New set of Ft. Bend Co. cadets hope to bridge diversity gap when policing

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- On Friday, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is being sentenced for the murder of George Floyd. As he prepares to potentially spend years behind bars, a new class of law enforcement cadets will be entering the workforce in Fort Bend County.

SEE ALSO: Derek Chauvin sentencing: What to expect as former cop faces judge

From January to June, the 22 cadets trained hard.

"It was quite a journey as individuals and together," cadet Daedrie Gayle said.

Under the leadership of newly sworn-in Sheriff Eric Fagan, the graduates will be policing this county with diversity and de-escalation training.

The cadets said what happened to Floyd and how law enforcement is perceived is something they can't help but think about. Their superiors know that, but encourage them to do constant heart checks.

"Treat every situation uniquely, but with integrity and professionalism," said Deputy Chief Mattie Provost with the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office. "If you do that, then you'll do fine. You have to have it in here (points to heart). You have to do the right things for the right reasons."

Another set of tools the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office will soon be able to use are body cameras. The Commissioner's Court just approved funding for them, so the hope is to have everyone with one before the summer's out.

"We need them both ways. We need to protect the citizens. We also need them to protect our deputies and our officers," Provost said. "So we are anxious to get body cameras. But in the meantime, we do have car cams and we do have L3's, which is just audio, it doesn't show the video."

The motto of this cadet class is "bridging the gap", which is something they look forward to doing with the community. It starts with them, every day, every time they put on their badge and uniform with a goal to truly protect and serve.

"We definitely don't want people that have chosen it to forget why they started," cadet president Oscar Pedraza said.
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