Harrisburg has nine more police officers on the street today, as a group of recruits was sworn in this morning as the newest members of the city’s Police Bureau.
In addition to the nine new officers who took the oath to join the force, more than 50 officers, paramedics and other professionals were recognized with awards, including five citizens.
“People become police officers because they’re called to a higher calling,” Police Commissioner Thomas Carter said. “They become police officers because they care about their fellow men, their fellow women. They want to carry on the tradition of caring, of sharing, and to make this world better.”
After the posting of the colors and an invocation from Pastor Sheldon Ames, a retired Harrisburg police lieutenant, and remarks from Carter, Mayor Eric Papenfuse spoke before swearing in the new officers.
Papenfuse said that crime has decreased significantly in recent years and mentioned that negotiations are underway to increase wages and pathways for promotion for officers. He also commended the character of the new officers.
“We have an amazing class with very diverse and distinguished backgrounds,” Papenfuse said. “They have fascinating educational and service backgrounds, and we are extremely excited to welcome all of these officers aboard to Harrisburg today.”
New Officer Juwan Mitchell shared his thoughts on becoming a police officer. He said that, although the selection process is rigorous and requires much training and discipline, he is honored to serve Harrisburg.
“I was always called to do something more than myself,” Mitchell said. “This gives me an opportunity to give back to my community, to bridge that gap between the community and policing. I think that in this point in time, with the kind of culture that we have, that it’s a good time [to become an officer].”
After the swearing-in ceremony, the 2018 awards for valor, bravery, heroism and merit were awarded. Five citizen commendations, distinguished unit citations and distinguished service citations, including the “Officer of the Year” award, were also presented.
Jordin Tharrett, a 12-year-old from Harrisburg, was awarded a Citizen Commendation after saving the life of a stabbing victim in January 2018. Tharrett was home alone when he heard a woman screaming outside his apartment complex. He took the woman inside his apartment, called 911, and remained calm as he applied pressure to the wounds with a towel, saving the woman’s life.
“It was really heartwarming that I got to see the mayor and that I’d be the one to get recognized,” Tharrett said. “I wasn’t really scared [when I saved the woman]. You just got to take risks in your life, and if somebody’s in need, you have to help them.”
Others were awarded for a range of heroic acts, from fearlessly breaking into a burning building to saving the life of a kidnapped infant.
The new officers sworn in at the ceremony are:
Brian Stright II
For a complete list of Police Award winners, visit https://dauphin.crimewatchpa.com/hbgpd/3271/post/2019-harrisburg-bureau-police-awards-and-swearing-ceremony