East Tennessee recruits graduate from officer training academy

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Some new faces will be joining six sheriff's offices in East Tennessee. The Knox County Sheriff's Office Regional Training Academy held its graduation Monday. Two dozen men and women are starting out a new career.

"It means a lot to me. It's been a long trip as far as to get here," said James Smith.

It is more than just a career for recruits like Smith.

"I've just always been raised with helping other people and doing for other people. I guess we all have that. When you're a kid you see superheroes on TV and you think law enforcement is a good way to be able to help the community, to help people around you," he said.

Monday's keynote speaker, Congressman Jimmy Duncan, shared his appreciation for the men and women in blue.

"I think that we too often take them for granted. They're underappreciated I think yet very dedicated in spite of that and involved often in many dangerous situations," he said.

In a time where mistrust toward officers seems to be growing, the recruits say it is more important than ever for them to show the community they are here to help.

"I don't think it's a widespread impression. I think a lot of it has to do with what we see on TV, but everyone that I've met, everyone that I've talked to is very supportive of law enforcement. They understand what we do, the risks we take. They want us there," Smith said.

Achieving this goal is the first step.

"I don't think there's any higher calling than to help your brother and sister in your community," Smith said.

The new officers will be working for departments in six counties: Anderson, Claiborne, Grainger, Knox, Monroe and Union.

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