WEST SACRAMENTO – More than five dozen new California Highway Patrol officers were sworn in Friday morning in West Sacramento.
It’s a day 29 weeks in the making.
“I’m super proud of myself obviously. I know they’re really proud of me too,” said Officer Michael Qualls.
Sixty-three cadets stood before their friends and family to be officially sworn in as officers of the law, taking the same oath as every CHP officer before them.
But these cadets are the first to do it before California’s new governor.
“Incredible heroism and sacrifice these people make every single day, putting themselves on the line and I think that needs to be recognized,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
Newsom attended the graduation ceremony and says the work of law enforcement officers is more important now than ever.
“Conditions that have changed radically since I started in public service. The issues of mental health, the issues out on the streets of homeless and the interactions, a lot of very difficult challenges, and of course the most vexing— the issues of implicit bias and de-escalation,” Newsom said.
As they shook hands with the governor and accepted their badges, many of the new officers reflected on the sacrifices it took to get here.
“I was super nervous. I expected to like never see my family, never talk to them, be tortured here and you’re still kind of tortured and you see them a lot less, obviously, but when you do get to see them, it’s just enough to get you through the next week,” Qualls said.
Not just sacrifices on their part, but those their families made too.
“Very difficult, actually. I learned a lot about myself, so today I see it also as my graduation because I had to learn to do a lot of things without him, so definitely is crazy to learn how to be a single parent in a way, but it was worth it,” said Qualls wife, Brieana.
Qualls was named most inspirational by his peers. And his wife says she isn’t at all surprised.
“Never once did I ever say he was going to fail. I knew he was going to make it and I knew how much this was meant for him. He was meant for this job,” Brieana said.
Gov. Newsom says his schedule next Monday and Tuesday will be devoted to meeting with lawmakers to discuss issues surrounding policing and use of force.