Behind the Badge: Meet two of RPD’s newest officers
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond Police Department recently welcomed nearly 20 new recruits to its police force, including two central Virginia natives hoping to build more trust between the police department and the community.
For a while now, law enforcement agencies have been increasing efforts to improve relations with the public. Ofc. Parker Davis and Ofc. Luke Hunsaker, two of RPD’s newest officers, are passionate about that aspect of the job after a year of protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
“I understand what people are feeling towards law enforcement, whether that be good or bad,” said Davis, a proud Richmond native. “I want them to know that we are dedicated to them.”
“It was even more pressing on my heart that this was something I was going to do and something that I wanted to help fix,” Hunsaker said.
For years, Davis wrestled with the idea of becoming a police officer, unsure if he was ready to take the leap of faith, but he said the timing felt right to start the journey last year. He said he is grateful for the chance to protect and serve in his hometown.
“It’s amazing. I always tell people that my grandfather owned the first Black carpentry business in the City of Richmond,” Davis said. “So, for me to kind of follow those footsteps and leave my footprint in Richmond is awesome. I can’t describe it.”
Hunsaker’s dream to serve was born out of bonding with local law enforcement officers and their families growing up. He said they really put it on heart that becoming a police officer would be a ‘good thing.’ Soon after, his vision became clear.
“It truly felt like a calling,” Hunsaker said. “When I see this badge, it reinforces the kind of man that I want to be and the kind of man that I’m called to be.”
“This job is literally a job where at any moment, it could be your last,” said Hunsaker, who grew up in Hanover. “We’re willing to lay our life down for the people.”
After months of basic training, friends and family filled the seats of the swearing-in ceremony for the 123rd Academy Class at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Davis received two awards including one for leadership. Hunsaker also walked away with an award for academic excellence. At that very moment, both men made history in their families.
“I know they’re extremely proud of me,” said Parker, who is an only child. “They saw me come a long way.”
Hunsaker, who comes from a large family that has military veterans, also recognized the weight of the moment.
“I’m honored to do this job, and I want the community and the city to know that they are in good hands, especially with the 123 in the streets,” Hunsaker said.
The new recruits went through 32-weeks of training before they were sworn into the force, and they came from all over, including New York, Texas, Colorado and even Jamaica.
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