(KTXL) — In the spirit of Black History Month, four top cops of Sacramento-area law enforcement came together to give thanks to those who helped them get there and inspire the next generation of law enforcement.

They joined the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office decades ago, and they are now all top cops at their departments across the Sacramento area.

In their law enforcement careers, which range between nearly 24 to 40 years, they have worked countless special assignments, climbing the ranks and achieving the post of Sacramento County Sheriff, Jim Cooper, California State University, Sacramento Police Chief, Chet Madison Jr., Elk Grove Police Chief, Bobby Davis, and Rancho Cordova Police Chief, Brandon Luke.

They say that police work has come a long way since the days of Rodney King, a Black man who was filmed as he was beaten by officers 32 years ago next month. However, there are still long strides to be taken.

They say good police work starts by being just good people.

“It’s character. So, if you don’t have good character, whether you’re Black, Hispanic, Asian, Indian. If you don’t have good character, skin color’s not going to make a difference,” Chief Madison of Sacramento State said.

“It’s where your moral compass is. That’s what directs and guides most of us in what we do for a living. If our compass is in the right direction, then we’ll be successful in what we do,” Chief Bobby Davis of the Elk Grove Police Department said.

They all agree that learning to be successful begins at home.

“It started at home with our parents. They gave us a great foundation. I worked for some really good sheriffs. And officers along the way that mentored me. That’s an important part of it, that makes you who you are, the person you are,” Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper said.

“My father — My dad was in this business as well. He did this for many, many years with the Sacramento Police Department,” Davis said.

“We were raised off of Mack Road. There’s not a lot of success off of Mack Road. But I always challenge people, there’s a lot of success off of Mack Road. I think if you look at us here, Coop was in the Rancho Cordova area. Bobby was up north. I was down south. And then, here we are sitting today,” Madison said.

They are all thankful they have achieved success in their careers, but also acknowledge those who came before them.

“It hasn’t been easy to get here. And for sure we’re standing on the shoulders of others. But these two gentlemen worked hard and worked their butts off to be where they are. And it wasn’t an easy road at all. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It was difficult at times, but the end result we got here,” Cooper said.

“To be here, the hard work is what got us here. And none of us looked at it as race or color or anything. We earned the right to be here,” Davis said.

For those who do not have that foundation of stable home life, the sheriff hopes to inspire the next generation while encouraging people to believe in themselves.

“This is Black History Month, but being a person of color, people will see that and aspire to be that, saying ‘Hey, I can do that job.’ So hopefully we’re role models for everybody, no matter what their race is,” Cooper said.