Cadets begin first day with tragic news

June 30, 2008 10:14:06 AM PDT
News of the tragic death of a police officer comes as HPD welcomes dozens of police recruits to their first day of training.Investigators say Hung Troung, 24, was speeding when he crashed into a construction zone along the Katy Freeway feeder and Highway 6 Sunday morning, striking Officer Gary Gryder and Officer Joe Pyland. Gryder died from his injuries, while Pyland is recovering from several broken bones.

Earlier this morning, Troung appeared in court to face charges of vehicular manslaughter.

The flags are at half staff at the Houston Police Department main building today. And earlier this morning, the chief of police spent some time talking with the newest recruits for the department about the reality of the job. It's a harsh reality for those beginners about the dangers of the job.

It's been a tradition since 1948 for the chief of police to greet the newest class of cadet on their first day in the Houston Police Academy, but today's speech started in silence.

"I know all of you heard about the officer who died, so let's have a moment of silence," said HPD Chief Harold Hurtt to the recruits.

Chief Hurtt told the class that from now on, the rest of their lives with the police department will be spent managing the unexpected. And it was the unexpected that took the life of Officer Gryder.

"There was very little warning, very little time for them to react," said Chief Hurtt.

Chief Hurtt went on to tell the cadets that even in his death, Gryder's commitment to his job and family is something these cadets can learn from and so can you.

"I think this is an opportunity too for the citizens and people who use our roadways in the city of Houston every day to really think about how they drive and pay attention because we lost a tremendous member of our community," said Chief Hurtt.

Investigators say the man who was charged with killing the officer appeared to be laughing or smiling when he was arrested yesterday. Troung did undergo a blood test to see what may been in his system at the time of his arrest. The results of those tests have not been concluded yet.

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