On Thursday evening, St. Paul Police Chief Axel Henry addressed the newest recruits to his department’s police school, urging them to represent law enforcement with honor and dignity.
At the O’Shaughnessy Education Center Auditorium on the campus of his alma school, the University of St. Thomas, Henry presided over the ceremony in which the first cadets to join the St. Paul Police Department since he was installed as chief two weeks ago took the oath of office.
On Nov. 16, the St. Paul native was overwhelmingly affirmed by the city council after being chosen by Mayor Melvin Carter from among five candidates proposed by a community-based examining committee.
Henry said on Thursday night that the police department had the unique chance to serve as “ambassadors” for the city, state, and nation in terms of how policing should be conducted. This is the standard of perfection that we should aim for always. That’s a challenge to which we must rise.
A period when many Americans are wondering how policing should be carried out is now, he said, and here is the site where they’ll get the answers.
After completing the department’s 16-week academy, 24 recruits were awarded badges in front of their loved ones.
Henry, who succeeded Todd Axtell in June when his six-year tenure expired, presided over Thursday night’s event and termed it “one of the nicest things you get to do as chief of police.”
Carter, who presented Henry, informed the cadets that they had made a “difficult decision” by entering the police academy at this time.
A new model of public safety, I think along the lines of what the St. Paul Police Department has been for a very long time, is something that “our nation and our globe are seized by a yearning and a want to see,” he added.
Henry urged the cadets to keep in mind that they have a duty to serve and protect the community, and to keep in mind that true bravery is “more than dashing into perilous circumstances.”
He explained its foundation in feelings of kindness and compassion. Being ethical even when no one is watching is at the heart of everything. The foundation of it is setting a good example for others around you.