … since we opened back in November.”
Graduates from the class will go on to serve in law enforcement agencies within Cherokee and across the state, from the Woodstock and Canton police departments to the Gilmer and Fannin County sheriff’s offices.
The class president and recipient of the leadership award, Matthew Godfrey, urged his fellow graduates to always remember the oath of honor they took as law enforcement graduates.
“Honor, integrity and respect are never betrayed,” said Godfrey, reciting the oath, “I will always hold myself and others accountable for having the courage to do the right thing.”
Godfrey said it was his honor and his privilege to represent the graduating class and was sworn in as a Canton Police officer after the graduation ceremony Friday.
Garrison told the law enforcement graduates there were four important things to remember as they went out on the roads to serve residents in their communities: go the extra mile to help people, don’t write tickets just because you can — empathize with people, never stop learning, and remember it takes 20 years to earn a good reputation and 20 seconds to ruin it.
“Remember why you got into (law enforcement) — it was because of that desire to serve,” he said.
Other graduates of the first class of the Garrison Training Center were: Nolan Adams, Joshua Carruth, Eric Dawson, Bryce Deboard, Michael Eaton, Matthew Godfrey, Russell Grizzle, Christopher Hall, Misty Henry, Thomas Hult, Dustin Jones, Max Karneol, Ryne Kirkland, Bryan Ledford, Eric McQuigg, Todd Musgrave, Robert Partee, Joseph Rajecki, Joshua Reece, Leonard Schrader, Kasey Sobotka, Alexander Strevel, Cody Sturdivan, Joseph Testa and Kelly Ventura.