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Clayton Regional Law Enforcement Academy graduates two classes

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The officers stood there, at attention, during the ceremony, while family members smiled and took pictures.

Two classes of cadets graduated from the Clayton Regional Law Enforcement Academy on Thursday. The men and women passed through the academy and then went to work for police departments and sheriff's offices all over the state -- from as close as Clayton and Henry counties, to as far away as Savannah.

Maj. Debbie Turner, commander of the academy, said there were about 60 law enforcement agencies with cadets in basic training at the Clayton County facility.

"We're doing more training than any other regional academy in the state," Turner said. "We have officers now, we're pulling from all over the state."

There have been five classes undergoing basic training in recent weeks and months, and two of them graduated on Thursday, with a large ceremony at the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro.

Before they graduated, they stood outside, lined up and at attention, and each officer received a handshake from the instructors. The Clayton Regional Law Enforcement Academy instructors were the picture of perfect professionalism -- square shoulders and stiff walk -- except for the smiles breaking across their faces.

"Congratulations," the instructors said, and then they told each officer individually to stay safe and always do the right thing.