The Tahlequah Police Department made history Saturday night.

TPD graduated its first group of reserve officers during a ceremony at NSU’s NET Building. Police Chief Steve Farmer said some officers will help the TPD build its first class of reserves, joining previously-certified officers.

The graduating class also had members from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and the Fort Gibson and Eufaula Police Departments.

“You’ve endured quite a bit in the four months we’ve spent together,” Capt. Tom Jones, the academy coordinator, told the group. “I’ve been referring to you as ‘Mr.’ and ‘Ms.,’ but tonight, I will refer to you as ‘officer.’”

Farmer told the graduates, their families, friends and guests, that the reserve class met three nights a week, four hours a night. He said the TPD reserves will be called on to assist full-time officers and do things for which the department previously lacked manpower.

“They’ll be working at parades and special events,” he said. “They’ll be partners and back-up for the full-time officers.”

Farmer described reserve officers as special people who donate time to their respective agencies. Some are older men and women who are not necessarily interested in a law enforcement career.

“They just want to do something to help their community,” he said. “Then, there are some who are wanting to start a career in law enforcement. The main difference is a full-time officer is paid to do the job, and a reserve officer pays to do the job.”

Some officers received special honors during the graduation ceremony.

Eric Moore, representing the Fort Gibson PD, was honored as the “Top Gun” for his achievement on the firing range. Ricky Jones, from the TPD group, received the academic award for the highest scores in classroom work, and Glen Creekmore, Eufaula PD, earned the chief’s award for his overall performance and attitude during the 160-hour academy.

Farmer and Tom Jones were also honored, with each receiving a plaque for their commitment to the academy. Gary Dotson presented Jones with his honor, and TPD Reserve Officer Stephanie Stephens gave Farmer his plaque.

First Assistant District Attorney Donovan Dobbs, one of the academy instructors, presented a set of handcuffs to Ricky Jones. Dobbs said he was asked to teach, and was more than happy to do so. He said the DA’s office wanted to give something to a class member, and he asked several people what a reserve officer might need. The resounding answer was a set of handcuffs.

Tom Jones also thanked the academy instructors.

“No one person can put on an academy,” he said. “It takes several people.”

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